OverviewWoody Mountain is a peak around seven miles SW of Flagstaff, Arizona. Sitting at 8,045ft with around 700ft of prominence, Woody Mountain is by far not the tallest peak within the San Francisco Volcanic Field, but it does provide the hiker with an easy hike along with amazing views north towards Flagstaff and Humphreys Peak. Like Humphreys and all of it's neighbors, Woody Mountain was formed due to volcanic activity. It was once a cinder cone volcano, but after much weathering and erosion, it has lost its volcanic shape. However, basalt rocks still liter the area (like all of the area in and around Flagstaff) reminded the visitor of the volcanic activity that this area once possessed.
On the summit lies the Woody Mountain Fire Lookout, which was constructed in the early 1900's. The actual summit lies shrouded in ponderosa pines. However, by climbing the tower (you can't go all the way up), one can have a 360 degree of the surrounding area. Accompanying the tower are a few small buildings and a outhouse. Interestingly, one can find mass amounts of ladybugs on top of this peak in late summer and early fall.
Another cool thing about Woody Mountain is that there are a few stands of quaking aspens on it's north slope. Also, lots of elk can be seen in the area, so keep an eye out for them. Even though it's relatively close to Flagstaff, one can find solitude and great views.
Route InfoHiking or biking this peak is quite easy. You can just follow the Forest Service Road to the summit. Or you can just bushwhack up from any other direction from Woody Mountain road (there are a few game trails and primitive trails that you could choose from). Which ever route you go, it is not that hard. If you go off trail, you have a greater chance of seeing elk. From Woody Mountain Road on the north side of the peak, the elevation gain is around 650ft. From the SW side, its just under 300ft of elevation gain. There are two summits to Woody Mountain, but it is quite obvious which is the true summit. Its the southern most highpoint.
An interesting alternative: A mile east of Woody Mountain lays Garden Spring. From any map, it doesn't look like anything. When your right next to it, it doesn't look like anything. However, once you get inside the little canyon, basalt cliffs begin to form on either side of you. There are two pitches to this climb. The first one requires a few class 3 moves. The second requires some 4th class climbing. It is a really cool canyon where one can easily find solitude and a little bit of climbing.
Red TapeThe only red tape to this area is that on the west side of Woody Mountain there is some privately owned land. The owner isn't too friendly from what I have heard so its best to stay off the land. It is very well marked with barbed wire fences all around it. Just stay off and you will be good.
Other then that, there is really no other red tape. Woody Mountain road may not be plowed in winter months.
CampingCamping can be done anywhere around Woody Mountain (not on the private land of course). This area sees alot of use from hunters and campers so if you do set up a "primitive camp", follow the LNT and other back-country camping principles. Click HERE for additional information regarding Coconino camping. Most people decide to camp on the SW side of Woody Mountain due to the muliple Forest Service roads that go to that area.
Established camping can be done at Woody Mountain Campground and in a few other places.
From Flagstaff- Take Route 66 West towards the Arboretum. Take a left on South Woody Mountain Road. This road goes all the way to Rogers Lake. You can park anywhere between the Arboretum and Rogers Lake to begin hiking Woody Mountain. There are many primitive Forest Service Roads that stem out of Woody Mountain Road. These can lead you about 400ft below its summit.
External LinksCoconino National Forest
National Forest website with lots of information regarding the area, including current conditions.
The current weather conditions for Woody Peak by NOAA.
Northern Arizona University's web-page for Centennial Forest.