Arizona’s highest mountain soars out of the Coconino National Forest and the hiking trail that leads to its summit passes by tundra, wildflowers and volcanic peaks.
Scan the horizon from Flagstaff and you’re sure to see the rugged summit of Humphreys Peak dominating the mountainous skyline. The 12,637-foot (3,852-meter) mountain is the tallest of a ring of extinct volcanoes known as the San Francisco Peaks. Explore the network of hiking trails and picnic sites in the Kachina Peaks Wilderness at the base of the mountain or take on the challenge of climbing to the summit.
If you have some hiking experience, don’t miss the chance to summit the tallest mountain in the state. The most popular route is the Humphreys Peak Trail, a 5.5-mile (8.8-kilometer) trek beginning in the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort. The trail passes through diverse terrain before reaching the magnificent peak. Make your way up gentle inclines and through wooded passes filled with spring wildflowers as you work your way up the mountain. Once you climb above the treeline, you’ll reach a unique landscape of Arizonan tundra before making the final scramble to the peak. Pass by three false summits before reaching the true summit and its breathtaking outlook across the region.
To the north, look for the northern edge of the Grand Canyon and the White Mountains to the east. Look south to see Phoenix’s desert mountains. Take a moment to have a well-earned rest, enjoy the remarkable views and snap photographs.
An alternative route can be taken along the much longer Weatherford Trail. Shorten this trail by camping at Locket Meadow and linking up via a network of old forest roads. More camping sites can be found at Hart’s Prairie.
The best time to climb Humphreys Peak is between June and October. Be prepared for monsoons between July and September. Be wary of changes to the weather, as lightning strikes can be extremely dangerous on this mountain peak. Pack plenty of water and snacks for your journey. The main Humphreys Peak trailhead is located nearby a parking lot below the ski fields of Arizona Snowbowl, approximately 14 miles (22.5 kilometers) from Flagstaff. Allow 7 hours to complete the round trip from Arizona Snowbowl.