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Old 03-14-2011   #1
Meng's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 787
Flagstaff - get me stoked on it

Is there anyone anyone can tell me about boating and snow-riding (or anything else) around Flagstaff that might get me semi-stoked about POSSIBLY moving there for a year and a half?


I cant find much on paddling besides that one creek with the class 2 waterfall....which isn't getting me excited to be totally honest.

My understanding is that if it rains huge, I might have some good, short season creeking in Feb/Mar. Of course by then, I won't have paddled anything legit in so long I'll be a total whiffer....Not going for the recreation, going for other opportunities (maybe) but, ya know, fun is always nice to have on the side.

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Old 03-14-2011   #2
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 390
Haven't paddled the Oak/Verde/other Flag area stuff, so I can't speak for that, but the skiing is actually pretty decent when there's snow. The MTBing is awesome in Flag as well as Sedona, and Flag has some pretty killer disc golf courses. The nightlife is pretty good also, with a decent amount of good music coming through.

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Old 03-14-2011   #3
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
Chris, give me call, I spent some time there in the roaring 90's. The boating/skiing can be pretty limited compared to what your used to...or f-ing epic if El Nino rolls through. Overall though great town with great high desert activities, climbing is really good there.
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Old 03-14-2011   #4
Flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 11
Even on a low snow year like this year, the skiing has still been ok and since it's so close to town you can get up before or after work. The ski area is starting to put in snowmaking capabilities so that should only make it better. The boating was pretty minimal but we got on Oak a couple days after work and a great trip down the upper 35 miles of the West Fork of Clear Creek (drops 3000ft off the rim down to the verde valley). The rock climbing is great and I can cross the street from my house and ride MTB all day and never touch the same trail twice.

But it definitely is hit or miss with regards to a long boating season.
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Old 03-14-2011   #5
Cottonwood, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 5
I live in the Verde about an hour from Flag. Your right about the class II waterfall (Fossil Creek) but it's a blast at high flows and it's the only thing we have in the summer. Oak Creek is good over 500 cfs and is close to Flag but some years it's a short season. This year we've only had a few good runs on it and it's under 300 now. The Verde River has some good runs and is usable over 400, right now it's about 700, last weekend we were on it at 1200. West Clear creek was up a few weeks ago and is great creeking if you dont mind some strainers (Youtube for "kayak west clear creek"). The Auqa Fria and Christopher Creek have some good class V runs, Tonto is good but about 4 hour drive, The upper Salt is one of our staples but it's a 5 hour drive from Flag and dosnt have a snow pack this year. We have a lot of good runs but you need to be able to go when it flows and cant really plan ahead. Last year was epic for AZ paddling and this year sucks. The best way to meet people is join a yahoo group called "Monsoon Warriors" and just go with whoever whenever. Truth is, we usually head to CO for our fix.
Flag and Sedona also have outstanding bike trails and single track.
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Old 03-14-2011   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,239
The Fossil thread in the trip planner has evolved into a conversation about other stuff near there you might like.One that is running now.
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Old 03-15-2011   #7
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
There is also some pretty good info on the Verde+ thread.


In big water years you get some V/V+ creeking options that become available near the headwaters of Oak Creek. Here is a thread with some sick pics and a link to a full TR by Aaron Mulkey.
Woods Canyon Arizona Trip Report
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Old 03-15-2011   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Chris, its hard to beat CB for boating/snow stoke. You will definitely downgrade going to flag on those points.

If you want to get fired up about flag, you probably need to get fired up about the benefits of being in the desert SW. Climbing, biking, hiking, canyoneering might be the things to ramp up to make up for the loss of snow/paddling options.

For what its worth, the SW has some of the coolest canyoneering on the planet. Canyoneering is pretty fun... its got the amp of creeking, just without the creekboat, or the water...

I also think some choice road trips to CO/CA could keep the boating fix going.

For 1.5 yrs its probably doable, but its going to be tough on the boating front. My wife tells me that there are more important things than boating... perhaps there are... but not many...
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Old 03-15-2011   #9
flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 89
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 148
"Upper" West Clear Creek is where it's at and 45 min from Flag More drop but deep committment. Depending on the levels by bullpen you might want to pull out.

West Clear Creek Upper 45 minutes
Christopher Creek 1.5hrs?
Salt is a 2.5 hour drive from Flagstaff
Tonto is 1.5-2/shuttle hour from Flagstaff
East Verde 1 hour
Little Colorado 45 minutes
Burro Creek
East Clear Creek
Poland Creek
CA Surf $60- $90 overnight train ride while you sleep
PUmphouse Wash
Woods Canyon
Dry Beaver
Sycamore X3
many more, can only do one a day

Cept this year you can count the # of days on one hand Most years you can count the # of days on two

Climbing is epic! Granite, Sandstone, basalt, limestone, multi pitch, bolted routes forever, FA's up the wazoo, bouldering is cheap
Mountain biking galore, Hiking out the kazoo
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Old 03-15-2011   #10
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 30
Flagstaff is a great place to live. The skiing and boating can be hit or miss. When it is a good season they are great, but we do have some shitty short seasons as well.

The mountain biking and rock climbing are spectacular.

There is always something to do around here, and the weather is perfect.

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