Hike | Humphrey's Peak | Flagstaff
If high-pointing Arizona is on your bucket list, then Humphreys Peak is the trail for you! The trail leading to Humphreys Peak begins in the Snowbowl parking lot and ascends 3,343 feet up to a total elevation of 12,635 feet. To get to the very top, hikers should expect about 10 miles out and back before returning to the parking lot.
Hikers should expect fallen trees and obstacles along the way up as the heavy winds often bring down vegetation and rocks. The steep inclines of this hike make hiking poles a necessity, especially during the snow season.
During the warmer months, the trail is mostly dirt and boulders making it a quick climb up. During the winter season, hikers can expect snow and ice as they ascend up the mountain. It’s important to check the weather before deciding to hike here as the winds and inclement weather can turn a nice hike into a scary trip.
- Length: 9.2 miles
- Trail Type: Boulder & Rocks (summer), Snow & Ice (winter)
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 3,343 feet
- Difficulty: Hard
- Kid Friendly: No
- Dog-Friendly: Yes (must have a leash!)
- Accessibility: Plenty of parking in the day parking lot
- Fee/Permit: FREE permits (during snow season) can be obtained Saturdays and Sundays at Agassiz Lodge
Hiking to Humphreys Peak is not for beginners or moderate hikers. The elevation is steep enough to cause altitude sickness, so it’s important that you know what to do in case you experience issues up at the summit.
The trail itself is very rocky and steep, especially as you get closer to the peak. Some parts of the trail are very narrow; you will need to keep an eye out for other hikers and make room as needed.
During the snow season, you can expect tons of ice and snow. You will need a permit during this time of year to summit Humphreys Peak as the time needed to climb up and down is more than you would need in the summer months. The climb is extremely difficult in some areas as the snow and ice can be up to your waist above 10,000 feet. Be prepared to take your time up and down the mountain to avoid slipping and falling.
This trail is best to do with other hikers as the conditions can be severe the further you get up the mountain. As you reach the top of Humphreys Peak you will be able to have 360 degree views of the surrounding area making the trip well worth it. You can stop at the lock box at the top and sign your name to be added to the list of the handful of people who have high-pointed Arizona.
This hike on average takes most hikers between 5-8 hours to get from trailhead to top and back down. This is NOT your average day hike and should be one you prepare for well in advance to avoid altitude sickness. It’s also a good idea to find a place to rest your sore feet afterward.
Finding your way to Humphreys Peak trailhead is as easy as putting “Snowbowl Flagstaff, AZ” in your GPS. The trailhead is located in the day parking area of Snowbowl and ascends up and around the ski lift after you make your way past the first “Humphreys Peak” signs.
If you are coming from southern Arizona, hop on I-17 for 2.5 hours. Upon entering Flagstaff, find your way to South Milton Road. Take a left on Humphreys Street, which will eventually turn become Fort Valley Road the further you drive. You’ll see signs on the right side of the road for Snowbowl. Eventually, you’ll come upon Snowbowl Road. About 7 miles up Snowbowl Road, you’ll find the parking lot for Snowbowl and Humphreys Peak Trailhead.
- Bring plenty of water with you. If altitude sickness hits you, you will need to stay hydrated as you descend back down.
- During the snow season, be prepared to bring hiking poles or crampons as the ice and snow make it very difficult to stay on your feet.
- If altitude sickness hits, be prepared. Pack a mini oxygen tank or descend down the trail to allow your body to acclimate to the lack of oxygen. DO NOT proceed if you are feeling so ill that you might not be able to make it back if you continue!
- Dogs are allowed on this trail, but remember to bring a leash with you as there are other hikers who bring their dogs, too. Be considerate of other pet owners and keep your dog on a leash throughout the hike.
This blog was thoughtfully written by Erin Maxon. You can find her on Instagram @withdogshetravels.
* Please remember to hike at your own risk. To learn more please refer to our Hiking Disclaimer.