Cedar Flat Road is a tale of two trails. On its southern end, the well-behaved road climbs out of the desert to offer camping with views, driving with views and hiking with views. Looking west, the sacred red rocks of Sedona are below you. Mingus Mountain tents horizon due west. Farther south the rugged Bradshaws stand out above the haze. North you catch glimpses of the San Francisco Peaks towering above Flagstaff. Closer in you get a look deep into the canyon of West Clear Creek and Blodgett Basin. The tall stalks of century plants stand sentinel over prickly pears with their crimson fruits. Ocotillo spread their firesticks skyward along the roadside. The daggers of the agaves make you watch your step. And then Cedar Flat Road throws a temper tantrum, all be it a beautiful outburst. The finely graded road becomes a rock-strewn two-track weaving among junipers, testing your tires, your suspension, your kidneys, and your ability to pick a good line. But the rugged beauty of the place, the sudden openings onto wide tree-dotted savannah grasslands, and a short stretch through a pristine pine forest make you forget to keep your eyes on the trail. Apache Maid Mountain begins to appear larger and larger until it looms over the mesa. Too soon, it seems you reach the junction with Apache Maid. You'll want to stop and catch your breath. Nice is good. Naughty is fun. Why not have a little of both?
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