We had been hit quite a bit of rain and we like hiking in the cloud. Red Mountain hike sounded like a good place to check out 30 miles north of Flagstaff which was new for us. The leaves on the mountains we passed were changing since fall is in the air.
Red Mountain is a volcanic cinder cone that rises 1,000 feet above the surrounding landscape. It is unusual in having the shape of a "U," and in lacking the symmetrical shape of most cinder cones. A large natural amphitheater cuts into the cone's northeast flank. Erosional pillars called "hoodoos" in the amphitheater, and many dark mineral crystals erode out of its walls made for an interesting hike that wasn't long but interesting.
This hike took us to one of the most interesting reminders of the Flagstaff area's volcanic past.
We started off in a pinion/juniper forest. The first 2/3's of the hike followed an old primitive road, the last part of the hike follows a wash lined with volcanic cinder sand. Just before entering the cinder cone the forest type changes form juniper/pinion to ponderosa pine forest. We kept getting peeks of what was next to come.
Near the end of the trail we climbed a 6 foot ladder between two volcanic formations and found ourselves within a landscape of rock spires and sheer cliff walls.
The hike was easy and flowers in bloom after all of the recent rain. The rocks almost looked medieval.
It was fun checking out the nooks and crannies.
Mike noticed this tarantula walking along the road. We waited until he passed so we wouldn't smash him and his bluish legs.
The drive back to Flagstaff was quite pleasant with the changing leaves. Fall is definitely in the air.