Sun, July 21

Hiking, biking VOC: Yavapai Vista Trails

Yavapai Vista trails are well signed.

Yavapai Vista trails are well signed.

Yavapai Point is the site of half a dozen trailheads off SR-179, Arizona's designated All-American Road and the state's well-known Red Rock Scenic Byway. Trails take hikers and bikers above the highway for panoramic views of familiar Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, Lee Mountain, Rabbit Ears and Cathedral Rock.

Slim Shady and Made in the Shade trails connect with the Coconino Trail to make a leisurely 2.7-mile jaunt. Head out from the Coconino trailhead, located near the entrance to the Yavapai Vista parking lot on the west side of SR-179. About a third of a mile in, you'll see a marker for Slim Shady. Take a left and go another 0.3 miles to the intersection with Made in the Shade, where you turn to the right to begin a gradual elevation gain, with switchbacks easing the ascent.

Hikers with average stamina and ability will find the 1.1-mile trail easy to moderate. Bikers will need a bit of technical skill. As you gain elevation, explore the large boulders that have fallen from above over eons.

Made in the Shade loops back to Slim Shady, and the descent is gradual enough to allow you to catch your breath and admire the birds-eye view of the Village of Oak Creek and traffic moving along the Scenic Byway. When you reach the sign for Slim Shady, turn left to connect with the Coconino Trail, which winds back about a mile to the parking lot.

If you want to extend your bike ride or hike, check out the map posted at the intersection of Shady and Coconino trails. You'll find options for continuing on several easy to challenging trails, including the narrow, cliff hugging 3.1-mile Hiline Trail, which stretches along the back side of Cathedral Rock to connect with the Baldwin Trail.

Have fun and look for me on the trails

If You Go ...

Look for the clearly marked Yavapai Vista turnout on the west side of SR-179, opposite, but not visible, from Bell Rock Vista.

Yavapai Point is a newly developed area. The trails are in excellent condition and well signed. Toilets, a picnic table, a memorial bench and an interpretive display illustrating prominent landmarks encourage visitors to linger awhile.

A Red Rock Pass (or an America the Beautiful Interagency Pass, Golden Age Pass or Golden Access Pass) must be displayed in the windshield of vehicles left unattended in the Yavapai Vista parking lot. Day passes are available for $5 from machines in the parking lot.