Your Guide to Hiking Humphreys Peak in Flagstaff, Arizona 

One of the most iconic and memorable hiking destinations in the state, Humphreys Peak is an Arizona classic. The highest point of the San Fransisco Peaks, Humphreys Peak is the highest point in all of Arizona. Standing at an elevation of 12,633 feet (3,851 meters), this hike offers breathtaking panoramic views and a challenging trek for the hiking enthusiast. We’ve created this guide to help make the most of your journey to the summit. 

1. Planning and Preparation for Hiking in Flagstaff, AZ: 

  • Choose the Right Season: The best time to hike Humphreys Peak is from late spring to early fall (June to September) when the weather is more predictable and snow has melted, making the trail accessible. 
  • Build Stamina: Humphreys Peak is a challenging hike, covering approximately 10 miles round trip. Strengthen your endurance through regular cardio exercises and longer hikes in the months leading up to your adventure. 

Elevation Training: Since the trail takes you to such high elevations, consider engaging in elevation training or spending some time acclimatizing in Flagstaff before attempting the hike.  

2. Essential Gear: 

  • Sturdy Hiking Boots: Invest in quality hiking boots with ankle support and good traction. The rocky terrain demands durable footwear. 

Appropriate Clothing: Dress in layers to accommodate changing temperatures. A moisture-wicking base layer, insulating mid-layer, and waterproof outer layer are essential. Don’t forget to pick up a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, the sun is very intense at high altitude! 

Backpack: Carry a comfortable backpack to store water, snacks, extra clothing, a first aid kit, and other essentials (like that summit beer for the peak). 

Navigation Tools: A map, compass, or GPS device can be crucial for staying on the right path, especially in areas with limited signage. Cell phone apps like Gaia GPS or All Trails can be great resources for staying on the right track. 

3. Hydration and Nutrition: 

  • Water Supply: Carry enough water for the entire hike, as there are no water sources along the trail. Pack more than you may think, at high altitudes staying hydrated is extra important. Make sure to use electrolyte supplements to replace the minerals you lose through sweat. 

Energy-Packed Snacks: Pack energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, and other lightweight snacks to keep your energy levels up. 

4. Trail Details and Tips: 

  • Start Early: Begin your hike early in the morning to allow enough time for both ascending and descending before any potential afternoon storms. 

Trailhead: The Humphreys Peak Trail begins at the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort. Arrive early to secure parking, as the lot tends to fill up quickly. 

Pace Yourself: The hike is steep and gains elevation rapidly. Take breaks when needed and listen to your body. 

5. Safety Precautions: 

  • Weather Awareness: Check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for sudden weather changes at higher elevations. Monsoons can roll in quickly! 

Altitude Sickness: Pay attention to symptoms of altitude sickness, such as nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Descend if symptoms worsen. 

Emergency Contact: Inform a friend or family member about your hiking plans and estimated return time. 

6. Leave No Trace: 

  • Respect the Environment: Stay on designated trails, avoid picking plants or disturbing wildlife, and pack out all trash. Even organic material like fruit peels can take decades to break down in an alpine environment. 

Campfire Rules: Campfires are generally not allowed on this trail due to the fragile alpine ecosystem. Follow any specific regulations in the area. 

Stay safe, respect the environment, and embrace the challenges and rewards that come with exploring the great outdoors. Happy hiking! 

The San Fransisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona