15 Best Running Trails In Flagstaff You Can Visit Today

15 Best Running Trails In Flagstaff You Can Visit Today

Whether you are moving to Flagstaff or are taking a relaxing vacation in the City of 7 Wonders, one of the best ways to see everything is by exploring the running routes it has.

Flagstaff is home to some of the most incredible running spots in the country. 

From parks and mountain roads, you can really get to know the ins and outs of the city.

We have 15 of the best running trails in Flagstaff that you can visit today and discover something new.

Each running route caters to different levels, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. You can even bring the family!

1. Buffalo Park

Interested in creating or joining a running group?

Buffalo Park is considered one of the easiest running trails in Flagstaff.  This 2-mile loop is an incredible open space on McMillan Mesa. 

The trail is mostly on open, native grassland, but it does descend into a wooded ravine slightly to the west of the park’s entrance.

Here you will get a full view of the San Francisco Peaks, Mount Elden, and the Dry Lake Hills. Completely breathtaking. 

You will see many runners taking it easy on this run and many people out walking their dogs or simply enjoying the day.

Flagstaff sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet (2,100 meters) above sea level, affecting breathing and exertion levels. Allow time to adjust by starting slowly and gradually increasing intensity.

Flagstaff has a high-altitude, semi-arid climate with cool summers and cold winters. Check the forecast for weather variations before running.

Summers are mild (70°F to 80°F / 21°C to 27°C) but can occasionally reach the 90s°F (32°C). Winters are cold (40°F to 50°F / 4°C to 10°C), with snowfall and freezing temperatures.

Note potential trail impacts from snow or ice depending on the season. Stay informed about trail conditions.

Stay hydrated and carry water during warmer months and at high altitudes.

2. Lake Mary Road

Are you ready to challenge yourself on your next run? Looking for a good place to run in Flagstaff? Then you have to give Lake Mary Road a try. 

This is a long paved road with wide shoulders that is perfect for more than 1 runner at a time. 

Without a doubt, the 12-mile lakeshore panorama of Upper Lake Mary is the highlight of this trip.

Pick a parking place that suits you from the trailheads, boating stations, and picnic spaces that are located along the road.

3. Schultz Creek Trails

Looking for new places to go running in Flagstaff? Well, Schultz Creek Trails is a single-track road that is essential for Flagstaff runners. The area’s network of intertwined pathways runs along its spine.

When first exploring this trail, it is advised to stay around the valley floor and to pay attention to the signage.

Park at the car park on Schultz Pass road and help up the valley for four miles.

You can stop here, but you will be missing some epic views. This is a fantastic out-and-back mountain bike trip, day hike, or trail run.

4. Woody Mountain Road

Are you ready to spend your entire day taking in breathtaking views and simply enjoying nature? Then Woody Mountain Road is for you. 

32 miles of rolling, wide dirt roads are to be enjoyed.

From the Arboretum in Flagstaff, you may follow Woody Mountain Road across wide-open cattle ranches to the Mogollon Rim, where you can see Sedona.

Many take the easier route, which is only around 7 miles making it perfect for a Saturday morning run before brunch. 

5. Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS)

Bicyclists, pedestrians, hikers, runners, and other users use the FUTS, a citywide network of non-motorized, shared-use routes, for both recreation and mobility.

There are over 50 miles worth of trails in this network, and it is always expanding. You can see Flagstaff like never before just by completing one of the trails. 

Perfect if you enjoy being outdoors and want to see the non-touristy parts of the city. Prepare for a range of running surfaces; don’t be scared to bring a friend!

6. West Wing Mountain Loop

The West Wing Mountain Loop is a magnificent way to see the natural landscapes of Flagstaff. It begins at West Wing Park in Peoria before taking you on a 3.1-mile loop. 

There are plenty of chances to go off the beaten track and discover some incredible views.

There is also a more advanced route on this trail for those who are ready to challenge themselves. 

Be careful to read the signs on this trail, as more than one explorer has gotten lost. 

7. Mount Elden Lookout Trail

Mount Elden Lookout Trail is a popular running and hiking trail. It makes up the first portion of the Fatman’s Loop which we will talk about later. 

