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blueBlack Humphreys Peak

  4.3 ( 39 ) Favorite

Trail

9.6 mile 15.4 kilometer loop
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 3,270' 997 m
Descent: -3,268' -996 m
High: 12,584' 3,836 m
Low: 9,314' 2,839 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 22% (13°)

Dogs

Off-leash
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Map Key

Outstanding alpine scenery on a climb of Arizona's highest peak.

Almonzo Wilder

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

No off-trail travel is permitted above treeline to protect the rare San Francisco Peaks' groundsel - a plant found nowhere else in the world.

Overview

Humphreys Peak is one of the easiest of the western state highpoints to climb and has outstanding views from its summit. This deservedly popular hike offers a chance to experience the only true alpine environment in Arizona.

Need to Know

During monsoon season, roughly July to September, Humphreys Peak is a lightning magnet. Plan to be below treeline by noon when a monsoonal pattern is active. At any time, be ready for windy and cold conditions in alpine areas.

In the winter, a backcountry permit from Coconino National Forest is needed for any travel in the Kachina Peaks Wilderness.

Description

From the trailhead in the lower parking lot of the Arizona Snowbowl, the well-signed trail up Humphreys Peak begins by crossing Hart Prairie, passing underneath a ski lift along the way. On the far side of the prairie, the trail ducks into mixed conifer and aspen forest and shortly passes the boundary of the Kachina Peaks Wilderness. A series of long switchbacks gradually ascends the west-facing mountain slope, with limited views on the trail. On a crowded day in the dry season, it can get a bit dusty and congested, but the route is straightforward and easy to follow. Eventually, the trees begin to thin as you approach treeline just below the saddle between Humphreys and Agassiz Peaks. A short push up to the saddle itself offers the first great views of the trail, including the country to the west and the Inner Basin of the now-extinct volcano that comprises the San Francisco Peaks.

At the saddle is the intersection of the Weatherford Trail, while the Humphreys Peak trail ascends the ridge to the north. It's a good idea to assess the weather before heading above the saddle, as the route is exposed and fully above treeline from here on out. The alpine walking roughly follows the main ridgeline, with a few steeper climbs and false summits adding to the difficulty. Eventually, the rounded true peak is reached, where tremendous views extend in all directions. On a clear day, the rim of the Grand Canyon stands out to the north, the Painted Desert to the northeast, the Mogollon Rim to the south. Once you've had your fill of the summit, head back down the way you came.

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Check-Ins

Jul 14, 2019
Anna T
10.4mi — 6h 37m
Jul 12, 2019
Kevin A
Needed to start an hour or two earlier. Had to turn back about 1/2 mile from the peak as a thunderstorm rolled in. 9.5mi
Jul 5, 2019
Steven Richardson
Jul 2, 2019
Stone Dragon
9.6mi — 7h 48m
Jul 1, 2019
Matt Swanson
Trail is longer than 9.6 miles. 11mi
Jun 29, 2019
S D
Tough- can just stop at the saddle - saddle to peak is toughest mile 9.6mi — 9h 30m
Jun 17, 2019
Shay McPhail
6h 15m
Jun 8, 2019
Alaina Roberts
Icy at parts. Need to get used to elevation 10mi — 5h 02m

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 39 votes

#174

Overall
  4.3 from 39 votes
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Featured Hike Rankings

#10

in Arizona

#174

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11,894 Since Mar 24, 2015
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