Hutch Mountain Lookout tower is one of many throughout Arizona. It is on the National Historic Lookout Registry. It was built in 1936, and still serves as a manned major viewpoint for fires in the Flagstaff area. Located off of FR3 (Lake Mary Road) at Milepost 310, not too far down a couple good dirt roads.
The day we were there there were 9 fires in the area, all started by dry lightening, including the Tank Fire. The Tank Fire was in the very same area as the Tinder Fire which devastated our neighborhoods just a month before. As an eery reminder of those terrifying days, our neighboring subdivisions CCP 1&2 were issued pre-evacuation notices. Fortunately, the fire was quickly doused and completely contained.
From the top of the tower you could see the Chinooks flying on the horizon dumping water of the fire.
The surrounding landscape is full of Ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, elk and deer.
At 8535 feet elevation the days are cool, and nights brisk. Climbing the tower offers a vantage point across northern AZ.
One of the easiest and most beautiful fall color outings to get to outside of the ‘big city’ is Lockett Meadow. It’s only 20 minutes from Flagstaff and yields awesome concentrations of full color yellowing aspens.
The characteristic white trunks and silver dollar yellow leaves make these aspen fields stand out in their stunning beauty. It’s a great place to go for the day, for a picnic, and just soak in nature at it’s finest.
It’s been an early fall. I wrote about it first here. As such the leaves are already starting to dissipate. Compounded by our gusty winds, the leaves are definitely falling as we are getting ready for winter. But for now we are enjoying the last hurrah of what has been a gorgeous Fall here on the mountain.
Blasphemy, I know! Sedona has stunning views, no doubt. But there is something real and genuine about Flagstaff. What’s not to like in city that is littered with start up breweries and coffee roasteries. Flagstaff has more boutique breweries (NOT affiliated with any big beer company) than anyplace I know. Let’s see there is Beaver Street Brewery, Flagstaff Brewing Company, Mother Road Brewing Company, Lumberjack Brewing Company, , Darksky Brewing, and Wanderlust Brewing Company. That’s SIX small breweries. You don’t have to like beer to understand that there is a mentality and state of mind that comes with small breweries. The people are free birds, a little hippi-ish, and proud of their passion and want to share.
It doesn’t stop with breweries… Flagstaff is home to not 1, but 2 Farmer’s Markets weekly PLUS a Farmer’s Market store PLUS an Urban Market every 2nd Saturday. It has SEVEN coffee Roasters spread across it’s charming but condensed small city. Now maybe that’s common in big cities… but it’s unheard of in such a small town. This entrepreneurial mindset demonstrates the passion that Flagstaff residents exude and want to share with their community. It’s not out of sense of making big bucks or charging high prices, but moreover sharing the products they care about and are proud of, with their community.
While Flagstaff may not be have the stunning landscape that Sedona has, it makes up for it in character and the great outdoors. It’s filled with walking paths, trails, hiking areas and National Forest. It’s a great place to camp, hike, forage and enjoy the abundant wildlife and unburdened (no fee) forests.
It also DOESN’T have the high prices, ticky tack souvenir stores, floods of tourists, or hoity toity-ness that define Sedona. You don’t have to pay to park on the side of the road (like in Sedona) or fight the insane traffic to get from one end to the other (though Flagstaff has it’s fair share of traffic – unfortunately).
Did you know that Sedona has the only McDonald’s in the world with a turquoise arch (rather than the standard yellow)? The Sedona city council deemed the yellow McDonald’s arch ‘too garish’, despite the fact that many business (including Hertz) have yellow logos along the same street. That’s Sedona. Flagstaff’s McDonald’s arch is yellow. Need I say more?
When my husband told me he was taking me someplace special for lunch in Flagstaff, and we had never been there, I was baffled.
It seemed a contradiction in terms. There are a lot of good places in Flagstaff for a good meal. Probably the best of which are only open for dinner. We’ve visited most of the best lunch places in Flagstaff, or at least I thought. One we hadn’t been to?? I was intrigued.
Well he hit a home run when we surprised me with Snowbowl. Not being a skier, we had never been. Snowbowl is a ski resort, open during the summer strictly for the views. You can purchase a ticket for the chair lift to the top… enjoy the view and / or a hike… and head back down. The ride takes around 30 minutes each way… and must be the best view in Flagstaff. It takes you from 9500 ft to 11,500 ft. It was a chilly 53F at the top.
It forced us to sit down and relax for a change… and literally take in the scenery.
The restaurant at the bottom of the hill was less than spectacular… but the view made up for it. Next time (and there will be a next time), we’ll bring friends… and our own lunch. This kind of experience should be shared!