By Mare Czinar
There is a place in the ultra dog-friendly Northern Arizona town of Flagstaff where you can escape the summer heat for you and your pooch that is the perfect blend of nature and convenience. The Nate Avery Trail is part of the Flagstaff Urban Trails System (FUTS), a network of non-motorized routes made up of paved pathways, sidewalks and traditional dirt trails that serve as a way for walkers and bikers to move seamlessly from work, school, shopping and recreation hubs.
The Nate Avery Trail is by far the most popular trail in the FUTS repertoire. The two-mile train loops around Buffalo Park through sunny meadows and pine woodlands, and offers beautiful mountain views, wildlife sightings, and cool high-country breezes. The smooth wide tread, picnic tables and drinking fountains along the trail make for an easy trek and plenty of recreational opportunity.
Topping the list of all the wonderful canine-centric qualities of Nate Avery Trail is the generous placement of waste bins along its two-mile course. Nobody likes seeing doggie droppings on hiking trails and finding evidence of a careless dog walkers is one of the most common complaints expressed by users of popular trails. (It’s not a dog problem, it’s a people problem!) These convenient receptacles on the busy Buffalo Park trail may go unnoticed by the casual trail user, but for those hiking with canine companions, they are a cause for celebration.
If a two-mile hike isn’t enough to satisfy your pup, just step onto the Arizona Trail which cuts through the park and heads into the hills on its way to Utah. Trailhead maps show options for using additional connecting Coconino National Forest and FUTS paths to build a day hike to suit your dog’s skill set and activity level.
Post hike, head into historic downtown for lunch at a dog-friendly restaurant like Macy’s European Coffeehouse and Bakery or Mother Road Brewing Company.
A version of this article appeared in our July/August 2018 article.