Updated: Feb 28
Arizona State High Point
When Arizona comes to mind, most think of vast desert landscapes, littered with iconic Saguaro cactus. Or maybe the Grand Canyon and all its splendor. It’s not often that people associate Arizona with snowcapped 12,000+ foot peaks. But for those looking to summit Arizona’s state high point, then that is exactly what you have in store.
In the northern part of the state, Humphreys Peak sits at 12,633 feet; the roof of Arizona.
Towering over the City of Flagstaff, the base of the mountain is covered with a dense forest of ponderosa pines and aspen groves. The peak breaks through the trees, snowcapped for most of the year, on display above the tree line. A truly superb mountain peak and a bucket list item for any hiker.
What to Expect
The 9.6 mile, out-and-back trail to Humphreys Peak begins in the Arizona Snowbowl parking lot. From here, hikers head out through a mountain meadow and then into the thick pine forest, where the trail meanders up the mountain through a series of steep, winding switchbacks. The majority of the 3,400-foot elevation gain of this hike occurs during this stage.
After several miles hikers emerge from the forest as the trail breaks out through the tree line. This is referred to as the saddle section, which has a high amount of exposure, both to weather and drop offs alongside the trail. This part of the trail is very rocky, and careful foot placement is key. From here, it’s about another 1.5 miles to the summit.
Once at the peak, the 360-degree views are breathtaking, and on clear days, the Grand Canyon can be seen to the north. From here, hikers return the way they came, and make their way back down to the Snowbowl parking lot.
This hike is rated as moderate to hard and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Hikers should allow for 5-8 hours of total hike time, and pack plenty of snacks and water. In the winter and early spring, the saddle section will be under ice and snow. During this time hiking poles and light crampons are recommended. The weather can cause the saddle section to become dangerous at any time of the year and should be monitored carefully. Be careful out there.
Check out the resources below for additional information on hiking Humphreys Peak.