Switzer Canyon Trail

Flagstaff Urban Trails System (FUTS)About the Trail

North of Forest Avenue, the Switzer Canyon Trail is located on an old road bed that was Cedar Avenue; when Forest Avenue was built over McMillan Mesa, this section of Cedar Avenue was abandoned and converted to a trail. Through this area the trail is aggregate-surfaced and climbs steadily about 120 feet to the top of the mesa, near the USGS campus and the entrance to Buffalo Park.

South of Forest Avenue the trail is concrete and follows the west side of Turquoise Drive. This part of the trail is partially hidden below the road in an open space band of Ponderosa trees, oak thickets, and rock outcroppings. Another section of trail, about a quarter-mile in length, has been built adjacent to the new YMCA south of Ponderosa Parkway.


  • Ponderosa Parkway to Buffalo Park


  • 1.2 miles | 1.9 kilomters


  • Concrete: 42% of the trail (0.5 mile | 0.8 kilometer)
  • Aggregate: 58% of the trail (0.7 mile | 1.1 kilometers)


  • Easy grades: 65% of the trail has grades of less than 5%
  • Moderate grades: 33% of the trail has grades between 5 and 10% (2,050 feet | 625 meters)
  • Steep grades: 2% of the trail has grades between 10 and 15% (150 feet | 46 meters)
  • Very steep grades: None of the trail has grades of more than 15%
  • Maximum grade: 11%


  • Low point: 6,894 feet | 2,101 meters
  • High point: 7,116 feet | 2,169 meters
  • Elevation range: 222 feet | 68 meters
  • Cumulative elevation gain/loss: 213 feet | 65 meters

Along the Way

  • Buffalo Park
  • Jay Lively Center
  • McPherson Park
  • USGS
  • YMCA (under construction)

Intersecting Trails

Future Plans

Completion of missing segments of the trail between Forest Avenue and Switzer Canyon Drive is scheduled for late summer 2010. Longer-term plans will extend the trail to the south and west to eventually connect to downtown Flagstaff.


View photos of Switzer Canyon Trail in the Switzer Canyon Trail photo gallery.