Arizona typically has a pretty stable snowpack, but avalanches do occur on the San Francisco Peaks, especially after windy days with new snow. Please be aware of the conditions and travel in groups, all wearing the proper safety equipment. When avalanches occur, they happen very quickly and can kill! If you are unsure of the snow pack, please stop in to Ski Patrol and ask them. Be safe and enjoy the great Arizona snow!

BACKCOUNTRY WARNING. The Arizona Snowbowl recommends that anyone exiting the ski are have a very strong knowledge of backcountry travel in avalanche terrain.The Arizona Snowbowl assumes no responsibility for skiers or riders going beyond the ski area boundary. Areas beyond the ski area boundary are not patrolled or maintained. Avalanches, unmarked obstacles and other natural hazards exist. Rescue in the backcountry, if available, will be costly and may take time.

Arizona Snowbowl / Kachina Peaks Wilderness Backcountry Policy

If you leave the ski area boundary into the backcountry or re-enter the ski area from the backcountry, you are advised to have the following:

  • Kachina Peaks Wilderness Access Permit (required, see below);
  • A shovel, probe, and avalanche transceiver, and the ability to use these tools;
  • A travel group of at least three people;
  • Knowledge of avalanches, the terrain, and your ability;
  • Knowledge of local avalanche conditions, this winter’s snowpack layers, and the recent snowfall and type of snow;
  • Knowledge of today’s weather forecast (snowfall, temperature, and visibility);
  • A Lift Ticket (if using the lift to access the backcountry).


Kachina Peaks Wilderness Access Permit Information

Kachina Peaks Wilderness Access permits, commonly known as backcountry permits, are free of charge and available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM at the Flagstaff Ranger District office, located at 5075 N. Highway 89, Flagstaff, AZ and on Saturdays and Sundays at Agassiz Lodge at the Arizona Snowbowl from 9 to 11 AM (when the season is open). This free permit is designed to help inform backcountry snow recreationalists about travel hazards, and to assist the Forest Service and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office with search and rescue should that become necessary. Permits are only required for accessing the backcountry from Arizona Snowbowl and the Snowbowl Road.

For more information, call the Flagstaff Ranger Station at (928) 526-0866.

In addition to having a permit, backcountry campers, skiers and snowboarders who launch their trip from the Ski Area or the Snowbowl Road also need to enter information in one of the following trip registers:

  • The Coconino National Forest location at Lamar Haines trailhead
  • Lot 9 at the end of the parking lot near the Hart Prairie Lodge
  • Humphrey’s/Kachina trails
  • At the backcountry access by top Patrol at the top of Agassiz Chailift.


Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center

The mission of the Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center, Inc. (KPAC) is to provide support for and to engage in avalanche education, safety training and information exchange to the San Francisco Peaks in northern Arizona. For more information on KPAC, please visit their website,
 For more information on avalanche safety, visit, the American Avalanche Association, and the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

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