Tag Archives: u.s. forest service

Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon: A Scenic, Smaller Canyon

Occasionally referred to as the “scenic, smaller cousin” of the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon, just south of Flagstaff, is known for some of its geological details, including colorful rocks and unique natural formations.

Getting to Oak Creek Canyon isn’t hard, either; in fact, State Rt. 89A goes right into it. Before you go into the actual canyon, though, you might want to take a look at the Oak Creek Canyon Vista. From this place, you can get a nice bird’s-eye view of much of the canyon. Also, if you’re interested in Native American jewelry and crafts, and other items from the locals who set up displays around the area, you can pick up something at this vista.

While it’s definitely possible to explore the majority of the canyon just by driving down State Rt. 89A and taking in the sights, what fun is that? Most of the people who take the time to come to Oak Creek Canyon want to do more than just stay in their car the whole time; they want to go out and hike, or swim, or fish, or do any number of other things to make the most of their visit. If you’re one of these people, there are overlooks, picnic areas, hiking trails and swimming holes scattered throughout the canyon.

Oak Creek Canyon even offers its visitors something to see as they’re leaving. On the way away from the canyon, the keen-eyed observer might notice some of the various natural sculptures on the horizon. Among others, there’s Steam Boat Rock, Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock.

So if you’re around Flagstaff and want a place to go where you can see a neat little piece of the Arizona landscape, go give Oak Creek Canyon a look. And try not to stay in your car the whole time.

For more information about Oak Creek Canyon, visit its page on U.S. Forest Service’s website.

Greenway III, Grand Canyon

Greenway III Trail, Grand Canyon: Progress Continues

The Grand Canyon National Park is getting a new trail. This new trail, which is being referred to as Greenway III, is an eight-mile long trail connecting the park with the gateway town of Tusayan to the south. This trail will pass through both the park itself and the Kaibab National Forest on its way to Tusayan.

The Greenway III trail will consist of both an eight-foot wide compacted soil path for pedestrians and bicyclists. For those exploring the park on horseback, the trail will also include a two- to three-foot-wide gravel path.

Not only will this trail provide people with an easy way to travel between Tusayan and Grand Canyon National Park, it will also extend the well-known Arizona Trail as well. The trail is expected to be completed in fall 2011.

Greenway III will be another piece of the Greenway trail system. This system began as a project which was first launched in 1999 as part of the Millennium Trails Initiative, which recognized and promoted trails to help remember our past and imagine our future.Greenway III, Grand Canyon Trail

The purpose of the Greenway trails is to provide guests of the park with easily accessible, multi-use trails, so that they can have a non-motorized form of travel throughout the park.

The Greenway trail system began as a cooperative effort between the National Park Service, what is now the Grand Canyon Association, and a volunteer group of planners and designers known as the Grand Canyon Collaborative. In addition to Greenway III, the project currently consists of four other trails:

  • The Greenway I trail, completed in 2002, extends the Rim Trail (from Grand Canyon Village to Yavapai Point) through Mather Point out to Pipe Creek Vista.
  • The Greenway II trail, completed in 2003, connects the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to Grand Canyon Village.
  • The Greenway IV trail, completed in 2009, connects Bright Angel Point to the North Kaibab Trailhead.
  • The Greenway V trail, completed in 2010, extends the Rim Trail to the South Kaibab Trailhead.

The Greenway III trail is being funded by a grant received from the Federal Highway Administration’s Public Lands Highways Program. Kaibab National Forest is also helping out with the construction of the trail, and the forest’s supervisor Mike Williams is quite pleased to be working with the project.

The National Park Service is also providing a 100-car parking lot north of Tusayan’s IMAX Theater for the convenience of people who wish to use the new Gateway III trail.

According to Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga, it is hoped that the new trail will be used alongside the shuttle buses going to Tusayan in the summer months, and that people will soon be able to combine a hike or bicycle ride with a shuttle trip for a truly easy and convenient time at Grand Canyon National Park.

For more information about Grand Canyon National Park, visit nps.gov/grca.