Originally built to provide access for forest firefighters to Oak Creek Canyon’s wooded slopes, Cookstove Trail now offers nature lovers a scenic route to the canyon rim. The trail starts from the north end of Pine Flat Campground and immediately begins switchbacking up the steep slope of the canyon’s east wall. It climbs through an area forested with stands of mixed conifers, Gambel Oaks and both Utah and alligator junipers. The trees part at a number of points along the trail offering good views of the buff- colored cliffs of Coconino Sandstone and the remnants of an old volcano across Oak Creek. There are also some good views of the Route 89A switchbacks that lead into the canyon.
At the top of the climb, an outcrop of volcanic basalt provides a lunch stop where you can enjoy the view before heading back down the trail or continuing south along the canyon rim to the Harding Springs Trail for an alternate descent back to the highway.