Priest Draw in Coconino
National Forest, Camping
in Arizona Picture Tour

Priest Draw is a small and shallow canyon about 7 miles south of Flagstaff, Arizona. What makes this canyon unique is that it allows you to get up close and personal to the beautiful limestone rock of the Kaibab Formation. You’ll find this same layer of limestone throughout Northern Arizona; however it usually isn’t so accessible.

The Kaibab Formation was formed around 250 million years ago in a shallow sea at a time when Arizona had beach front views. This formation also makes up the top layer of the Grand Canyon. You can also find a fine example of this rock layer at Walnut Canyon National Monument. At Priest Draw, you’ll see where softer layers of limestone have eroded away leaving overhanging rock and shallow caves. The blending of dark grey and white rock here creates stunning visuals, as do the smooth “pockets” of eroded rock on the surface.

The rock formations at Priest Draw have made the area popular for bouldering - a style of rock climbing where no rope is used and “crash pads” are placed below to soften a fall. The pockets in the overhanging rock make great handholds and footholds making it possible to rock climb while hanging upside down.

There is an easy trail through the draw. Easy, as the draw bottom is a meadow and mostly flat. No motorized vehicles are allowed in the draw. Hike in camping is allowed…however, this is a sensitive area so practice stealth camping: before you leave, make it appear you never arrived. Remove all traces of trash, camping equipment, campfires, etc. 

Click on picture to see larger version and start tour
Picture of the Priest Draw Trailhead south of Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of the Priest Draw Meadow South of Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Priest Draw with Limestone of the Kaibab Formation near Flagstaff, AZ Picture of Priest Draw and Limestone of the Kaibab Formation near Flagstaff, AZ
Picture of the Priest Draw Trail near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of the Beautiful Limestone Rock at Priest Draw near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Priest Draw near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Priest Draw Limestone near Flagstaff, Arizona
Picture of Priest Draw Limestone Rock near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Beautiful Limestone Rock at Priest Draw near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of RV Camping near Priest Draw South of Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Priest Draw and Limestone Rock near Flagstaff, Arizona
Picture of Coconino National Forest Road 700H near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Asclepias asperula Flowers (Spider Milkweed) near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Spider Milkweed Flowers (Asclepias asperula) near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Storm Clouds During Arizona Monsoon Season near Flagstaff, Arizona
Picture of Coulter Park and The Forest Meadow South of Flagstaff, Arizona Picture From a Hill In The Coconino National Forest, Arizona Near Flagstaff Picture of a Coconino National Forest Road south of Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Allium bisceptrum Flowers (Twincrest Onion) near Flagstaff, Arizona
Picture of Convolvulus arvensis Flower (Field Bindweed) near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Coulter Hill South of Flagstaff and South of Priest Draw, Arizona Picture from Coulter Hill of Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Coulter Park, Arizona Near Flagstaff and South of Priest Draw
Picture of Coconino National Forest from Coulter Hill near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Oak Creek Canyon From Coulter Hill South of Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Echinocereus triglochidiatus Flowers (Claret Cup Cactus) in Arizona Picture of Coulter Park, Arizona and Its Forest Meadow near Flagstaff
Picture of RV Camping near Priest Draw south of Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Tragopogon dubius Flower (Goats Beard Plant) near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Coconino National Forest Road 236 south of Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of an Arizona Forest Sunset near Flagstaff, Arizona
Picture of a Forest Sunset near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of a Hedgehog Cactus at 7,000 Feet Near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Arizona Fuzzy Plants near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of James Canyon, AZ in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff
Picture of a Escobaria vivipara Cactus Flower (Ball Cactus) near Flagstaff, AZ Picture of Ball Cactus near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Arizona Monsoon Season Near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of Ponderosa Pine Bark near Flagstaff, Arizona, Coconino National Forest
Picture of RV Boondocking with Louver Windows near Flagstaff, Arizona Picture of a Pine Sunset in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, Arizona    

Priest Draw is situated in a beautiful section of the Coconino National Forest…and a forest it is! Tall ponderosa pines dominate the landscape. Up here at 7,000 feet, it’s mighty refreshing too, especially if you’re coming from the Phoenix furnace. There are plenty of places to explore nearby. A multitude of National Forest Roads cover the area, making it easy to get just about anywhere. East of Priest Draw is Anderson Mesa with its many picturesque lakes such as Lake Mary, Mormon Lake, and Ashurst Lake.

Priest Draw Camping: Several free RV camping, tent camping, and car camping sites are in this area. Campsites can be found to the east off of National Forest Road 132, accessible via Lake Mary Road - and to the west along National Forest Road 700, accessible via I-17 exit 333 and 331. You’ll find campsites deep within the ponderosa pines, and others on the edge of serene forest meadows.

Directions to Priest Draw: There are two trailheads. The east trailhead sees the most use and has a good sized parking lot. The west trailhead is best for those with a high clearance vehicle as the national forest road leading to it can be a bit rough.

GPS Coordinates:
East Trailhead: 35° 4.894'N, 111° 36.052'W
West Trailhead: 35° 4.663'N, 111° 37.421'W

Here is a map of the route to the east trailhead from Flagstaff:


View Larger Map

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