July 11, 2014

Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail

Right off the bat, this trail has perhaps the least amount of wildlife I have ever seen on a hike. I was there on a late afternoon in July so maybe that was the problem. Maybe the elk gather in the early morning. Maybe they are friskier in the spring. I don’t know. I knew I wouldn't be lucky enough to see a pronghorn antelope, but I was hoping for a mule deer or even an Abert’s squirrel with the cute little ears like I saw everywhere in the Pinal Mountains. There weren't even any real birds there which I thought a bit odd. It’s as if the sign “Watchable Wildlife” sign went up and the animals bolted. I have seen more wildlife along highway 180 than I saw on this hike. Now, I will say that were some storm clouds brewing, and animals are smarter than we are about these kinds of things so maybe they were watching me with amusement from some sheltered location. However, the trail is so short at 1.5 miles that you can easily make it back to base if one of those large grey clouds opens upon you. You can make the hike even shorter if you do the quarter-mile, completely paved loop option.

Plusses to the hike: this is a great hike to do with little kids or the hiking-challenged because it is almost entirely flat. There are also signs describing the hike along the way and explaining meadows, volcanic activity, aspen growth, ponderosa pines, animal behavior, and the human history of the area. We were really surprised to see all of the old mining equipment that was left out in the open. I have said this before in regards to petroglyphs, but PLEASE do not remove these old historical relics. Besides being against the law, it’s really cool if we can all see history out in the open without worrying that people will try to take a “souvenir.” Come here instead and take in the full effect by imagining that you lived here in the early 1900s. It is a gorgeous spot with some beautiful views of Arizona’s tallest peak, Mount Humphreys, at 12,633 feet. The Hopis and Navajos both regard these peaks to be sacred and have lived among them for thousands of years when I’m certain the wildlife was far more plentiful. 

Length: 1.5 miles for the loop described
Elevation gain: <50ft
Time it took us: Less than an hour with many statue-like stops to listen carefully for wildlife sounds.
Dogs: Allowed on the trail but not recommended if you want to see wildlife.
Fees: None
Directions: Take Highway 180 north from Flagstaff approximately 20 miles and the trailhead parking lot with bathrooms will be between milepost 235 and 236 on west (left) side of the road.