Do you maintain your fitness by riding a bike on long road trips, mountain biking or hiking? Are you looking to travel somewhere that’s a scenic playground favorable toward your beloved outdoor activity? An ideal hub for all these sports in the Southwestern United States is Flagstaff, Arizona.
Flagstaff, Arizona is surrounded by Coconino National Forest (Arizona is not all desert), which offers miles of challenging choices for hiker and biker alike. Trails in this National Forest are well marked and most roads (city or forest) provide ample room for riding. I just spent a week in Flagstaff sightseeing and hiking, but no biking. My adventure into this scenic playground was a relaxing and healthy time.
Flagstaff’s mild temperature during late spring, summer and early fall (low 60s-mid 80s) ensures a pleasant environment to push yourself to new heights. Speaking of heights, you will be playing at an elevation of generally 7,000 or more. For some embarking on this journey, acclimatization may be necessary to overcome symptoms of altitude. A common symptom is shortness of breath due to less oxygen, which may be topped off with a headache to further your discomfort.
If you seek a serious aerobic and conditioning workout from hiking, I suggest the Elden Lookout, Humphryes Peak (highest peak in Arizona) and Heart trails. These trails climb a couple thousand feet within a relatively short distance. You’ll feel as though you accomplished something when you peak!
Travel Health Tip: If go to Flagstaff for outdoor fun during monsoon season (July-September), it’s best to partake in outdoor activities in the morning. Don’t be fooled by a sunny and warm daybreak because by midday the weather can flip with little warning. And you could get caught far off the beaten path, with little or no shelter, in a lightning and torrential rain event. For instance, no more than 10 minutes after I completed my Humphryes peak hike at around 12:30 p.m. (and was safely tucked into my car), the rain poured so hard I had to use my windshield wipers on high speed. Phew!