Flagstaff, AZ: Humphreys Peak - Backpacker

Flagstaff, AZ: Humphreys Peak

This popular 10.6-mile hike begins gently in aspen groves, then crescendos with a climb up Arizona's tallest peak.

While Humphreys is considered the easiest of the western high points—it's only 10 miles from the latte bars in downtown Flagstaff—the long-extinct volcano has a volatile personality. Snow is common; afternoon thunderstorms are notoriously violent; and fierce winds along the mile-long summit ridge have forced many a hiker to scramble up on all fours.

From the north end of the first parking lot for the Arizona Snowbowl off AZ 180, it's 3.5 miles up to the 11,800-foot saddle between Humphreys and Agassiz Peak, the second highest in Arizona. When the snow is deep, beware of the huge overhanging cornice as you trace the undulating ridge to the first of three false summits. From the real one, the north rim of the Grand Canyon is often visible, 80 miles away.

-Mapped by Bob Wold

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.5



Location: 35.3311576843262, -111.711822509766

Head out on Humphreys Trail for NE traverse of Arizona Snowbowl's grassy ski slopes. In .3 mi., trail enters shady woods and Kachina Peaks Wilderness


Location: 35.3381385803223, -111.706192016602

Trail swings S; rays of sunlight peak through piney treetops


Location: 35.3344306945801, -111.703750610352

Sign logbook by trail, then take hard L @ fork (trail on R leads to ski lifts). Continue gentle ascent on root-laced path


Location: 35.3340377807617, -111.697341918945

Hike NE on narrow dirt trail that hugs forested slopes


Location: 35.3389511108398, -111.694641113281

Steep, boulder-filled gully on trail's L side; head SE, switchbacking up


Location: 35.3342552185059, -111.692504882812

Clearing in trees reveals expansive valley, distant wooded ridgelines to S


Location: 35.3339500427246, -111.684440612793

Series of short switchbacks leads through treeline to a small saddle; look S to find Agassiz Peak's bald ridgeline


Location: 35.3352584838867, -111.681930541992

Leave saddle; climb NW on Humphreys Trail along mtn.'s W face. Ahead, several false summits await along windy ridgeline


Location: 35.3373222351074, -111.683792114258

Climb past first false summit on loose rock trail, heading N


Location: 35.3410682678223, -111.682876586914

Cross second false summit, then begin NE ascent along rocky ridge of Humphreys


Location: 35.3313827514648, -111.711387634277

©Bob Wold


Location: 35.3428344726562, -111.681091308594

Continue NE trek across third false summit


Location: 35.3443908691406, -111.67879486084

High-altitude path cuts N through fragile alpine tundra (stay on trail); watch footing on skittish rocks @ summit ridge


Location: 35.3465003967285, -111.67790222168

Humphreys Peak (12,633 ft.): See 100 mi. from AZ's windy high point (if clear, see Grand Canyon to N); retrace steps

Up the slopes

Location: 35.3333969116211, -111.71028137207

©Bob Wold

Through the woods

Location: 35.3372764587402, -111.705795288086

©Bob Wold


Location: 35.3365211486816, -111.704788208008

©Bob Wold

Views from false summit

Location: 35.3378829956055, -111.683776855469

Views above the wilderness from false summit. ©Bob Wold

Another fake summit

Location: 35.3407020568848, -111.683380126953

©Bob Wold

Approaching the saddle

Location: 35.3341522216797, -111.682014465332

©Bob Wold

Crossing treeline

Location: 35.3347091674805, -111.681861877441

©Bob Wold

Fork in the trail

Location: 35.3347587585449, -111.703979492188

©Bob Wold

Loose tundra sign

Location: 35.3447341918945, -111.678489685059

©Bob Wold

First views

Location: 35.3347091674805, -111.692192077637

©Bob Wold

Summit views

Location: 35.3468475341797, -111.677886962891

©Bob Wold

More summit views

Location: 35.3461418151856, -111.677932739258

©Bob Wold