Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Humphrey’s Peak Trail – San Francisco Peaks
when Trip Report : June 19, 2021
  Trip Report : August 9, 2020
  Trip Report : September 19, 2015
  Trip Report : June 15-17, 2012
  Trip Report : August 5, 2006
  Trip Report : June 30, 2001
  Trip Report : April 13, 2000
  Trip Report : June 26, 1999
  Trip Report : December 28, 1998
  Trip Report : October 17, 1998
  Trip Report : July 5, 1998
  Trip Report : October 4, 1997
where San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff
the hike     Mt. Humphreys is Arizona’s premier high-altitude hiking experience. This is not an easy hike by any standards, but if you can make it to the top of Mt. Humphreys, you are standing on the state’s highest peak and are rewarded with a 360° panoramic view that is unparalleled anywhere in Arizona, taking in hundreds of square miles on a clear day. This is an incredible hiking experience, but please think carefully about your overall physical condition before even considering this hike. This is a long, steep hike that will take us over 4.7 miles of often rough and rocky terrain and 3,333 feet of elevation gain to reach the summit, where we can expect cold and windy conditions. Level ground is a rarity on this trail, and the higher we get the thinner the air and the harder it is to breathe. If you feel you are up to the challenge, then by all means go for it, but please read the following information first.
    Altitude sickness will be our worst enemy on this hike and typically causes one out of four hikers to turn back. It is crucial not to push yourself beyond your limits on this hike. Instead, pace yourself—we are not trying to set any speed records here. Staying overnight in Flagstaff prior to the hike is advisable. And make certain you stay well hydrated and fortified with electrolytes, since dehydration is a major cause of altitude sickness. At the first signs of altitude sickness (one or more of the following symptoms: severe headaches, dizziness, extreme shortness of breath, and nausea), stop and inform someone before taking another step. If left unchecked, altitude sickness can become dangerous.
    Be prepared for extreme mountain weather. These higher mountains create their own weather systems, and it can sleet, hail, or snow on any day of the year even if it’s 110° and sunny in Phoenix. And you can bank on it being very windy at the summit. So bring warm clothing and rain gear with you, just in case.
    The Mt. Humphreys Trail, starting at 9,300 feet at the Arizona Snow Bowl Upper Lodge and ending 4.7 miles later at the summit (the longest 4.7 miles on Earth), is deceptively easy at first, carrying hikers about a quarter mile over a lush and flat mountain meadow into the edge of the forest. Entering this thick old-growth forest of aspen, Douglas and white fir, Englemann spruce, and ponderosa pine, the trail now begins a gradual but steady climb up the sloping side of Mt. Humphreys in a series of long switchbacks. After struggling through several more ever-steeper and tighter switchbacks, we will emerge – at 11,800 feet – onto the Agassiz Saddle (the 11,800-foot high ridge connecting Mt. Agassiz and Mt. Humphreys), where we will catch our first glimpse of the majestic Mt. Humphreys, still looming in the distance another 870 feet higher and a little over a mile away.
    We’ll take a lunch break at the saddle, since it is safe and not windy and cold, instead of at summit. We’ll take a group picture and decide whether to go for the summit. The determining factors here will be the weather and how we feel individually. At the first signs of a thunderstorm, we will immediately turn back, since we are now above timberline with no shelter and no protection from the elements. You do not want to be in this area during an electrical storm. Several hikers have been struck and killed by lightning along this stretch of exposed trail. If we have good weather, those of us who feel up to it can proceed on to the summit, where I would like to get another group picture.
    For those who feel they have gone far enough, it is probably a good idea to rest and return from here, since getting to the saddle is a major accomplishment in itself. For those of us continuing on, we will enjoy the scenery at the summit and take a well-deserved rest break before we make our way back down the same way we came.
•  Sturdy hiking boots
•  At least 3 liters of water
•  Rain poncho and a flannel shirt or light jacket
•  Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
•  Lunch or snacks
•  Hiking poles
•  Camera
distance 9.4 miles round trip
time 6-8 hours hiking time
EC +-3,333' elevation change
elevations 9,300' (trailhead) to 12,633' (Humphreys Peak)
starting at
Mt. Humphreys Trailhead 35° 19.883' N,  111° 42.676' W  [NAD27]
on trail 100% — Humphreys Peak Trail
rating "A" (top, this is a very strenuous hike) or "B" (Agassiz Saddle)
Rate yourself as a hiker.
dogs? no
cost Sharing gas expenses with the driver.
The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
weather Flagstaff
meet in
6:00 AM in the Snowbowl lower parking lot. Recommend you stay in Flagstaff the night before to help acclimate and to be on time at the trailhead. We will be on the trail by 6:15 AM sharp. We want to get to the saddle and summit and be on our way back down before any thunderstorms form.
•  Take I-17 north to Flagstaff.
From Flagstaff, take US 180 about seven miles to the signed Arizona Snowbowl Road and turn right.
Drive uphill 7 miles and turn left into the Upper Lodge parking lot (a.k.a. second ski area parking lot). At the end of the parking lot is the well-marked trailhead.
All roads are paved.

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updated June 21, 2021 © Copyright 2021, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.