Monday, June 27, 2011

The Land of Rims

No.  I'm not talking about these kinds of rims.

Northern Arizona is known for its rim littered topography.  It is here where the southern extent of the great Colorado Plateau reluctantly and abruptly gives way to the low lying Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.

The Grand Canyon from Grandview Point:  Perhaps the most well known Arizona rim feature.

Further south, the Mogollon Rim (Zane Grey country) also comes to mind.

However, here are two much smaller, but just as enjoyable rim options that are often over looked and well hidden from the crowds.

The Coconino Rim runs north-south between the Grand Canyon and Mount Humphreys.  It defiantly splits the cooler ponderosa forests of the Coconino National Forest from the Painted Desert of northeastern Arizona's four corner country.  For roughly ten miles, a section of the Arizona Trail runs along the rim affording some great single track running (and biking) and views eastward towards the Little Colorado River and Cameron, AZ.

The well marked start of the Coconino Rim Trail section of the Arizona Trail.  You can use the trail and Forest Service Road 310 to make a great 14 mile loop.

A view back towards the Grand Canyon from the rim.

Typical Coconino Rim Trail single track.

Also a popular mountain biking route.
  
The tall and still active Grandview Fire Tower sits atop the Coconino Rim.

Looking north towards the Grand Canyon from the fire tower.  This photo was taken about half-way up.  I had had all of the high winds and vertigo I could handle.
  
On the Kaibab National Forest, southwest of Flagstaff, one can find the well hidden Sycamore Rim Trail.  Though not a smooth as the Coconino Rim Trail, this diverse 11-mile loop takes you to water holes, climbing areas, rim edges and mountain tops.

Sycamore Rim Trail single track.

Surprisingly this trail criss-crossed some very verdant wash bottoms.

Looking into Sycamore Canyon in its infancy.  Lots of water running today.

Sycamore Canyon, now more adult-like, from the rim as it widens, deepens and heads south.

Emily Harrison and her dog, Bee, join in for this fun run.

One of many bolting Yucca.

The first of Pomeroy Tanks, a series of perennial "ponds" that support fish and amphibian life all year round.

More of Pomeroy Tanks and their unique surrounding rock formations.

The view of Humphreys from atop KA Hill; the high point of the loop trail.

Your Moment of Zen

Looking for water in a desert-like environment?  Hire a thirsty border collie mix.  They will sniff it out!

3 comments:

Lisa Preston said...

What great photos--makes me nostalgic for my northern AZ childhood. Incredible looking trails. Thanks.

olga said...

Oh, so beautiful. I miss it all already.

Melissa said...

Great post - really artful writing that imparts a rich sense of place, and excellent photos. You should submit this for publication somewhere....happy trails!