Pumphouse County Natural Area
OverviewPumphouse County Natural Area is a 128-acre natural area that includes a spring-fed wetland, one of the rarest wildlife habitats in Arizona. This area forms the headwaters of Oak Creek, a major tributary of the Verde River, one of the desert's last free-flowing rivers.
Travel I-17 and exit 333 (Kachina Village & Mountainaire) five miles south of Flagstaff, and turn west. Raymond County Park is on the right. The natural area meanders through Kachina Village, extending to Harrenburg Wash near Kachina Village Utility on Jadito Trail.
Directions and Parking
Visitors should park at nearby Raymond County Park. Access the parking lot at Tovar Trail just off the I-17 traffic interchange at Kachina Village. Please avoid parking along local roads as this causes congestion and threatens the safety of pedestrians and drivers.
Ecological and Cultural Overview
One of the rarest wildlife habitats in Arizona, this 128-acre natural area is a spring-fed wetland with higher biological activity than the surrounding landscape. It attracts a wide variety of wildlife, including elk, fox, deer, waterfowl, wading birds, migratory birds, wintering bald eagles, elk, garter snakes, songbirds, and small mammals.
The wet meadow and washes of Pumphouse drainage form the headwaters of Oak Creek, a major tributary of the Verde River. When debris gets into the water along the natural area-dog poop, motor oil, or cinders from road maintenance, for example-it ends up affecting fish, birds, snakes, and mammals that rely on the Verde River corridor for habitat.
The hills and springs that ring Pumphouse County Natural Area were once a camping and hunting area for Apaches coming and going out of the Verde Valley to Dzil Cho (the San Francisco Peaks) and to Hopi to trade. The Apache place name for the area translates as Place of Many Springs. Their signature on the landscape is invisible even though they used the area over several centuries.
Experience Watchable Wildlife
Pumphouse County Natural Area is one of 30 wildlife viewing sites within 30 miles of Flagstaff. Visit Arizona Watchable Wildlife Experience to plan your visit and to find other watchable wildlife sites in northern Arizona.
View Kachina Wetlands Checklist of Birds provided by Northern Arizona Audubon Society.
Pumphouse Nature Trail
Hike the Pumphouse Nature Trail, an easy ¾-mile round-trip trail with wildlife viewing blinds, stone benches and educational displays. Along Pumphouse Wash Nature Trail, visitors may encounter western and mountain bluebirds, blue grosbeak, broad-tailed hummingbird, belted kingfisher, flycatchers, phoebes, five different species of swallows and the occasional Lewis's woodpecker.
Visitors are encouraged to participate in protecting wildlife and their habitat by leashing dogs and enjoying the wetland from dry ground. There are wildlife viewing platforms at adjacent Raymond County Park, located above the wet meadow to help visitors enjoy and protect Pumphouse Natural Area at the same time. Here's what you can do to help:
- Walk on the brown, stay out of the green. Wetlands are fragile habitats and their wild inhabitants are easily disturbed by unexpected human activities. Enjoy the wetland from a sloped area above it. Avoid walking in the wetland unless you are part of a tour guided by park staff.
- Practice Leave no Trace principles when you walk or ride a bike or horse along the wetland's trails. Pack out fruit peels, power bar wrappers, water bottles, and pet feces.
- Put your dog visitor on a leash. Other park visitors appreciate your effort to protect them, their children, and their dogs. Moreover, Kachina residents will appreciate your courtesy toward the wildlife they are so fond of.
Becoming a Natural Area
The wet meadow that is Pumphouse Greenway's signature viewshed was purchased with funds from the County Parks and Open Space Program (CPOS). The greenway idea originated with a community planning committee and was developed into a conceptual plan by a Northern Arizona University (NAU) Parks and Recreation Management class in 2001. In 2007, an NAU class in Ecological Restoration Applications researched and wrote an Assessment of the Kachina Village Wetlands Conservation Area.