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Hart Prairie Road Overview

Hart Prairie is one of my favorite destinations throughout the summer and into the autumn. I love it in the summer because it’s a beautiful escape from the intense Arizona heat. Autumn is probably my favorite time to visit, though; this is when the aspen leaves turn golden and provide a lovely sight throughout the western slopes of the San Francisco Peaks. If you are looking for a low-key destination that will provide a picturesque environment (and some beautiful photographs), Hart Prairie is the place for you!

Hart Prairie is a favorite for hikers and mountain bikers alike, with a very accessible trail that isn’t too difficult, despite numerous (low-grade) slopes and the high altitude. There is even a good view to be had from the comfort of your own vehicle, since the forest service road along the prairie is passable by even the domesticated Prius (though not recommended – I have passed many a Prius on this road in my truck or off road vehicle).

A picnic in the prairie becomes an almost whimsical affair, surrounded by the cool air and the towering aspens, with Humphreys Peak in the background. If you have the chance, take the trip and enjoy this beautiful, relaxed destination!

Logistics

There are various parking areas along Hart Prairie Road (synonymous with Forest Service Road #151), which intersects with US-180 near both mile marker 226 to the south and mile marker 235 to the north. If you are just looking for a leisurely drive, this allows for a great loop, entering Hart Prairie road from the south and exiting at the north, looping back down towards Flagstaff via US-180.  The pin on the below map is dropped along a midpoint of the road.

If you are driving slow, please, please, please pull over and let faster drivers pass you. This is common courtesy, but common courtesy is not practiced as often as it should… 🙂

Gear and Gadgets

As such a laid-back destination, not much is required in the way of special gear. A casual visitor really will not need anything special at all, especially if you are driving the road. If you are going for a picnic, bring a blanket of your own or grab one of these awesome picnic blankets with waterproof backing. 

If you are taking advantage of the mountain biking trails, you’ll want to bring all necessary safety equipment and dress appropriately (sometimes people cycle on Hart Prairie Road itself or branch off to a variety of trails that intersect along the way). For all hikers, a quick look at the Day Trip Gear Guide will remind you of the essentials that you should take with you on any outdoor excursion.

Remember the Leave No Trace Principles as well; keep the prairie beautiful for future visitors!

Further Reading

Day Trip Gear Guide

Photography Gear & Gadgets

Leave No Trace Principles

Outdoors & Wilderness First Aid

About The Author

Jeremy Meek is a native Arizonan with a passion for adventure and discovery of unique experiences. Whether exploring Arizona or setting out on an adventure abroad, Jeremy is constantly scouting truly great adventures and experiences.

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