Coconino National Forest
The Coconino National Forest is just south of Flagstaff and is nestled between several other national forests in Arizona. It is a paradise where deserts climb mountains to become forests, offering incredible recreation opportunities, a variety of landscapes and volumes of natural and cultural history.
The forest is divided into four ranger districts:
Flagstaff District - At 12,633 feet, the San Francisco Peaks are not only the dominant feature of the forest area called the Volcanic Highlands, it's also the highest mountain in Arizona. This rolling highland is a land of ponderosa pine forests and pinyon, juniper woodlands clustered around broad prairies and small lakes. Arizona's largest natural lake, Mormon Lake, is located here. The area is also known for its plentiful wildlife. Large herds of elk roam the forests and edgelands. Bald eagles and ospreys live and hunt around the lakes. Pronghorn antelope graze the prairies.
This mountain is sacred to the native peoples that live in the area, and its soaring profile set against a blue Arizona sky serves as a source of awe to contemporary residents and visitors. Views from the summit of the San Francisco Peaks stretch to the Grand Canyon's North Rim over eighty miles away.
Hiking, sightseeing, wildlife watching and skiing are the predominant recreation activities enjoyed in this land of mountains, forests and lava flows.
The Mogollon Rim - The Mogollon Rim is a rugged escarpment that forms the southern limit of the Colorado Plateau. Dropping as much as 2,000 feet in some areas, the Rim provides some of the most far-reaching scenery in Arizona. Views stretch from its rocky precipice to Four Peaks of the Mazatzals northeast of Phoenix.
Needless to say, sightseeing is a favorite activity along the Rim, but this forest area also boasts a historic system of hiking and horseback trails, a couple of picturesque lakes for boating and fishing, and backcountry skiing for wilderness adventurers.
Red Rock - The colorful collection of buttes, pinnacles, mesas and canyons surrounding Sedona is famous the world around for its red rock vistas. Over the years, this area has served as the setting of many western novels and movies and has been the subject of uncounted paintings, photographs and other works of art. The remains of ancient wetlands, these crimson cliffs have been carved by the forces of the desert into one of nature's most magnificent masterpieces.
No matter what you do in Red Rock Country, you're always sightseeing. Ways to get even closer to all this scenery include: hiking, horseback riding, taking a scenic drive, sliding down a natural waterslide, picnicking, camping, taking lots of photos and fishing in Oak Creek.