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By: Dave Helgeson

Places to Ride: Cinder Hills near Flagstaff, AZ

Even some hill climbs are available.
Even some hill climbs are available.

Acres and Acres of cinders.
Acres and Acres of cinders.

Cinder Hills camping under the trees.
Cinder Hills camping under the trees.

Track berm
Track berm

Majestic trails.
Majestic trails.
 

Cinder Hills OHV area consists of 13,500 acres of great ATV riding. As the name implies, the area is volcanic in nature consisting of volcanic cinders and cinder cones. There is something for every rider at Cinder Hills. Horsepower junkies can climb the large cinder cones, and families can ride the trails. Those that just want to zoom wherever they please will enjoy the expansive cinder field which seems to go on forever. Trails are numerous with junctions every hundred yards or so, allowing you to create loops of varying size and duration. In addition, there are numerous user-made tracks with berms and whoop sections. There are multiple staging areas and trailheads from which to base your ride. The cinders are loose and deep resembling coarse sand. While paddle tires aren’t required, you might find them useful; just remember the cinders are highly abrasive which will wear your paddles down quicker than normal. The elevation of the area is in excess of 7,000 feet, keeping it much cooler than the rest of Arizona. Large Ponderosa pines provide shade for the trails and campsites.

The area is open to ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, and full-size four-wheel drive vehicles.

A map of the area can be found at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/recreation/peaks/ohv-cinder-hills.shtml. Most of the trails are not marked, and there are many more trails than are shown on the map.

Camping:

You may camp most anywhere on the Coconino National Forest (unless otherwise posted) according to the following guidelines: Generally, there is a 14-DAY PER MONTH STAY LIMIT (14 days in a 30-day period-forest order #04-99-08-R) on the Coconino National Forest. Please note that there are some exceptions where the limit is less than fourteen days. At Cinder Hills OHV-area camping is prohibited within the first mile of leaving the highway. If you are looking for a private campground with hookups, there is a KOA a few miles south of the riding area on Hwy 89. There are no restrooms at the site; go prepared.

Getting There:

Drive northeast of Flagstaff on US 89 approximately 7 miles north of Flagstaff Mall. Turn east (right) on FR 776. If you are navigating by GPS you will find the turn off at:

N 35 19.716 W 111 32.725

Services:

Food, lodging, gas, and most other services are available in nearby Flagstaff.

Rules and Regulations:

  • Helmets are required by state law for all drivers and passengers under the age of 18 years.
  • Only licensed motor vehicles will be permitted on Forest Roads 414 and 776.
  • All vehicles are required to have a Forest Service approved exhaust system or spark arrester and be in good condition.
  • Vehicles shall not be driven carelessly without regard for the safety of others or in a manner that is likely to endanger any person or property.
  • Glass containers are not permitted in the Cinder Hills Off-Highway Vehicle Area.
  • Camping is restricted on several portions of Forest Road 776. These areas shall be posted (refer to map for locations).
  • Campfire and smoking restrictions may be in effect during dry periods. Please check with any Forest Service office for current fire restrictions.

For Additional Information:

Peaks Ranger Station
5075 N. Highway 89
Flagstaff, Arizona 86004
(928) 526-0866
http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/recreation/peaks/ohv-cinder-hills.shtml

Be safe, enjoy, and I hope to see you on the trails.


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