Wow!!! I absolutely love this trail.
I had no idea our little town had wetlands that actually contain water and wildlife! Usually the “lakes” you come across while hiking are empty and dry. What a sweet surprise to discover this little hidden gem.
The hike begins at Ft. Tuthill Park via the Soldiers Trail that veers onto the Highland Trail.
Sounds easy enough, if you actually start on the Soldiers trail instead of trying to make your own short cut. When you realize you are walking in circles then you stop to look at a map. Which is great, unless you can’t decide which direction you are facing.
The beginning of the hike you are in the shade and hiking on rather flat land. Then you get to risk your life by crossing Hwy. 89 (the popular major road to Sedona). The trail picks up across the highway and becomes a single track trail. You know, one foot in front of the other as if you were measuring the length of a room. You pass by a few homes and are welcomed by friendly barking dogs. As the trail widens you’ll find yourself mostly in the sun as you descend into the bottom of a wide drainage area.
As you climb out you’ll see a ridge line that hides the wetlands from your viewpoint. Just over the ridge you are greeted with several very dry and empty water holes. At this point you are sure the wetlands have dried up and this is all that is left. But don’t give up!!!
Round trip for this hike was 8.63 miles, and probably a bit more because I forgot to un-pause my GPS watch after a short break! Not to mention the little “short cut” at the beginning. But the map says 3.7 miles each way.
The hike is rated easy and starts at 6820 ft. in elevation and ends at 7060 ft. So you now know how level the trail really is!
Definitely plan on hanging around the wetlands for awhile if you do this hike.
Enjoy the great outdoors! It’ll change your life .