Viewing Platform

Learn About Local Habitats!

platform3Viewing platform by Geoffrey Gross 

What is a habitat? For a plant, it's the right amount of moisture, level of exposure to sunlight and wind, temperature both day and night, and type of soil. For an animal, a good habitat provides water and the kinds of food and shelter it needs. 

IMG_3941IMG_3940Frame and platform by Geoffrey Gross 

The Flagstaff area enjoys late summer rains and snowy winters, but the climate here is usually sunny and dry. Flagstaff's rugged landforms also create many microclimates, from cool, north-facing slopes to shady canyons to sunny, south-facing slopes like the one at your feet. Each microclimate supports its own community of plants and animals. Learn more at

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Look around! You're on a bluff of dark basalt, which flowed here as lava from Dry Lake Volcano. Across Sinclair Wash looms a wall of ancient Kaibab Limestone. These rocks weather into different soils, which influence which plants will thrive in a given place. Click to read the Geology of Flagstaff and Geologic History of Rio de Flag by Richard Holm. Cover-Geology-of-Flagstaff-and-Geologic-History-of-Rio-de-Flag  A geologic trail guide to Sinclair Wash begins on page 35.

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Willow Bend is an Arizona Watchable Wildlife Experience 


During the day, you might see a lizard basking in the sun or maybe a chipmunk, rock squirrel, or golden-mantled ground squirrel scampering in the gardens. Cottontail rabbits, mule deer, and bobcats visit around dawn and dusk. Bats, deer mice, packrats, striped skunks, gray foxes, and raccoons are active here at night. In spring and summer, you'll hear songbirds and see butterflies!

Does a plant or animal catch your eye? To identify it, use family-friendly Seek on your smartphone Or use iNaturalist to help identify what you see, upload your observations, receive confirmations of what you've seen, and contribute to international science databases.inaturalist Opens in new window

The convergence of different habitats here results in a considerable diversity of birds. To identify birds by sight or song, use Merlin.  Willow Bend is an eBird hot spot.



 platform1Geoffrey Gross using molds made from wildlife tracks he found in the wild.

platform2Raccoon skull and tracks - Art by Geoffrey Gross