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Happy Jack Lifestyle

Where is Happy Jack?

Happy Jack, Arizona is a small unincorporated community located in Coconino County, in the northern part of the state. Situated at an elevation of around 7,000 feet (2,100 meters), Happy Jack is nestled within the Coconino National Forest, surrounded by a lush and picturesque natural environment. The community itself is relatively small, with a small number of permanent residents and a mix of primary residences, vacation homes, and cabins. It has a close-knit and welcoming atmosphere, attracting people who appreciate the tranquility and beauty of the surrounding wilderness.

The landscape around Happy Jack is characterized by dense pine forests, meadows, and the nearby Mogollon Rim. The Mogollon Rim is a prominent geological feature, forming a steep cliff that overlooks the expansive views of the forested valleys below. It provides a stunning backdrop and offers opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration. Outdoor recreational opportunities abound in Happy Jack and its surrounding areas. The Coconino National Forest offers numerous trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy the peaceful serenity of the forest. Wildlife enthusiasts can observe a variety of animals, including deer, elk, birds, and occasionally even black bears.

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Water Activites

Happy Jack is also known for its fishing and water activities. There are nearby lakes, such as Blue Ridge Reservoir, where visitors can fish for trout or enjoy boating and kayaking. The region's rivers and streams, such as East Clear Creek, offer additional fishing opportunities and scenic beauty.

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Happy Jack History

Happy Jack, located in northern Arizona, has a rich history that dates back to the early days of the state. Originally known as Long Valley, it served as an important passage over the Mogollon Rim, connecting Winslow to Strawberry, Pine, Payson, and the Phoenix area. The area was home to the Long Valley Ranger Station, established by the forest service in the early 1900s. During the winter months, when most residents left the area, the Fuller family remained at the ranger station. In the early 20th century, the Hoke family opened a gas station and grocery store in Long Valley, which became the main water supply for locals and travelers passing through. In the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, the logging industry became prominent in Arizona, centered around Williams, the Grand Canyon, and Flagstaff. As the demand for lumber increased, logging operations expanded to Barney Pasture, Mormon Lake, and Sheep Springs. Due to the challenging road conditions, logging camps and portable housing were established, allowing families to stay during the working months. An unused railroad was also revived to transport the logs from the camps to Flagstaff. During the 1940s, Long Valley became a popular gathering place for weekend rodeos and dances, organized by the Fuller family on their ranch. This tradition continued for approximately 30 years. In 1947, Southwest Forest Industries established a permanent logging camp in the area, which was named Happy Jack. The camp was equipped with a deep well drilled near a natural spring, ensuring a reliable water supply. The origin of the name "Happy Jack" is uncertain, with possibilities including a reference to lumberjacks or a cheerful individual named Jack among the employees. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the decision was made to relocate Long Valley to Happy Jack, as the forest service personnel worked closely with the logging industry. Consequently, the forest service station and the logging camp shared the same site, with a Happy Jack mailing address. Over time, the Long Valley Ranger Station became known as the Happy Jack Ranger Station. In 1994, the property underwent a transformation when it was purchased and converted into Happy Jack Lodge & RV. This picturesque RV park nestled in the cool pines of northern Arizona offers cabin rooms for rent, a restaurant/steakhouse, a small general store, and various amenities for visitors to enjoy.

Getting Here

To reach Happy Jack, Arizona, embark on a scenic journey through the captivating landscapes of Arizona:

From Flagstaff: Set off on an eastbound adventure along Interstate 40, immersing yourself in the majestic surroundings. Take Exit 195 for AZ-87 South, and as you merge onto AZ-87, get ready for a picturesque drive amidst pine forests and serene vistas. Traverse approximately 50 miles (80 km) along AZ-87, reveling in the natural beauty, until you arrive at the tranquil haven of Happy Jack.

From Phoenix: Embark on a memorable northbound expedition along Interstate 17, leaving behind the urban landscape and embracing the captivating transition to nature's embrace. Take Exit 287 for AZ-260 East, and as you venture onto AZ-260, you'll be enchanted by scenic landscapes and winding roads. Continue for about 70 miles (113 km) until you reach the junction with AZ-87. Embark on AZ-87 North, relishing in the captivating views, as you journey for about 15 miles (24 km) to reach the charming destination of Happy Jack.

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