Kaibab National Forest
Spring Valley Cross-Country Ski Trail
The trail utilizes old logging roads, at times, but also passes through unroaded stretches of forest. The Eagle Rock Loop contains a few rather fast runs, where the R.S. Hill Loop is more gradual. Most of the trail passes through a ponderosa pine forest, with a few sections bordered by stands of aspen and fir. Part of the trail traverses the edge of Spring Valley.
Length: R.S. Hill Loop - 6.7 miles (10.8K), Eagle Rock Loop, Short Segment: 6.5 miles (10.5K) Eagle Rock Loop, Long Segment: 8.0 miles (12.9K)
Rating: Easy to Moderate
Recommended Season: Winter through early spring, depending on weather conditions
Trailhead Location: 7480 feet. (2280m) 6 miles north of Parks on FR 141.
Access: Go east from Williams on I-40 about 14.5 miles to Parks (Freeway exit #178). Cross over the interstate (north) to the 'T' intersection and turn left. At the Parks Country Store, turn right onto FR 141. Go north from Parks for 6 miles on FR 141; watch for signs on your left.
Elevation: 7480+ feet (2280m)
Road Conditions: Paved and cinder-surfaced road, plowed all winter and suitable for sedans
USGS Map(s): Parks (Map of trail available at Chalender Ranger Station)
Attractions: The Spring Valley Cross-Country Ski Trail consists of three possible loops. The R.S. Hill Loop is designed to be relatively easy and is an excellent trail for the beginner. The Eagle Rock Loop has two possible options, which account for the other two loops. The shorter option returns via the R.S. Hill Loop section that lies south of R.S. Hill. The longer option continues around the north of R.S. Hill on the R.S. Hill Loop.
Cross Country Skiing: Several locations in the Williams area are suitable for cross-country skiing. Primitive roads become excellent ski trails, offering a wide track and moderate grades for the skier to traverse easily. Hiking trails are not recommended for skiing.
Some of the more popular undeveloped areas are Sevier Flat, Barney Flat, and the White Horse Lake Area.
Forest Roads 173, 110, and 109 are plowed in the winter and suitable for sedans.
Alpine Skiing: The Williams District has a small downhill skiing facility located on the north side of Bill Williams Mountain, about 5 miles south of Williams, Arizona. This area is very attractive to beginning and novice skiers because of the gentle slopes and short lift lines. It also offers visitors a nice view of the valley north of Williams.
Access: In Williams, turn south on 4th Street (CR 73 the County Rd 73) and go about 2.5 miles to Forest Road 106; turn right on FR 106 and follow to the ski area at the end of the road.
Road Condition: Paved and cinder-surfaced road; it is plowed suitable for sedans when ski area is open. Use caution when driving in the winter. Chains or snow tires may be required.
Recommended Season: In the average winter, the ski season starts about the middle of December and lasts until the end of March.
Elevation: 8100 to 8450 feet.
Facilities: 12 acres of ski slopes. Beginner slopes3.5 acres. Intermediate slopes7.5 acres. Advanced slopes1 acre. 700-foot slope length. Capacity for 100 skiers at one time. One Poma lift with 350-foot vertical rise. One rope tow. About one acre of parking. Rudimentary base lodge facilities with ski rentals.
The Oak Hill is located on the site of an old Alpine ski area (operated during the 1940's and 1950's). There are three separate runs; one reserved for skiing and the other two for tubing.
Location: The Oak Hill Snow Play Area is located about 10 miles east of Williams on Route 66.
Access #1: From Williams, go about 8 miles east on I-40 to the Pitman Valley exit. After exiting, turn left to cross over the freeway and then immediately turn to the right (east) onto Old Route 66; go about 2 miles to the snow play area on your right (watch for signs).
Access #2: From Flagstaff, take I-40 west 16 miles to the Parks Exit (#178). Turn right and go to Old Route 66 (Forest Road 146). Turn left on to Old Route 66 and continue 4 miles to the Oak Hill Snow Play Area.
Elevation: 7100 feet
Road Conditions: Paved road, plowed all winter and suitable for sedans
The ski run is about 900 feet long and is a good slope for beginners to practice and improve their skills. However, there is no ski lift or tow. The middle tubing run is about 400 ft. long. This run has not received much use in the past and it has not been improved. The other tubing run is around 800 feet long, and has been developed with an embankment at its lower end to keep tubers within the safe track. In 1986, the open area at the foot of the run was enlarged and several trees were removed to reduce the possibility of tubers being injured by colliding with them. On the other hand, snow tends to melt in this area before other places on the run anyway, so be prepared. There is a warming shelter at the bottom of the hill with a fire circle. Toilet facilities are available.
A cross-country ski trail to Keyhole Sink begins on the north side of historic Route 66, across from the Oak Hill Play Area parking lot. The two-mile round trip trail is marked with blue triangles. A parking area for 20 cars is located just off Old Route 66.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication