Cinder Hills OHV

Flagstaff, Arizona (Coconino County)

Last Updated: 05/08/2022
5 / 5 ( 8 reviews )
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Highlights

Highlight: Cinder Hills OHV
People come here for a one-of-a-kind experience: climbing “dunes” made of volcanic cinder at 7000-8000 feet elevation, with amazing views. This is a really unique and excellent attraction. It is also not for the faint of heart or those with low clearance or street tires. Most of the users come to camp along FR776 and tear it up on quads, razors, dirt bikes, and rails. There is some professional-grade hill-climbing done here, including the 900-foot critical-slope (e.g. falling down slope) “Hundred Dollar Hill”. The hill was named after the cost of broken parts on every attempted climb; in 2019 it should probably be called "thousand-dollar hill". There are dozens of other climbs with the same risk and challenge. And, really, isn't the climb that breaks your rig the one you should call Hundred Dollar Hill? Some of us more casual off-road enthusiasts show up in jeeps or similar - and will not be climbing these epic slopes. Those who come in RVs will stay close to the main road. This OHV area is right in Flagstaff, so you can get out, have your fun, and be back at home or hotel in time for lunch. Deep snow adds another dimension to the fun and risk. This is also one of the best places to camp in Arizona, because of the unlimited and uncrowded dispersed camping options all over the dunes- especially if you're an overlander capable of climbing a hill and camping on top.

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Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY - EXTREME )

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Waypoints

1. Cinder Hills OHV West Entry from US-89 (0 mi)
Heading north on US-89, and still within Flagstaff, you’ll see a sign to the right/east not long after a solar farm on the right side of the highway. Take this well maintained gravel road to access the OHV area.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Flagstaff, Arizona

Find the Cinder Hills by following US-89 northeast from Flagstaff, past a small solar farm, and look for the Cinder Hills OHV sign on the right/east about seven miles from I-40 and between mile markers 426 and 427. This is FR776, a well-maintained gravel road that heads east. It is almost still in town; services are nearby to the south. You can no longer access the Cinder Hills OHV area from Sunset Crater road FR545; this is illegal even if you can find a path through the cinders, and the gate is closed. There is only one way in and out, off US-89. Drivers should consult the Motor Vehicle Use Map for “official” routes and trails; it is the document of record.

Camping

Dispersed

Land Use Issues

All of the normal land use issues surrounding OHV usage, and in particular usage by dirtbikes, quads, and rails (non-street-legal), apply to Cinder Hills OHV. However, because this is a permanent and dedicated OHV area, it is unlikely that it will be closed- as long as users remain respectful and safe. If there is a rash of fire, trash, or accidents, closures are a real threat.

Trail Reviews (11)

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Writer Information

Ben Ruddell

Mapping Crew - Arizona

Ben is an Engineering PhD and Civil Engineer living in Flagstaff with a family of seven. He grew up car camping in Michigan, and later in Southern Illinois. By way of Utah, Southeast Alaska, Michigan, Illinois, and for eight years in Phoenix, He now lives in Flagstaff, AZ and spends summers in Durango, CO. His favorite weekends are spent exploring a new trail or route, usually with the intent of scoring a nice day hike or short overnight car camp with his kids. He frequently finds that his maps are out of date or that roads are impassable without specialized equipment, and wants to create better information for himself and other enthusiasts in his backyard, the 4 corners region of AZ, CO, NM, an UT.
For individual use only, not to be shared.