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The Route 66 Trail in Flagstaff begins in the heart of the beautiful historic downtown district right next to the picturesque Flagstaff Train Depot. Parking is available right along historic Route 66 at the visitor center adjacent to the trailhead. The trail runs between Route 66 and the active railroad tracks that are a defining feature of this mountain town. Spend just a small amount of time in Flagstaff and the unmistakable whistle of a train engine pierces the air multiple times every hour. This town is not a relic of past railroading glories, the trains and the timber industry that helped settle the area are still a vital and visible part of the community.
Leaving the downtown area, the concrete trail stays adjacent to the roadway, meandering just a few feet off the road edge at times. The active railroad tracks are rarely more than a hundred feet to the south. A multitude of shopping plazas, restaurants and lodging dominate the opposite side of the road for the majority of this trail. No matter how much traffic goes by—both car and train—it is impossible not to sneak a peek to the north and enjoy the pristine views of the San Francisco Peaks and the towering pines that cover their slopes.
At about 1.1 miles you will use the crosswalk to negotiate Enterprise road, this crossing is one of only two road crossings that force a stop on the trail. After the road crossing, the trail and road take a significant turn to the north and enter a distinctly different part of town. The increase in locals out on the trail, walking, biking and even carrying groceries, signifies that this part of town has more of a residential component to it. The trail is an excellent use of road right-of-way and shows what just a few more feet of sidewalk can mean to truly creating an active transportation corridor.
At Country Club Drive, the Route 66 Trail connects to the Country Club Trail. The trail also connects to Winifred Ranch Trail and Fourth Street Trail.
To reach the downtown trailhead: From I-17 take South Milton Road (US 89) North for 1.9 miles; turn right. The trailhead is on the right 0.3 mile down, at the corner with San Francisco Street. Parking is available at visitor center on Route 66.
To reach the eastern terminus: From I-17 take US 180/89 North. Cross the overpass and follow the signs for Flagstaff. After 0.75 mile US 89 becomes Historic Route 66. Right at this convergence the trail end is located on the corner of Route 66 and North Fanning Drive. Park at the shopping plaza across Route 66.
Wide bike way parallels road. Fun for history sake. Mountains in background are beautiful.
Nice trail, paved but of the main road. Actually ride on same old piece of the route 66 road
Our travels brought us through Flagstaff and I wanted to stop and ride. I chose this trail mostly because it seemed as though it would be the easiest to find and parking was convenient. We parked at the visitors center which is in the old train depot downtown. It also serves as a working Amtrak station, which is very cool.
The trail heads east from here along Old Route 66. There are some relatively easy climbs but many grade crossings and all the challenges that typically come with sidepaths including right turning motorists.
That said, I really liked this trail for a couple of reasons. One, there were a lot of people on it even though it was a cold, gray morning. It's obvious that a lot of people in Flagstaff use their bikes for transportation and since this trail is along a major thoroughfare, that makes it a great resource.
Second, the trail itself is in good shape. It's mostly concrete and relatively smooth. There are signs where it intersects with the Arizona Trail and route finding was very easy. Come to think of it, there was a lot of connectivity here. I like that.
Finally, the sights along Old Route 66 are kind of cool. You'd miss a lot of it in a car but because you're going a little slower on a bike you see more.
At the end of the day, this is the type of path that I think is really important for cities to build, maintain and support. Are there prettier places to cycle? Absolutely. Is it the best recreation route? Probably not, although downtown Flagstaff is a lot of fun and it's worth reserving an hour or so to explore. Most importantly from my perspective, the Route 66 Trail is very good transportation corridor and for that reason I'm giving it five stars. Well done, Flagstaff.
Start at the Visitor Center/RR Depot by picking up Flagstaff Urban Trails and Bikeways map (May09)
The Trail has been extended from Fanning Drive to pass under Historical Route 66 and N Country Club Drive to the Flagstaff Mall. 4.6 miles, of wide sidewalk mostly next to Historical Route 66. Expansion joints in the concrete surface make the trail bumpy. Pedal through the Mall and connect to North 89 Trail for 1.3 miles. Noel Keller 17 Mar 10.
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