Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
175.00 ft (53.34 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
2.40 mi (3.86 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Highland is one of a handful of trails in Fort Tuthill Park, just outside of Flagstaff. Unlike the other trails, though, Highlands has a separate access on Highway 89A, meaning you don't have to enter the main park area which is sometimes busy. The nondescript trailhead is a small dirt lot on the west side of the highway. From there, you simply go through a gate and begin the trail. You can do just this loop, or connect to the rest of the trails in the park as well.

Fort Tuthill is a public open space of ponderosa pine forest, atop a low mesa south of Flagstaff. The park includes a campground, rodeo grounds, concert venue, and a military museum, but this trail is removed from all that and stays quite peaceful. Highlands is mostly singletrack trail, and mostly smooth except for a rockier ascent and descent on the edge of the mesa. While on your hike or run you'll catch a few glimpses through the trees of the San Francisco Peaks, but the scenery is primarily within the forest. In the summer you'll see wildflowers like goldenrod, lupine, and columbine. You may see the pointed-ear Abert's squirrels dashing between pine trees. You may also see mule deer or even elk.

If you look closely you'll find evidence of varying forest management through the years. Dried old stumps, cut off at about knee height, were felled with cross-cut saws more than a century ago when this forest was extensively logged. After that, the forest was allowed to vigorously regrow, with suppression of wildfires that should naturally balance the density. Today, managers realize that overly dense forests are a tinderbox for catastrophic fires, so Fort Tuthill is performing extensive thinning operations. You'll see areas where trees have been recently cut and cleared. This makes a rough-looking understory in the short term, but a vibrant, diverse, and healthy forest in the long term.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Peaceful. Close to town. Easy access.

Cons

Limited scenery.

Trailhead Elevation

6,900.00 ft (2,103.12 m)

Highest point

7,060.00 ft (2,151.89 m)

Features

Family friendly
Wildlife
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback
Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Red Rock District, Coconino National Forest
Red Rock District, Coconino National Forest

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.

You May Also Enjoy

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan