Sun Circle Trail In Arizona

Here is everything you need to know about the Sun Circle Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Arizona
  • Length: 120 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: National Park Service
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: Not available.

The Sun Circle Trail holds a significant place in the history of the region, dating back several centuries. The trail was originally established by indigenous communities who inhabited the area long before European settlers arrived. These Native American tribes utilized the trail as a means of transportation and trade, connecting various settlements and allowing for the exchange of goods and ideas.

As European colonization began in the 17th century, the Sun Circle Trail gained further importance as it became a vital route for early settlers. It provided a link between distant settlements, enabling the movement of people, livestock, and supplies. The trail played a crucial role in the expansion of European settlements, facilitating trade and fostering economic growth in the region.

During the 19th century, the Sun Circle Trail witnessed increased traffic due to the westward expansion of the United States. It became an essential part of the Oregon Trail, a historic route used by pioneers migrating to the western territories. Thousands of settlers traversed the Sun Circle Trail, enduring hardships and challenges as they sought new opportunities and a better life.

Over time, the Sun Circle Trail gradually transformed into a symbol of cultural exchange and historical significance. It serves as a reminder of the rich heritage of the indigenous peoples who first established the trail and the resilience of the early settlers who relied on it. Today, the Sun Circle Trail stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of those who traversed its path, leaving behind a lasting imprint on the history of the region.

While On The Trail

Access Points

The Sun Circle Trail is a 3.5-mile loop trail located in the city of Flagstaff, Arizona. Here are the major access points or trailheads along the Sun Circle Trail:

1. Buffalo Park Trailhead: This is the main trailhead for the Sun Circle Trail. It is located at Buffalo Park, which offers ample parking and restroom facilities. The trail starts from here and loops around the park.

2. Thorpe Park Trailhead: Another access point for the Sun Circle Trail is Thorpe Park. This park has parking facilities and is located near the intersection of Thorpe Road and Butler Avenue. The trail can be accessed from the park and followed in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

3. McMillan Mesa Trailhead: Located on McMillan Mesa, this trailhead provides access to the Sun Circle Trail. It is situated near the intersection of Lone Tree Road and McMillan Mesa Loop Road. Parking is available, and the trail can be accessed from here.

4. Foxglenn Park Trailhead: Foxglenn Park is another access point for the Sun Circle Trail. It is located near the intersection of Butler Avenue and Foxglenn Street. The trail can be accessed from the park, and parking is available.

These are the major access points or trailheads along the Sun Circle Trail in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Transportation Available

1. Sun Circle Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically for the Sun Circle Trail.
2. Local Bus – Public bus service with stops near the Sun Circle Trail.
3. Taxi – On-demand taxi service available for transportation to and from the Sun Circle Trail.
4. Bike Rental – Rental service offering bicycles for exploring the Sun Circle Trail.
5. Car Rental – Rental service providing cars for convenient transportation to the Sun Circle Trail.
6. Ride-Sharing – App-based ride-sharing service offering transportation options to the Sun Circle Trail.
7. Train Station – Nearby train station with connections to the Sun Circle Trail.
8. Airport – Local airport with transportation options to the Sun Circle Trail.
9. Walking – Convenient walking paths and sidewalks for those within walking distance of the Sun Circle Trail.
10. Personal Vehicle – Private vehicle transportation for those with access to their own cars.


The Sun Circle Trail offers the following amenities:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas or parking lots available near the trailhead for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The trail may have designated camping sites or nearby campgrounds where visitors can set up their tents or RVs for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: There may be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals and relax.

5. Benches and Seating: The trail may have benches or seating areas at various points, allowing visitors to rest and take in the surroundings.

6. Information Boards: There may be information boards or signs along the trail providing details about the trail, its history, and points of interest.

7. Trash Receptacles: Visitors can find trash receptacles along the trail to dispose of their waste properly.

8. Water Fountains: There may be water fountains or hydration stations along the trail to provide drinking water for visitors.

9. Interpretive Signs: The trail may have interpretive signs or markers that provide information about the local flora, fauna, or historical significance of the area.

10. Trail Maps: Visitors can find trail maps or information brochures at the trailhead or visitor center to help navigate the Sun Circle Trail.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Sun Circle Lodge – A cozy lodging option located near the trailhead of Sun Circle Trail.
2. Trailside Inn – A convenient accommodation option situated along the Sun Circle Trail, perfect for hikers.
3. Sun Circle Cafe – A local eatery offering delicious meals and refreshments near the trail.
4. Mountain View Restaurant – A scenic dining spot with stunning views of the Sun Circle Trail.
5. Sun Circle Campground – A camping area near the trail, providing basic amenities for outdoor enthusiasts.
6. Sun Circle General Store – A nearby store offering essential supplies and snacks for hikers.
7. Sun Circle Medical Center – An emergency medical facility located close to the trail, providing healthcare services.
8. Sun Circle Police Station – A local police station offering emergency assistance and safety support for trail users.
9. Sun Circle Fire Department – A fire station near the trail, ensuring prompt response to any emergencies.
10. Sun Circle Pharmacy – A nearby pharmacy providing medication and healthcare products for trail visitors.

Sun Circle Trail Difficulty Notes

The Sun Circle Trail presents a moderate level of difficulty, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail spans approximately 5 miles and offers a mix of flat sections and gentle inclines, providing a manageable challenge for both beginners and experienced hikers. While some parts may require a bit of stamina and endurance, the overall terrain is well-maintained and easily navigable. With its scenic views, diverse vegetation, and occasional wildlife sightings, the Sun Circle Trail offers an enjoyable and rewarding hiking experience for those seeking a moderate level of difficulty.

