Almost immediately after leaving Schultz Tank, the trail begins to descend and enters the area burned in the 2010 Schultz Fire. Stay straight at 6.0 miles where a gas pipeline access road goes both ways. The dirt road weaves in and out of healthy forest in the burned area. The trail levels out around 7 miles. After 7.3 miles, the trail enters a two mile stretch of heavily burned forest. While this is a maintained road, post-fire landscapes are susceptible to flooding, trail washouts, and falling trees. Always keep an eye out for potential hazards. Around 10 miles, you are back in healthy forest as the trail continues to gently climb and descend as you approach the end. At 11.3 miles, you’ll cross over a fire break and turn left where you can hear Highway 89 off to the right. Stay right along the fire break at 11.6 miles where another road continues straight. The trail gently twists and turns before coming to an intersection with F.R. 552 at 13.2 miles. There is some nice camping/staging off to the left of this intersection. Continue to the right down the gravel road 0.6 miles to get back to Highway 89. Continuing straight on 552 will take you to Lockett Meadow.
Summary/Trail Ratings: This trail, one-way is just under 14 miles. 28 if you make it a roundtrip. Allow for 1-2 hours to complete the trail with stops. You can easily extend your day by exploring the numerous other forest roads in the area or hiking the many trails around Schultz Pass. This trail isn’t difficult and remains gravel all the way so we’ve rated it a ‘2’ out of 10. It will have washboards and occasional ruts but this is your typical “forest road”. Passenger cars will make the trip although in inclement weather something with high clearance is recommended. The Forest Service MVUM says this road is open all year, however after heavy snows, many vehicles won’t be able to make this trip. Also, this trail is only open to street legal vehicles.
On a scenic ride through the Coconino National Forest, climb to the 8,088’ Schultz Pass just outside of Flagstaff. As you descend, you’ll have nice views of the San Francisco Peaks to your left as you pass through extensive fire damage from the Schultz Fire before ending at Highway 89 near Lockett Meadow.
Page last updated: 8/1/2015
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Status: Open / snow possible
Trail Type: Through trail
Length: 14 miles one-way
Approx. time: 1-2 hours
Current Info: Coconino N.F./Flagstaff Ranger District Online Closures
Elevation: 7146' - 8088'
Nearest City: Flagstaff
How to get there: From downtown Flagstaff, head west on Historic Route 66. Follow Highway 180 north for 2.6 miles to Schultz Pass Road. Continue half a mile down the paved road to a fork. Parking/staging is available at the fork where Schultz Pass Trail goes left and Mount Elden Trail goes right.
The trail: From the fork on Schultz Pass Road, continue to the left and north past the parking area. The road becomes gravel as you pass several houses – be courteous. The trail is referred to as both Schultz Pass Road and F.R. 420 on maps. The trail heads north as it climbs rapidly towards Schultz Pass. The trail narrows after 2.2 miles as it begins to winds along a creek. At 4.3 miles, the trail makes a hard right as you leave the creek and near the top. The trail loops back to the left and reaches the 8,088’ Schultz Pass at 4.6 miles. There is a parking area just down the trail on the right which offers hiking access to Schultz Tank. Off to the right at 5.0 miles is a more developed parking area with bathrooms. Numerous hiking trails leave from this area including the Weatherford Trail, the Kachina Trail, and access to the Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Best Time: Spring-Fall