Passage #31 - Walnut Canyon

Riding in Walnut Canyon Location:  Marshall Lake Trailhead to Interstate 40

Length:  17.9 miles

Southern Trailhead:  Marshall Lake Trailhead
- GPS Coordinates:  35.11125° N, 111.54138° W
- Access: From Flagstaff, take the Lake Mary Road exit (339) off I-17 for 9 miles, then turn left (east) on FR 128 at the sign for Marshall Lake. Pass the observatory turnoff, then at 2.2 miles turn left before Marshall Lake (more of a marsh) and park at the AZT sign on the left. If you are coming from the south on Lake Mary Road, the Marshall Lake turnoff is 7.5 miles north of Pine Grove Campground.

Northern Access Point:  Old Walnut Canyon Road Trailhead
- GPS Coordinates:  35.20249° N, 111.48559° W
- Access: From Flagstaff, travel east on I 40 and take the Walnut Canyon National Monument exit. Head south for 3.5 miles, then turn right/west at Old Walnut Canyon Road (FR 303). The road will turn to dirt and is not passable for passenger cars or trucks with horse trailers. The trailhead is almost 4 miles west on the south side of FR 303.

Trail Route Description:  From the Marshall Lake Trailhead the trail heads mostly west across flat forest land. It passes through a gate, drops into a small canyon, crosses a road and climbs out the other side. The trail crosses FR 128B and then descends steeply into Lower Walnut Canyon. It passes the Sandy's Canyon Trail junction, turns to the right and goes up the canyon. The trail forks to the right and climbs steeply out of Walnut Canyon at Fisher Point. Once on top it passes the Fisher Point Trail junction and then crosses FR 301. The trail parallels Walnut Canyon and passes another trail junction. After two more junctions the trail descends down into a tributary of Walnut Canyon. It follows the canyon for a short ways and then climbs steeply out of it. From here the trail joins a two-track and then heads north up to FR 303, which is a trailhead. The trail stays north of the Walnut Canyon National Monument until it crosses the entrance road. It then turns to the north and works its way down to Interstate 40.

About 6.4 miles from the south end of this passage the AZT splits. This passage and passage 32 continue in a wide arch through many gentle miles of the stunning Arizona high country around Flagstaff. Passage 33 takes users into town. Know that shopping opportunities are available on both routes, the bypass route crosses highway 89 less than two miles east of a large mall and motels, and cab fares in town are quite reasonable.

Difficulty:  Moderate

Season(s):  Spring, Summer and Fall (current weather forecast)

Water:  There are no reliable water sources on this passage. Water can sometimes be found in Walnut Canyon and there is water in the city of Flagstaff and in Walnut Canyon National Monument.

The trail in the northern part of the passage Notes/Warnings:

  • All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.


  • USGS Topographic Maps: Lower Lake Mary, Flagstaff East and Winona.
  • Coconino National Forest - Visitors Guide.
  • Coconino National Forest - Recreational Opportunity Guide.
  • Coconino National Forest map.
  • BLM Information Center maps.

For more information, contact:

Current Trail Information:

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