The Rio de Flag South Trail, like the Buffalo Park Loop, offers Flagstaff residents and visitors an opportunity for a highly scenic, conditioning hike. An added benefit of Rio de Flag, especially after spring snowmelt and summer rains, is that it also gives your dog a chance to enjoy some splash time, though at the upper end of the trail only. It also feels more remote, thanks to the high canyon walls and screen of trees; deer are still spotted here, and many wildlife flock to the reclaimed water plant and wetland at the trail’s terminus. However, like Buffalo Park, the path is shared with cyclists, so be sure to follow the leash rule to minimize user conflicts.
Once on trail, you and your dog are padding along a compacted surface, surrounded by striking limestone formations, grasses, ponderosa pines, scrub oaks, and Gambel oaks. Parts of your hike are quite shady, and in autumn, the shifting spectrum of the canopy is a real treat. Continue winding easterly throughout the hike. The canyon walls are a palette of buff, gray, and pink limestone, made easier to discern by the pretty cutouts and boulder outcroppings along your way.
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