Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

November 14, 2014

Oldham Trail Flagstaff


by John Freeman

Oldham Trail is in Buffalo Park, Flagstaff. I was told by the locals, Buffalo actually did roam there in the 1960’s, but through a harsh winter the park lost money and the city closed it down with animals intact. However, some of the buffalo escaped and trampled on people’s lawns, “horrors”, and the city government said “Them there’s buffalo gotta go. They don't like hikers and hikers don’t like them too near, and we are going to put trails all over the place”. So, with heavy hearts, the buffalo left. I really don’t believe this and I’m sure it’s not true, but I was told that all the restaurants had buffalo meat on their menus for weeks afterwards. Remember this was in the 60s.

On September 23, the Sedona Westerners “Doggie” group hit Buffalo Park. The weather was pleasant and cool, ideal for a moderate hike. About an hour into the hike there was a stir up front. Through the trees some hikers thought an eagle had been spotted. But, others thought it was a buzzard. The debate still goes on!

At one point the group passed these massive boulders. Hundreds of them all piled on top of each other. Some of these beautiful rounded rocks are as big as a small house and looked as if they had been placed there. I am sure geologists would come up with several theories as to how they came to this placement.

There is plant life to look at and birds everywhere and moving through the Ponderosa pines they are well in evidence. People in the Eastern part of the USA think of Arizona as desert and cactus everywhere. They can’t imagine having forests out here. This is what makes it really worthwhile for those who like hiking. Our trail goes North with gradual inclines and dips moving up to 9000 feet at the end. It is reasonably cool with a gentle breeze every now and then to help maintain the temperature.

Buffalo Park has a maze of trails to choose from. All are considered moderate, although some less experienced hikers may disagree. There are definitely trails for all levels which makes a very enjoyable day out. Part of the Arizona Trail passes through on its way up to the Utah border. It is 800 miles long and starts at the Mexican border at the Coronado National Memorial. Parts of the Arizona Trail is not completed at the present time and the only place it comes near urban communities is Flagstaff.

Rocky Ridge Trail was as far as we were going at this particular time. It was time to turn back. It was not a Mount Everest hike, but then we didn’t have to leave our breathing equipment in the snow up there. Everything was brought back.

Just before I end this article, I would like to clarify an earlier statement. It was not buffalo meat that was on the menus. It was buffalo wings !

If you are interested in joining the club, please go to our website at or just come to one of our monthly meetings. The next one will be on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 7 pm at the Sedona Elks Club, 110 Airport Road.