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Kachina Hiking Trail

★★★★☆ Easy / Flagstaff Area:

Almost overwhelming in its beauty, Flagstaff’s easy Kachina Hiking Trail envelopes hikers in acres-wide meadows of fragrant wildflowers and plush fern-gullies during Spring and Summer, or shimmering golden Aspens in Fall. It’s no wonder that it is a popular “go to” hiking trail for mini-mees to Grandpas, and every age between.

TRAILHEAD: snowbowl parking area, flagstaff    DIFFICULTY: EASY (with some moderate spots) •  DISTANCE: 5.4 MILES (10.8 miles rt)  •  APPROX. TIME: 6-7 HOURS  •  ELEVATION GAIN: 700 feet (50 stories)  •  APPROX. CALORIES BURNED: 1,400-1,620  •  BEST TIME OF YEAR: APRIL – nov.  •  PETS: YES •  KID FRIENDLY: YES  •  FACILITIES: none  •  FEES: NONE

Landscape, Flagstaff, Arizona, Kachina Trail, San Francisco Mountains, Wild Flowers, Grasses, AspensLandscape, Purple Lupine, Wild Flowers, Flagstaff, Arizona, Kachina Trail, San Francisco Mountains, Aspens Curving around the side of reknowned Humphreys Peak, this gorgeous high-mountain trail leads hikers through tall pine forests, beside stone canyons and across vast fields of sweetly-scented wildflowers. In fall, when the leaves change, miles of shimmering Aspens surround the trail with their golden luster.

Starting at the entrance to the Snow Bowl Ski Resort, the Kachina Hiking Trail’s wide pathway advances beneath the welcome shade of the area’s tall Ponderosas. Intimate rest areas dot the trail where the most ancient trees have squeezed up alongside immense boulders, creating sheltering dells carpeted with soft pine needles.

Girls, Hikers, Granite, Canyon, Flagstaff, Arizona, Kachina Trail, San Francisco MountainsAfter the most frequently hiked first mile-and-a-half, the trail begins to slope gently downward alongside a granite ridge. Here there are fun recesses to explore, and rocks to climb on. Exiting the trees, the path opens up to cross broad swaths of lush-green, often shoulder-high ferns.

Hiker, Fern Gully, Kachina Trail, Flagstaff, Arizona, San Francisco MountainsTwo Hikers, Hands, Tall Ferns, Kachina Trail, Flagstaff, Arizona, San Francisco MountainsThe last two miles of the Kachina Hiking Trail alternate between these plush fern gullies and wide, open meadows – filled with soft grasses and deliciously fragrant purple, red and yellow wildflowers during Spring and Summer. The slopes of Agassiz Peak make an appearance behind these Aspen rimmed fields.

Landscape, Flagstaff, Arizona, Mount Humphreys, Wild Flowers, Field, Kachina Hiking Trail.The Kachina Hiking Trail ends at the intersection of the Weatherford (which is a back route to the top of Mount Humphreys). It is also possible to access the Kachina Hiking Trail by starting on the Weatherford and hiking a half-mile to this T-crossing. If you don’t want to hike the full trail, and prefer to visit the mountain meadows (which are mostly located on this side of the hike) this would be the route to take.

Total Nerdery 

There are six sister-peaks in Flagstaff’s, San Francisco Mountain Range, with Humphrey’s being the highest (at 12,633′) and Agassiz being the second-highest (at 12,356′).


Click here to download a trail map

Directions From the intersection of 89A and 180 (in Flagstaff), take 180 west for 7.2 miles to North Snow Bowl Road. Turn right / north onto North Snow Bowl Road and continue 8.5 miles to the Kachina trailhead parking area on the right.

2 Responses to Kachina Hiking Trail

  1. John McCullough

    What is the name of the ferns? Brackan? They seem to look like it. I’ve hiked Katchina Trail a couple of times years ago. Besides the West Fork of Oak Creek, it is the most beautiful vegetated trail in Arizona.

    • azutopia

      Fern species are definitely not my expertise. LOL. Does anyone else know?


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