It is just over 5 miles in length, but its rocky elevation makes it a challenging run or hike. 

When running Mount Elden Lookout Trail, be sure to follow the signs and remain on the path.

The uneven surface and cut-offs can make it easy to get lost. And no one wants to spend their weekend stuck on a mountain. 

8. Old Caves Crater Loop

Old Caves Crater Trail leads to the foot of an extinct cinder cone volcano through volcanic cinder fields and Ponderosa Pines from the trailhead.

The environment changes as you ascend Old Caves Crater to a mixture of primarily pinion and juniper trees with a few ponderosas.

Located in Coconino National Forest, you are sure to see some magnificent sights of the volcano and even some wildlife if you are lucky. 

This is a great running spot for beginners and is a great way to get to know the area. 

9. Picture Canyon

Along the Picture Canyon Trail, you are certain to see some interesting wildlife.

This is due to the Wildcat Hill Wastewater Treatment Plant providing clean water for the wildlife and songbirds. 

Just east of Flagstaff is the distinctive natural and cultural area known as Picture Canyon Preserve. The park’s surviving petroglyphs are its main claim to fame.

Here, the entire loop is only a little over four miles long, and much of the terrain resembles a cinder.

This surface is comparable to running on sand and is not for the faint of heart.

Picture Canyon is for the more advanced runners, but novice runners will still enjoy the walk. 

10. Campbell Mesa Trail System

Looking for the best runs in the Flagstaff area? Within the Campbell Mesa Trail System, there are 5 loops. The longest is just over 5.5 miles and loops around the northern and eastern edges of the mesa. 

Another popular loop is the Anasazi Loop which is only 2.7 miles in length.

There is plenty to explore and discover within this network which makes it an interesting run every time. 

All five loops interconnect at some point, meaning you can take a new trail every weekend and challenge yourself to new heights. 

11. O’Leary Peak Trail

Located on Forest Road 545A, this is one of the most difficult running trails in Flagstaff.

It is 10 miles of elevation that are going to have you panting and wishing you stayed in bed. 

The views from O’Leary Peak are stunning and extend for many miles away from Flagstaff proper. You can climb the fire tower at the summit with permission.

The O’Leary Peak Trail is great for those looking to gain strength and endurance through running. But the views are worth every drop of sweat. 

12. Mars Hill Trail

Thorpe Park serves as the starting point for the Mars Hill Trail, which takes a gradual ascent westward through a draw on Mars Hill’s eastern side.

This trail varies in intensity as it winds through the Ponderosa pine forest and into Lowell Observtory’s Scientific Reserve. 

This is a relaxing running trail that is going to take you out of your comfort zone just a touch.

13. Little Elden Springs

Located in Coconino National Forest, Little Elden Springs is a hidden treasure for running in Flagstaff.

It is a little over 7.5 miles in length, making it a great way to start your morning or spice up your training. 

It is known for being a rather quiet trail and leads onto Schultz Pass Road at around four miles in.

Perfect if you are looking to extend your run or to see something new. 

14. Fatman’s Loop

Fatman’s Loop is one of the most popular running, hiking, and mountain biking trails in Flagstaff.

Taking just around one and a half hours to complete, it is a great walk for the family or for a quick run to get the blood flowing. 

Fatman’s Loop hooks onto Mount Elden Lookout Trail and is enjoyed by everyone from children to the elderly. 

15. Humphrey’s Trail

Humphrey’s Trail is known as more of a hiking trail, but it is also a great run.

It is located just outside Flagstaff at Snowbowl Scenic Gondola, where there is plenty to do for the rest of the day. 

This is a challenging run that is sure to have your legs and lungs burning. 

Final Thoughts

Finding a running trail in Flagstaff is like finding a bar in Las Vegas. There is probably one right outside your front door. 

It is time to slip on your running shoes and start exploring the outdoors of Flagstaff.

See some excellent sights, catch nature doing its thing, and take a deep breath of that fresh mountain air. 

Above are 15 of the best running trails in Flagstaff that you can try for yourself. Or take it easy and enjoy the stroll. 

Make sure to bring plenty of water. You have to remain hydrated in that Arizona heat!

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