Out and about: finding solitude and stellar views along the Fisher Point Trail

Fisher Point overlooks a meadow surrounded by national forest. Photo/Stan Bindell

Fisher Point overlooks a meadow surrounded by national forest. Photo/Stan Bindell

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Fisher Point Trail is the perfect summer hike for those seeking a higher elevation and solitude.

Fisher Point Trail has two possible trailheads and they are both part of the Arizona Trail. The more popular entry is off of Lake Mary Road, but my hiking buddy and myself tried the trail off of Walnut Canyon Trail.

This trail is 6.7 miles in or 13.4 miles roundtrip. Those who want a shorter trail can turn around at any time; those who want a longer trail can continue on to Marshall Lake, which is 13.4 miles one way. That makes it 26.8 miles for those who are full of energy.

The Fisher Point Trail is covered by lots of ponderosa pine, a few flowers and agave plants along the way, but the big payoff is Fisher Point. The point provides a great lookout over a canyon with a wonderful meadow surrounded by ponderosa pine forest.

Not many people use this trail, especially on weekdays, so those seeking solitude will be happy.

Congress and the President designated the Arizona Trail a National Scenic Trail in the 1990s. The trail is more than 800 miles long with 43 passages going from the Mexico to Utah borders.

Dale Shewalter, a teacher for Flagstaff Unified School District, became known as the "Father of the Arizona Trail" before he died in 2010. Shewalter took a year off of work in the 1980s and drove more than 60,000 miles as he planned the map for the trail.

Now, hikers, bikers and equestrians use the trail. Many have completed hiking the 817-mile trail. So whether you're on the Fisher Point Trail, or somewhere else on the Arizona Trail, you may want to thank the stars for Dale Shewalter.

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