McMillian Mesa

MM photo croppedThe City of Flagstaff acquired McMillan Mesa Natural Area in November 2016 after approximately 86% of Flagstaff voters voted in favor of its preservation. The 300-acre McMillan Mesa Natural Area is one of the last intact native grasslands within the City and provides habitat for elk, deer, and other mammals.

Studies of the Mesa have uncovered multiple cultural and historic resources, including the Beale Wagon Road. McMillan Mesa provides beautiful views of the San Francisco Peaks and Mt. Elden, as well as many recreational opportunities.

In 2016, Flagstaff voted in favor of Prop 413, which restricted the use of 300 acres of City-owned property on McMillan Mesa to public open space and passive recreation. In line with Prop 413, the next step is to amend the existing zoning of the McMillan Mesa Natural Area from "Public Facilities and Rural Residential Zoning" to Public Open Space (Zoning Map Amendment application PZ-20-00063). There is a second virtual meeting on January 13, 2021 from 5-7pm, featuring a short presentation on McMillan Mesa Natural Area’s history as it relates to Proposition 413, followed by the opportunity to provide feedback, and ask questions about the Zoning Map Amendment application. For more information and to register to attend one of these meetings, Click here. If you cannot make it, you may submit comments at the Flagstaff Community Forum from December 1st, 2020 – January 31st, 2021. 

Motorized AccessPath in the Forest at McMillan Mesa Park

McMillan Mesa is a non-motorized area. There are currently two parking areas that allow access to the Mesa, one at Buffalo Park and the other at McMillan Mesa Park.

Buffalo Park

From downtown Flagstaff, travel north on North Humphreys Street and turn right on West Forest Avenue. Follow West Forest Avenue until it turns into East Forest Avenue, then turn left on to North Gemini Road. The parking lot will be at the end of North Gemini Road. From there, you can access McMillan Mesa by following the Arizona Trail across the Matt Kelley Urban Trail Bridge.

McMillan Mesa Park

From downtown Flagstaff, travel north on North San Francisco Street and turn right on East Forest Avenue. In 0.1 miles, turn on North Turquoise Drive, heading south, until you come to East Ponderosa Parkway. Drive 0.4 miles on East Ponderosa Parkway and McMillan Mesa Park will be on the left.

RecreationMap of McMillan Mesa Park

The McMillan Mesa Natural Area can be reached from the north and south on the Arizona Trail. It can be accessed from the east on the Sego Lily FUTS Trail and the Arrowhead FUTS Trail. There is also access from the west side via the Cedar FUTS Trail and the Sunset FUTS Trail.

A map of the Flagstaff Urban Trails and Bikeways (PDF) can be found here.

The Mesa provides many opportunities for viewing wildlife. Mule deer, ravens, and lark sparrows all frequent the area, as well as waterfowl found at the nearby pond at Buffalo Park. To learn more about wildlife viewing at McMillan Mesa, view the Buffalo Park, Arizona Watchable Wildlife Experience (AWWE) page.


  • McMillan Mesa is a day-use only area. Camping, campfires, and woodcutting are strictly prohibited.
  • Hunting and motorized vehicle travel is also prohibited.
  • Large-scale activities and events require express written approval from the Open Space Specialist.

Trail NameImportant Information
McMillan Mesa Loop TrailRelatively flat, loop trail with views of the San Francisco Peaks and Mt. Elden.
Arizona TrailA segment of the 800 or more mile trail that connects Mexico and Utah. Trail is easy to distinguish and there is little change in elevation in this portion.