Features And Attractions

The Sun Circle Trail is a 1.5-mile loop trail located in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas, Nevada. Along this trail, you can find several scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Sun Circle Trail:

1. Calico Hills: These stunning red and orange sandstone formations offer breathtaking scenic views and are a popular spot for rock climbing and hiking.

2. Sandstone Quarry: This historical site was once a quarry where sandstone was extracted for construction purposes. You can still see remnants of the quarrying operations.

3. Petroglyph Wall: This ancient rock art site features petroglyphs created by Native Americans thousands of years ago. It provides a glimpse into the area’s rich cultural history.

4. Willow Springs: A natural oasis in the desert, Willow Springs is a small spring-fed pond surrounded by lush vegetation. It attracts a variety of wildlife, including birds and reptiles.

5. Lost Creek: This seasonal creek flows through a narrow canyon and offers a refreshing respite from the desert heat. It is especially beautiful during the spring when wildflowers bloom.

6. Ice Box Canyon: A scenic slot canyon with towering walls, Ice Box Canyon provides a cool and shaded hiking experience. It is named after the cold air that gets trapped in the canyon, creating a natural refrigerator effect.

7. Red Spring: Located near the trailhead, Red Spring is a natural spring that supports a diverse ecosystem. It is home to several plant and animal species, including the endangered Moapa dace fish.

8. Turtlehead Peak: Although not directly on the Sun Circle Trail, Turtlehead Peak is a prominent landmark visible from the trail. It is a popular hiking destination for those seeking panoramic views of the surrounding area.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can encounter along the Sun Circle Trail. Exploring this trail will provide you with a unique and memorable experience in the beautiful Red Rock Canyon.

Usage Guidelines


Seasonal Information

The Sun Circle Trail is a popular hiking destination that offers breathtaking views and a chance to immerse oneself in nature. Located in the heart of a picturesque region, the trail attracts visitors throughout the year. However, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting the Sun Circle Trail.

One of the most recommended times to visit the Sun Circle Trail is during the spring season, particularly in April and May. During this time, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, creating a stunning and colorful landscape. The weather is usually mild, making it ideal for hiking and exploring the trail. Additionally, the spring season offers a chance to witness the awakening of nature, with birds chirping and wildlife becoming more active.

Another great time to visit the Sun Circle Trail is during the fall season, specifically in September and October. The trail is transformed into a mesmerizing display of autumn colors as the leaves change, creating a picturesque scene. The weather is generally pleasant, with cooler temperatures and a crispness in the air. Fall also brings a sense of tranquility to the trail, as it is less crowded compared to the peak summer season.

It is important to note that the Sun Circle Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions in place. During the winter months, the trail may be inaccessible or dangerous due to snowfall and icy conditions. It is advisable to check with local authorities or trail management before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be closed for maintenance or restoration work during certain periods. It is always recommended to stay updated on any closures or restrictions to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces near the trail entrance for easy access to the Sun Circle Trail.
2. Paved Pathways: The trail features smooth, paved pathways suitable for wheelchair users and individuals with mobility aids.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available near the trailhead, ensuring convenience for all visitors.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail provide resting spots for individuals with limited mobility.
5. Handrails and Guardrails: Sturdy handrails and guardrails are installed at certain sections of the trail to assist individuals with balance or mobility challenges.
6. Braille Signage: Informational signs along the trail include Braille text, allowing visually impaired individuals to access important information.
7. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to accommodate wheelchair users, providing accessible seating and tables.
8. Audio Guides: Audio guides are available for individuals with visual impairments, offering narrated descriptions of the trail’s features.
9. Assistance Animals: Visitors are allowed to bring trained assistance animals to accompany them on the Sun Circle Trail.
10. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are conveniently located along the trail for hydration needs.

Safety Information

1. Slippery sections: Some parts of the trail can be slippery, especially after rainfall.
2. Steep inclines: Be cautious of steep inclines along certain sections of the trail.
3. Uneven terrain: The trail may have uneven surfaces, so watch your step.
4. Limited shade: The trail offers limited shade, so bring sun protection and stay hydrated.
5. Wildlife encounters: Be aware of potential encounters with wildlife along the trail.
6. Poison ivy: Poison ivy may be present in some areas, so be cautious and avoid contact.
7. Tick habitat: Tick habitat exists in the area, so take necessary precautions to prevent tick bites.
8. Limited cell reception: The trail may have limited or no cell reception, so plan accordingly.
9. Trail erosion: Some parts of the trail may experience erosion, so use caution.
10. Trail closures: Occasionally, sections of the trail may be closed for maintenance or repairs.

Conservation Notes

The conservation status of the Sun Circle Trail is of utmost importance due to its ecological significance and the need to protect its natural resources. The trail is currently designated as a protected area, ensuring its preservation and safeguarding its unique biodiversity. This conservation status aims to maintain the trail’s ecological integrity, prevent habitat degradation, and promote sustainable use of its resources.

Efforts are being made to monitor and manage the trail’s conservation status effectively. Regular assessments are conducted to evaluate the health of the ecosystem and identify any potential threats or disturbances. This includes monitoring the population of native plant and animal species, as well as tracking the presence of invasive species that may disrupt the natural balance.

Conservation measures are implemented to mitigate human impact on the trail. This includes enforcing regulations to prevent littering, illegal hunting, and unauthorized construction. Additionally, educational programs and awareness campaigns are conducted to promote responsible behavior among visitors, encouraging them to respect the trail’s conservation status and minimize their ecological footprint.

Overall, the conservation status of the Sun Circle Trail reflects the commitment to preserving its natural beauty and ecological value. By ensuring its protection, we can continue to enjoy the trail’s unique features while safeguarding its biodiversity for future generations.

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