Rio de Flag

Explore the natural and human history of Flagstaff's ephemeral streams

Rio de Flag

Flagstaff, Arizona 86001, United States

Created By: Friends_of_the_Rio

Tour Information

Learn about Frances Short Pond, the seep at Museum of Northern Arizona, the waterfall & Native American petroglyphs at Picture Canyon, the still-visible lava flows that changed the course of the Rio and its tributaries, how people re-routed the Rio through the heart of the City a century ago, and the watershed’s scenic canyons, unusual plants and birds. You can use the app for a virtual tour at home, and select a location for your next outing. On that outing, use the app to enhance your experience of Elden Spring, the I-40 wetlands, Flagstaff’s largest prairie dog town, or whatever you chose.

To minimize negative impacts of your visit: (1) Stay on trails. Every human trail is a scar on the landscape, but it is better to have one well-designed trail than many poorly chosen paths. If you must take a side trail and find several interlaced options, please select the gentlest and widest trail on the hardest surface. (2) Do not step on plants, disturb soil, pick flowers, carve or break trees, or disturb cultural artifacts such as Native American pot shards & petroglyphs. (3) Do not leave any trash or pet waste. “Pack it in, pack it out.” (4) Respect wildlife and other visitors. Control your dog so that it cannot disturb wildlife or touch or scare other people. Bikers yield to hikers, hikers yield to horses. (5) No fires. Due to wildfire risk, open fires are illegal in Flagstaff and adjacent areas. (more details on Leave no trace practices).

To create a positive impact on your visit: (1) Pick up trash along the trail, using gloves and bags as needed for health and safety. (2) For a more enduring impact, any group (a family, book club, or a few neighbors) can commit to a minimum of 4 cleanup events per year on a half-mile section of the Flagstaff Urban Trails System. Pick a FUTS section along a watercourse, and register here; the city will provide equipment and recognize your effort with a sign at each end of your section. (3) For a more social event, participate in the annual Make A Difference Day, in which 100 people remove trash, maintain trails, control invasive plants, and plant native species at a new location each year (usually on a watercourse). (4) Kill scotch thistle, spotted knapweed, Siberian elm, and other invasive non-native plants. This site (Barb Phillips to create) advises you how to plan ahead and be most effective. (5) Generate data on water flows (Ben Ruddell’s project). Generate data on ecological condition (NCD project).

This tour is brought to you by the Friends of the Rio de Flag, an organization whose goal is to protect, restore, clean up and improve the Rio de Flag and its tributaries to maximize their beauty, educational, recreational, and natural resource values, including the riparian habitats they provide. Please visit our website to learn about our projects, download documents, or become a member.

Help us improve this tour! If you notice errors, omissions, or confusing text on this app, please click the “suggest improvement” button at that Point of Interest.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

The 6 parking places on Brannen Circle at Lone Tree Road provide the easiest access to Sinclair Wash Trail and the Flagstaff Community Labyrinth. Additional parking can be found on residential streets off of Brannen Circle. Sinclair Wash Tr... Read more
Sinclair Wash flows from Rogers Lake (about 6 miles away). The Rio de Flag (in the culvert under your feet) flows from the west side of The Peaks (the big mountains you see to the north, a mile higher in elevation than this location). The R... Read more
The side trail to the north leads upslope to the Flagstaff Community Labyrinth and Sawmill Park. To reach the labyrinth take the side trail upslope and take all lefts (following the labyrinth icons on the rocks) for 1 minute. To reach Sawmi... Read more
With no communication between continents, people in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas started creating labyrinths about 3,000 years ago. In Arizona, Hopi and Tohono O’odham peoples incorporated labyrinths in their art. This labyrinth... Read more
Wonderful views of Sinclair Wash Canyon and the Flagstaff Urban Trail (incorrectly labeled “Arizona Trail” on google maps). The Park has a play structure for children, picnic tables, and a wall with two murals created by local artists. ... Read more
Willow Bend Environmental Education Center offers environmental education programs for families, adults, and youth, including classes, live raptor exhibits, and hands-on activities, both here and in the Flagstaff Schools. The grounds also h... Read more
As in most of Flagstaff, the most common year-round bird species in this canyon are pygmy nuthatch, white-breasted nuthatch, mountain chickadee, Steller jay, house finch, northern flicker, and hairy woodpecker. From May through August, comm... Read more
This is probably the largest population of this lovely native plant in the City of Flagstaff. It spreads by runners and blooms in June, covering the northeast-facing slope with red blossoms. Please do not pick the flowers.  If you join FoR... Read more
The limestone cliff is covered with wild hops, wild grape, poison ivy, and other plants that like moist soil and afternoon shade. Although not as pungent as the domesticated hops used to flavor IPAs and other beers, the female wild hops vin... Read more
(info from old AGFD signs, now gone). Redwinged blackbirds. Wilson’s Snipe Reclaimed water plant 
the water flows "upstream" to support the marsh north of I-40. Created by an agreement with AGFD to release a minimum average flow of 100 gpm for 20 years (1995-2025?) . 
Sorry, there wasn't any information provided for this point of interest.
Sorry, there wasn't any information provided for this point of interest.
For many years this was the largest colony of Cynomys gunnisoni in the City of Flagstaff. There are 5 species of prairie dogs in the US, and all have been driven to < 5% of their former numbers and range by the plague bacteria that ente... Read more
Slobodchikoff's study of communcation. Plague wiped out in 2015. 


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