Walker Hill, Flagstaff, Arizona | Camping

Government Prairie

Walker Hill is in northern Arizona northwest of Flagstaff and north of Bellemont. It sits at the western edge of the Coconino National Forest and almost directly on the boundary with the Kaibab National Forest. There’s nothing particularly special about Walker Hill, other than the fact that this area, and the national forest along Forest Road 171, has several lovely campsites with much to see and do nearby.

The Walker Hill area makes a terrific base camp for exploring what’s in the neighborhood. Must see hotspots include Lava River Cave, Wild Bill Hill, and Government Prairie. Don’t forget your camera, because the views of San Francisco Mountain and Kendrick Mountain just add icing to the cake.

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Where in The World?

RV campsites are plentiful here along Forest Road 171 north of Bellemont near Flagstaff, Arizona.

Camping Elevation: 7,300 feet

GPS Coordinates: 35.242632208870354, -111.83460641287488

Directions to Camping Area: From Flagstaff, Arizona take I-40 west to exit 185, which is north of the Navajo Army Depot. After exiting, take a right, then a quick left on Brannigan Park Road / FR 171. Continue about 3/4 mile then turn right onto FR 171. You will find many campsites up this road and along forest roads that branch from FR 171. Walker Hill itself is 2 1/2 miles up FR 171 and of the left (west).

Forest Road 171 Area Map

Walker Hill RV Camping Journal

June 14, 2012

This campsite is set back a bit from FR 171, making it less dusty than some spots that are closer to the main road; and it’s far enough from I-40 making it less noisy.

I’m camped within ponderosa pine forest and right up next to the trees. Thankfully I still receive enough light so my solar panel can charge the batteries. It’s more open here than in other parts of the forest. There’s lots more grass too; it’s part forest and part meadow. There are more camping spots further up the road – some are more open still and with better views.

As of this writing Forest Road 171 is extremely washboard and it’s best to take it slow, especially with an RV.

Recreation: There are plenty of places to explore here. Lava River Cave is a must do! I hiked up nearby Walker Hill, and further up the road, Wild Bill Hill. There are excellent views from Wild Bill Hill and some neat looking hoodoos. I also biked across Government Prairie…now this is a must-see! It’s a huge prairie with grassy hills, forested hills, and superb views in every direction. Kendrick Mountain and San Francisco Mountain are easily visible here. Cross country hiking is easy everywhere. There are several primitive forest roads to explore on mountain bike.

Wild Bill Hill Hike Directions: Take FR 171 north to FR 156 and turn left. After about 2 miles you reach a T-intersection; turn left and go through the gate. Follow the road and take the 1st left that goes around the mountain. You’ll see another track to the left, with the trailhead sign.

Weather: It’s mid June and it gets a bit chilly at night here. It’s been down into the 30s every night. It’s colder here than in Flagstaff and other spots I’ve camped at near town. However, the days have been perfect and in the 70s, perhaps 80 on a few days. I’ve had plenty of sun and only a few clouds on a couple days. A few days have been windy, but the forest really blocks much of that wind so it’s mostly in the treetops. No rain has fallen.

Wildlife: I haven’t seen any deer or elk, though I do see tracks along this minor forest road. I’ve seen rabbits, squirrels, many different birds including robins, ravens, and hummingbirds, and lizards (some mountain short horned lizards).

Privacy: The small road I’m camped along only sees a car every 3 days or so, mainly on weekends. This road doesn’t go anywhere, so no real traffic.

Cell Signal: My Verizon cell phone signal is great. Verizon mobile broadband internet works excellent. It’s much faster here than to the west near Williams and Ash Fork. I’m not getting full bars, but watching videos is still possible. I have been using the external antenna placed on my RV roof.

RV Campsite Rating: 9 out of 10. There is much to do here and it’s a spectacular area for camping.

Sycamore Canyon, Government Prairie, Wild Bill Hill Video Slideshow

Government Prairie

Lava River Cave Video Slideshow

Exploring Lava River Cave

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