Realty Executives of Flagstaff

Wayne McCormick

Wayne McCormick


Realty Executives of Flagstaff


Sledding Hills: Where to go

(Published on - 11/11/2015 7:24:42 PM)

Sweet slopes and terrific tubing runs

Sweet Slopes

Elk Ridge in Williams is a family-friendly ski, snowboard and tubing recreation area.

The rope tow was about to shut down late Friday afternoon and skiers and snowboarders of all ages scrambled to get in their last runs as the sinking sun sent beams of light across blue-white snow.
Welcome to Elk Ridge. A mere 30 miles west of Flagstaff on Interstate 40, this little gem of a mountain resort offers a full array of snowplay activities, rentals, lessons and a cozy day lodge.
The lodge is newly remodeled and includes a warming fireplace and the White Stag Cafe, which offers comfort food and views of the slopes out the windows.
Elk Ridge covers about 30 acres of skiable runs. All seven runs are groomed and visible from the lodge area.
Some runs have vertical drops of 600 feet, with a beginner's slope offering a gentle, 30-degree descent and a chance to practice skills.
Elk Ridge offers a wonderful alternative to crowded slopes and long lift lines, with a variety of terrain and friendly people.
The Elk Ridge season is December through April.

Elk Ridge Ski and Outdoor Recreation Area

Operating in cooperation with the National Forest Service, in the Kaibab National Forest
Season total for snow, 68 inches
Drive south from downtown Williams about 2.5 miles, continuing when it becomes Perkinsville Road.
Take a right on Ski Run Road (Forest Service Road 106), 1.5 miles up the hill to Elk Ridge. Sign on the right. Chains or 4WD may be required during heavy snows.
Open Friday through Monday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Half-day rates begin at 1:30 p.m.
White Stag Cafe, open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tubing: Two new runs available.
All day, 13 and older, $10; All day, 4 to 12 years, $7; under 3 free with paid adult.
Skiing, snowboarding: Poma Lift and a rope tow.
$20 all-day lift ticket.
Family and group rates available.
Rental available for tubes, downhill and cross-country skis, poles, boots and boards.
For information about rental packages and lessons, visit


If you go...

Park off Highway 180 at the northern, gated end of Hart Prairie Road (FR 151).  If you go past the Chapel of the Holy Dove, you've gone too far.

(Clarification: Many maps dub the staging area across from the chapel as the Walker Lake rest area. This is because the parking lot does serve as a good place to unload snowmobiles and access Hart Prairie Road across the highway.  But the actual Walker Lake is 2 miles to the east of Highway 180.)

Ski or snowshoe up Hart Prairie Road to the intersection with FR 418.  Go left for 200 yards, then take a snowmobile trail on the left for about a half-mile to the outer base of the crater and the trail sign.  Leave your skis here and walk up the final 200 yards.

At the rim, walk briefly downhill, then to the left.  You'll come to a steep chute with a nice runout onto the lakebed.


Fitness coach Steve Ilg recommends a north-facing slope in a scenic meadow just north of the Cheshire subdivision.  Here are his directions:

Park at the first Wing Mountain turnoff road (gate locked): FR222

Ski or snowshoe a half-mile to first cattleguard

Go left (southeast)... down a hill on FR 923OF.  Upon entering a barbed wire gate (be sure to close it!), veer right instead of following the road.

Noodle west toward Wing Mountain following a drainage system for less than a quarter mile and you'll see the big, beautiful meadow before you.  Sledding is optimal on the north-facing south slope, although the entire southwest hill system is great!

Slide over to snowplay areas

With the Arizona Snowbowl and Snowbowl Road closed to sledding, the Forest Service has created three formal snowplay areas along Highway 180.


Cari Hennikson, 10, gripped the tote string tightly of the new sled she got for her birthday and looked down the snowy slope of Crowley Pit, calculating the best time to maneuver into the stream of rowdy snowplay enthusiasts.
Cari, with her younger brother, Kyle and her father, ‘Tor, were up from the Valley on a Sunday snow- play trip. They weren’t alone--the pit was full of Valley families, many of them hard pressed to find a good place to sled once they learned that the Arizona Snowbowl was closed to sledding and parking was banned along Snowbowl Road.
It seems like it would behoove Flagstaff, ... Bto set up a place to sled,” said Todd Swansiger. We just found this place driving around.”
Actually, the Coconino National Forest has created three formal snowplay areas north of Snowbowl off Highway 180. Following is a brief description of each:
Wing Mountain: This site is a mecca for sledders as well as cross- country skiers. Most of the Forest Service roads at WingMountain are off-limits to wheeled vehicles between Dec. 1 and April 1, and there are also informal trails along gas pipeline easements.
The access road (FR 2228) is 2.8 miles north of Snowbowl Road. Hart Prairie Road (FR 151) is on the right, and about 100yards farther on the left is FR 222B.
For some reason, the Forest Service does not want to post a sign saying “Wing Mountain.” Instead, the sign says ‘Parking Area” Take FR 222B about a mile to the kiosk with a map of the trails. About a quarter-mile farther, there is a sizable parking lot. Drivers of high-clearance vehicles can proceed even farther to the base of the sledding hills.
Crowley Pit: This area is smaller than Wing Mountain but often less crowded. It is also at a higher elevation, so the snow tends to last a day or two longer. The pit is 9.8 miles north of Snowbowl road on the left, or about a mile north of the Flagstaff Nordic Center. Again, the sign at the turnoff (milepost 233) says ‘Parking Area,” not Crowley Pit. The access road is 200 yards long and there is parking for about 25 to 30 vehicles.
Walker Lake: This also is known as the Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Area. It is 14 miles north of Snowbowl Road on the left opposite the Chapel of the Holy Dove. This area is primarily for cross-country skiers and snowmobilers who want to explore the flatlands of Kendrick Park as well as the foothills of Kendrick Peak.
There are other informal snowplay areas along Highway 180, but the Forest Service discourages their use because of the hazards of parking along busy Highway 180.

For more information, contact the Peaks Ranger District at 526-0866.


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