A Winter Wonderland in Flagstaff, Arizona
Veit Springs or Aspen Nature Loop
Both of these quick, mostly flat trails are perfect for snowshoeing. They typically do not get many visitors in the winter and are located at a much higher altitude than in town (8500+ feet), and hence, always have a lot of snow available for winter activities.
Veit Springs, a mile and a half round trip, offers pretty views of the forest and is really quiet. The trail is just long enough to give you a good workout, although nothing too intense. This is my favorite trail in the area as the dense tree coverage gives it a New Englandish feeling. It’s perfect for snowshoeing the entire winter season as the high altitude means there is plenty of deep snow for snowshoeing. You can’t beat a nice serene walk here right after a winter storm. Luckily this quaint trail is not very popular so you will feel as if you are completely lost in your own winter wonderland.
The Aspen Nature Loop is another fantastic option. Just a little over a mile and a half and almost completely flat, it’s another great snowshoeing choice. It’s like Veit Springs with the added bonus of spectacular snowy mountain views, although there are not quite as many trees. You will want to bring your camera with for this stunning walk, especially when the mountains and trees are covered with snow!
Check out this gorgeous winter sunset!
Although these trails are both relatively quiet, you will still have to take the congested Hwy 180 and travel up the often backed up Snowbowl road to get to either. I recommend visiting as early as possible (before the skiers arrive) to beat the heavy mid morning/afternoon traffic.
Be aware that you need a back country pass to use these trails in the winter (probably part of the reason why no one uses them much), although the pass is free and tends to keep the crowd levels down. Passes can be obtained at the following locations:
Flagstaff Ranger District Office: 5075 N. State Route 89 (8am-4pm weekdays, no holidays)
Coconino National Forest Supervisor’s Office: 1824 S. Thompson St (8am-4pm weekdays, no holidays)
Agassiz Lodge at the Snowbowl: Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-11:30am
Kachina Village is a small neighborhood located about 7 miles south of Flagstaff. There really are no businesses or congestion in the area, just great views of the uninterrupted forest and a few houses, so it feels more like being out in the country than in the middle of a congested suburb (unfortunately as is the case in town). There are several uncrowded parks in the area which are great for sledding, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Here you will experience serene snowy views in a quiet setting along the many miles of trails for winter recreation.
The pics below were taken along the beautiful Pumphouse Wash Nature Trail