Page Springs And Bubbling Ponds
After Visiting The Fish, Enjoy Gorgeous Hiking Trails
May 15, 2014
Page Springs Fish Hatchery is a wonderful destination for a day trip - that's right, the Fish Hatchery is a destination! For starters, it's free. Kids will love it because there is a trail that meanders along the creek, plus there is a picnic area where you can have some lunch and something cool to drink while the kids look at all the fish in the tanks.
Speaking of kids, be sure to bring some quarters so the kids can feed the big trout in the show pond. It's even fun for grown-ups - get a quarter's worth of fish chow from the machine and have fun watching the enormous trout come up to grab it. They are definitely not shy.
See How trout Are Raised
There is ample parking at the Hatchery, and a small exhibit building where you can learn about the area and the hatchery and see replicas of Arizona's state-record fish. Then you're free to wander around in a self-guided tour that allows you access to some of the fish tanks, where you can see how the trout are raised.
The PSH Trail is a gentle loop that winds around the old pond locations and follows the creek for a good little bit. It's a beautiful trail that keeps to the shade for the most part, and it's a famous spot for bird watchers. Bring your camera and your binoculars.
Nice Trail At Bubbling Springs
Less than half a mile down the road is Bubbling Ponds Hatchery, and there is a very nice trail there, too. In fact, you can walk from one area to the other - in total, the trails only come to about a mile and half, and all of it is nice and smooth. It's more of a walk than a hike, actually, but still really cool because of the way the trees and shrubs bend over to form a tunnel over parts of the trail.
This is another really good birding area, but neither place is crowded most of the time. When we were there in spring we only saw one other group - a family with small kids who were having a blast playing on the trails and looking at the ducks and fish.
The Hatchery is open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving. There is no camping, but you can find plenty down the road at Dead Horse Ranch State Park (more about that next month!).
To get to the Hatchery, you take Page Springs Road off highway 89A or the Cornville Road. If you're not going to picnic at the hatchery, you've got to try the Manzanita Restaurant in Cornville. They've got the most delicious German food, and they are even vegan-friendly! They are on the list of the 101 greatest places to eat in Arizona, and it's easy to see why. Check them out on themanzanitarestaurant.com.
Colorful Beauty At Red Rock State Park
North of the Hatchery is Red Rock State Park, which also offers many nice hiking trails. There is a visitor center with a gift shop and a theater where you can see a beautiful film about Arizona.
The turn-off to the park is north of Page Springs Road off 89A. At 10 a.m. each day, there is a guided hike that takes about an hour and a half to two hours, and at 2 p.m. there is an activity with a ranger or a guest speaker that may be inside or outside, and lasts about 45 minutes.
There's a great trail that loops around from the visitor center down to the creek then back again. It's wide and smooth and you'll get to see gorgeous red-rock formations, water, and a couple of cool bridges. Red Rock State Park is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., with the last entry at 4:30 p.m.
Get There Early
The Visitor Center is open 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily. No pets are allowed in the park. Entry fees are $5 for 14+, $3 for 7-13, and children 6 and under are free.
Get there early if you want to hike some of the trails that lead to higher views. There are five miles of interconnecting trails and you can download and print a map at http://azstateparks.com/Parks/RERO/index.html.