When most people think of Arizona forests, aspen trees and lush greenery don’t come to mind. However, Better Place Forests Flagstaff offers more mountain views, wildflowers, and ponderosa pines than cactus. In this beautiful Flagstaff forest, you’ll experience a bounty of spring wildflowers, stunning summer sunsets, and views of Arizona’s tallest peaks. This forest oasis is a picturesque place to spend eternity with those you love — while protecting the planet for future generations. Coming up on June 19th we’re excited to begin welcoming families to the Flagstaff forest for in-person forest tours.
Our Flagstaff forest offers three distinct sections to choose a memorial tree from. Read below — or schedule an online forest tour — to learn if Sunset Meadowview, Goldenleaf Grove or Ponderosa Ridge is right for you.
The sun sets over the surrounding peaks in Sunset Meadowview
Located at the edge of the foothills, Sunset Meadowview offers expansive meadow views of the entire forest. Here you can savor a front-row seat to daily sunsets that paint the neighboring mountains colors of yellow and purple — while wildflowers like larkspur, lupine, rock mountain iris bloom underfoot. This breathtaking section is ideal for butterfly and bird-watching, as well as the occasional wildlife spotting. It’s not rare to see a bluebird, deer, wild turkey, swallowtail, or the occasional elk meandering through the meadow.
The Sunset Meadowview offers the most diverse mix of tree species in the forest. Choose between charismatic ponderosa pines, resilient white pines, and stately douglas firs. This section is the most accessible — with just a quick walk or drive on the mobility quad from the parking area.
The Sunset Meadowview section is perfect for those who love views of mountain peaks and solitude.
Aspen leaves twirl above the forest floor in Goldenleaf Grove
A quick walk from the parking area, Goldenleaf Grove is home to the most majestic and breathtaking quaking aspens in the forest. Quaking aspens epitomize magnificence — from their heart-shaped, golden leaves to the ancient wisdom contained in their legendary lifespans. Quaking aspens are among the world’s oldest living organisms. From just one seed, a giant root system can live for 8,000 years.
Aspen groves are a favorite hangout for wildlife, who eat the aspen sprouts and hide under the canopy for cover and shade. This section is alive with the unique sounds of trembling aspen leaves and bird songs from bluebirds, flickers, and chickadees who nest in the trees. The lush understory in this area is a rare find in Arizona forests, as it typically only grows at higher elevations where summers are cool and moist.
If you want a final resting place deep in the forest, amongst majestic and ancient trees, the Goldenleaf Grove is your ideal forest section.
Trees tower above the forest floor in Ponderosa Ridge
Tucked away in a remote area of the forest, the Ponderosa Ridge sits on a hilltop above the meadow. Flagstaff forests are well-known for being home to the largest pure stand of ponderosa pine in the country — and Ponderosa Ridge features a towering grove of ponderosa pine trees that is worthy of this prestige. Noble and charismatic, the rugged ponderosa pine trees stand guard over the forest and can live 400 to 600 years. These trees are known for their welcoming aroma which smells like a mix of vanilla and butterscotch.
Ponderosa Ridge is home to the local Abert’s squirrel, which has a symbiotic relationship with the ponderosa pine trees. These squirrels dig up truffles at the trees’ roots and spread the spores through the forest, making the nutrients in the soil available to the pines. They also use these trees for nesting, food, and protection — and can even be spotted jumping from tree to tree using the interlocking branches of the pines.
For those looking for a private section a short walk away from the parking area, the Ponderosa Ridge section will appeal to you.
We’re excited to welcome families to the Flagstaff forest on June 19th. Schedule a free online forest tour by June 30, 2021, to receive 10% off your memorial tree.