Switzer Canyon Trail

About the Trail

North of Forest Avenue, the 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 mi | 1.9 km


Concrete: 42 percent of the trail (0.5 mi | 0.8 km)
Aggregate: 58 percent of the trail (0.7 mi | 1.1 km)


Easy grades: 65 percent of the trail has grades of less than 5 percent
Moderate grades: 33 percent of the trail has grades between 5 and 10 percent (2050 ft | 625 m)
Steep grades: 2 percent of the trail has grades between 10 and 15 percent (150 ft | 46 m)
Very steep grades: None of the trail has grades of more than 15 percent
Maximum grade: 11 percent


Low point: 6894 ft | 2101 m
High point: 7116 ft | 2169 m
Elevation range: 222 ft | 68 m
Cumulative elevation gain/loss: 213 ft | 65 m

Along the Way

  • Buffalo Park
  • USGS
  • Jay Lively Center
  • McPherson Park
  • 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.


Switzer Canyon Trail

Switzer Canyon Trail
Switzer Canyon Trail
Switzer Canyon Trail