This passage begins from the Walnut Creek canyon floor, some 400 feet below Fisher Point. The trail gradually ascends northwest out of Skunk Canyon, following a number of drainages and old jeep roads. Look for signs of the 2010 Hard Fire that was ignited in this area. Eventually the trail descends parallel to the Rio de Flag drainage toward Hwy 40.
At this point, the trail crosses under Hwy 40 on an inauspicious paved extension of Babbit Drive. Follow Babbit Drive until the junction with E. Butler Ave and turn right at the Taco Bell. Continue toward the first main intersection and turn left paralleling Ponderosa Parkway. Continue along Ponderosa Parkway until the trail diverges from the road to the left just past the Flagstaff Fire Department Station 2.
Continue north and east on this path, crossing Ponderosa Parkway and, beyond that, East Cedar Avenue using the bridge. Bear right around the water tank, and continue straight through Buffalo Park until the path turns into the Lower Oldham Trail.
The Lower Oldham Trail joins Buffalo Park and the Pipeline Trail
with the Dry Lake Hills and Mt Elden trail systems. The hike begins with a descent from Buffalo Park into Paradise Valley, where the historic Beale Wagon Road once traveled among the towering ponderosas. The trail climbs to a junction with Pipeline Trail
and then heads uphill to the lower slopes of Mt. Elden.
There are a handful of unsigned social trails in this area, but Lower Oldham basically travels straight ahead toward Mt. Elden. Eventually, the trail hugs the ancient lava flows at the base of the mountain, which leads to some interesting rock formations. The trail climbs to the trailhead on Elden Lookout Rd, where connections with trails such as Brookbank and Rocky Ridge
Keep an eye out for Rocky Ridge
Trail, and take it heading left. This trail connects the base of Schultz Creek to trails off Elden Lookout Road
. Rocky Ridge
climbs moderately along the south-facing slopes of the Dry Lake Hills, which can get warm in the afternoon. There are good views on occasion across Fort Valley and Flagstaff.
From the parking area at the bottom of Schultz Pass Road, Schultz Creek Trail
heads up the valley floor. It's a steady moderate climb up along Schultz Creek (which might be running) through pines, aspen and Douglas fir. Birdlife abounds in areas where the creek has water.
The AZT will head off to the left after 3 miles of the Schultz Creek Trail