Springs of the Rio de Flag Watershed

Flagstaff’s history is closely associated with its springs. Leroux Springs saved the 1851 Sitgreaves expedition from disaster and brought the Beale Road and settlement to the area. Flagstaff’s original townsite was located at Antelope, a.k.a. Old Town Spring.

Historian and retired Coconino NF civil engineer Shannon Clark has provided precise directions to ten of the best springs in the Rio de Flag watershed. Their locations are all on this Google Map.

Here are travel directions to each of the springs:

All routes suitable for passenger cars except where noted

Antelope/Old Town Spring (N35° 11.832′, W111° 39.577′)
Located At Old Town Springs City Park, 913 W. Lower Coconino Ave, at the base of Mars Hill.

San Francisco Spring (N35° 14.090′  W111° 39.799′)
Located at the Thomas McMillan Homestead house on Ft Valley Rd, opposite the Museum of No. Arizona. The spring is in the clump of willow trees in front of the house. Best place to see the water flow is at the culvert outlet on the west side of Ft Valley Rd at the south end of the Museum’s graveled bus parking lot.

Chimney Spring (N35° 15.821′  W111° 40.503′) High clearance vehicle needed
Travel north on Hwy 180 to milepost 220.2, turn left onto paved Forest Rd 164-B, go 0.1 mi and turn right onto FR 164-B, go 0.6 mi to the cattle guard and turn right onto FR 9002, go 0.8 mi and look for a wire fence enclosure on the east side of the road near an”All Campfires Prohibited” sign. Look inside the wire fence for a small concrete spring box surrounded by a wood rail fence in the bottom of the gully.

Big Leroux Spring (N35° 17.594′  W111° 43.494′) and Little Leroux Spring (N35° 17.242′  W111° 42.898′)
Travel north on Hwy 180 about 7 miles from Flagstaff to milepost 222.9, turn right onto Snowbowl Rd. Go 1.1 miles and park at the graveled turnout on your left at the first curve in the road. Walk north on the graveled road, over the fence crossing and proceed another ¼ mile to a road junction. The road going to the right (east) leads ¼ mile to Little Leroux Spr; the road ends at the buried concrete water tank, a small log cabin ruin in the drainage on the left, and the spring box about 100’ feet above the cabin. Backtrack to the road junction and walk north on the primitive road another ¼ mile where it veers left (west) along the top of the meadow. Proceed another ¼ mile, passing through a gate, until you come to the mouth of a canyon on your right. The buildings down below are the Hotshot Ranch, please do not disturb. Continue on the road up the canyon another ¼ mile until you come upon a concrete water trough in a small meadow. Big Leroux Spr is 200 yards up the left (west) side of the canyon inside a wire fence enclosure.

Veit Spring (N35° 18.389′  W111° 42.770′)
Travel north on Hwy 180 about 7 miles from Flagstaff to milepost 222.9, turn right onto Snowbowl Rd. Go approximately 4.5 miles to a sharp curve in the road and park at the graveled turnout on your right. An informational sign at the fence behind the parking area has a map and information about the spring and Lamar Haines Wildlife Area. Walk the primitive road about ¾ mile to the spring, pond and cabin ruin. Look for a name etched in the big boulder about 20’ uphill from the cabin doorway.

Taylor Spring (N35° 17.171′  W111° 44.728′)
Travel north on Hwy 180 about 8 miles from Flagstaff to milepost 223.9, turn right (north) on Roundtree Rd. Go 1.2 miles until the graded road ends and becomes a primitive road, continue north another 0.1 mi and park at the gas line fence. Walk through the fence gate and turn left (west), go about ¼ mi west along the gas line and look for a primitive road intersection with a small brown sign “Stage Line Trail”. Go up this road heading NW about ¼ mile until you see the concrete spring box and drinking trough. A large and interesting sinkhole lies another ¼ mile NW of the springbox.

Little Spring (N35° 22.478′  W111° 43.519′)
Travel north on Hwy 180 about 10 miles from Flagstaff to milepost 225.8 and turn right onto Hart Prairie Rd #151. Go approximately 7.5 mi north on FR 151 to the junction with FR 418-B and a sign indicating Little Spr. Park at the junction (high clearance cars can proceed another ¼ mile to the gate) and walk up FR 418-B about ½ mile to the spring and pond near the top of the meadow, a little bit off the right (south) side of the road. Look for the Merriam base camp plaque in the meadow near the spring.

Elden Spring (N35° 13.636′,  W111° 36.018′)
Travel to the Peace Lutheran Church on the corner of N. 4th St and Appalachian Ave. The Forces of Nature Trailhead is located at the NE corner of the rear church parking lot. Take this trail east approx. ¾ mile and look for the signs pointing out Elden Spring, Homestead site, and Grave.

Turkey Tanks Spring (N35° 15.101′  W111° 23.959′) High clearance vehicle recommended last ¼ mile.
From the junction of Townsend/Winona Rd and Leupp Rd, go 2 miles on Leupp Rd to the Flagstaff Auto Recyclers on your right, continue another 0.5 miles and turn right at a wire gate in the fence. Continue on the Forest road approx. 0.5 miles and park where the road is blocked at the power line. A trail heading east starts at the power line and leads towards San Francisco Wash. About 0.3 miles down the trail is a small rock dam, the Turkey Tanks are the permanent pools of water in the channel downstream of the dam. Continue walking downstream and look for pictographs in several locations on the north side of the stream channel walls until you reach the Cosnino Caves ruins after ½ mile.

O’Neill Spring (N35° 6.031′  W111° 41.239′)
Travel south on I-17 to the Kachina Village exit #333, turn right (west) at the end of the off ramp, then take the first right onto Tovar Trail. Go approx. 1.2 miles and turn left onto Tolani Trail. Go 1 block and cross Kiva Place, continue another 0.1 mile and park where Tolani Trail crosses a small drainage channel. Take the trail heading down the channel approx. 0.15 mile to the spring located in the clump of willows. The trail continues further down into the meadow to the old pumphouse.