Humphrey’s Trail will lead you to the tallest destination point in all of Arizona. Once you reach the end of the trail on Humphreys Peak, in Flagstaff you will be standing 12,633 feet in the air. I’ve attempted to hike this summit three times and due to unforeseen circumstances I still have not made it up to the top.
The trail begins in a breathtaking and calm meadow. You’ll walk past tall bright green grass and wildflowers beaming with purple, yellow and orange colors spotted within the meadow. All around you see over-sized pine trees and the mountains in the background. It’s breathtaking. Even if you don’t want to do the hike, you should at least go and walk thru the meadow. It’s a beautiful experience you won’t forget.
After walking on the flat ground in the meadow you then will enter the forest. It feels like you’re stepping into another world. The openness of the meadow is gone and now you are in the forest surrounded and shaded by these over-sized pine trees. You can hear the birds chirping in the branches high above your head and as you walk it’s an overwhelming feeling of beauty. With every step I took, I found something new and beautiful that I wanted to take a picture of. I wanted to capture and hold on to every moment.
Upon entering the forest you will hike for about a mile before coming across the sign-in sheet for ascending to the summit. The deeper you go on this trail, the more you notice it will go from dark dense forest to open meadow areas and back to dark dense forest. It is a lot of switchbacks but as you are ascending you’ll notice that the switchbacks become steeper and steeper.
This trail has great volunteer workers as well. They are there to assure that all the hikers are feeling alright and have enough water. This mountain is dangerous because if you are not used to the elevation you can get elevation sickness. These volunteers are friendly and are very knowledge in answering any questions you may have.
This mountain has a numerous amounts of “false summits” meaning that you think you reaching the summit, but in reality you are not. You get to the top of the “false summit’ thinking you’ve reached the end, when in reality you have a lot more to go! These happened to me at least three times while on the hike.
The trail is 4.5 miles long, one way. Once you reach the sign for the saddle, you still have about an hour of hiking left to reach the summit. I made it to about 45 minutes to the summit, when I decided to turn around and head back. It had started to thunder and I didn’t want to take any chances.
This trail is long! Due to not being used to the elevation I had to take a lot of breaks in order to catch my breath. I would suggest that an average hiker should give themselves an eight hour time frame for hiking this trail. Bring extra water and lots of snacks!
The trail-head is located at Snowbowl in Flagstaff. If coming from Phoenix the directions are:
- take the I-17 N for 144 miles to Flagstaff.
- drive on S. Milton Rd. for 1.7 miles, and make a left turn onto N. Humphreys Street.
- drive for another 0.7 miles and turn left onto Fort Valley Road.
- drive for another 6.7 miles, and then make a right onto N. Snowbowl Road.
- drive 6.6 miles until you reach the resort entrance.
For additional information about Snowbowl, check out their website here.
For more fun pictures of our Humphreys Trail adventure check out our facebook page!