Weather on the San Francisco Peaks
The San Francisco Peaks are subject to a wide range of climate conditions. Precipitation ranges from 20 inches (50 cm) in the lower area of the mountain to over 40 inches (100 cm) on the upper slopes. Temperatures fluctuate greatly from night to day.
Precautions should be taken to avoid being caught on exposed peaks and ridge tops during northern Arizona’s regular summer thunderstorms. Plan ahead: watch approaching storms and get to a safe area before the storms hit. The safest places to be, if you do get caught in a storm, are forested areas away from ridge tops, ledges, rock outcroppings, or the tallest trees.
Several factors make it necessary to implement some restrictions — the fragile habitat of the Peaks, a threatened plant species, the Kachina Peaks Wilderness designation, and the municipal watershed for the City of Flagstaff in the Inner Basin.
- Camping is not allowed above timberline at 11,000 feet (3,352 m) or within the Inner Basin. This is to help protect the fragile tundra and the City of Flagstaff’s municipal water supply.
- Campfires are also prohibited in the same areas. Fires are allowed below 11,000 ft (3,352 m). Keep them small and use only wood which will burn completely to ash. Fires should be built on mineral soil. Take care to clear burnable material from the fire area. If you pack it in, please pack it out. Do not burn garbage, foil, cans, plastic, or nylon of any kind.
- Artifacts and ruins are a major portion of the history and heritage of the San Francisco Peaks. All items of this nature are protected by law against damage or removal. We request that you only look, admire and photograph these items.
Endangered species are located above timberline; therefore, hiking is restricted to designated trails only.
Trails Starting at Snowbowl
Here are all the hiking trails that start at Snowbowl. All of the trail distances listed on our website are one way distances with the exception of loops which are indicated as such. Times are approximate.
- Kachina Trail #150 Distance: 5 miles Time: 2.5 hours Directions: North on Humphreys St to Hwy 180. North on Hwy 180 for 7 miles (11 km) to Snowbowl Road. Turn right on Snowbowl Road, go 7 miles (11 km) to parking lot. Trail begins at far end of parking lot on the right (south). Description: Views of rocky slopes, pine and aspen forest, wildflower meadows, and Flagstaff. Trail map
- Humphreys Peak Trail #151 Distance: 4.5 miles Time: 3 hours Directions: North on Humphreys St to Hwy 180. North on Hwy 180 for 7 miles (11 km) to Snowbowl Road. Turn right on Snowbowl Road, go 7 miles (11 km) to parking lot. Trail begins at far end of parking lot on the left (north). Description: Trail goes up Humphreys Peak (12,633 ft/ 3,850 m). Views of San Francisco Peaks mountain range, and ponderosa pine and aspen trees. Stay on the trail above the tree line. Trail map
- Aspen Loop Trail #73 Distance: 2.5 miles Time: 1 hour Directions: From Flagstaff drive north on US 180 for 7 miles (11 km) to FR 516, the Snowbowl Road. Drive 7 miles (11 km) on this paved road to the lower parking lot (no. 9) of the Snowbowl facility. The trailhead is located at the north end of the parking lot. Description: Beginning at the Humphreys Trailhead and branching west, the way leads through micro habitats where sun-loving wildflowers and grasses alternate with shade plants and ferns along the trail’s winding, 300-foot elevation change. Birds of the open glades abound: flickers, jays, juncos, and warblers. Aspen, spruce, and pine stand along the trail, including several large bristlecones. Higher up the Peaks, these trees can live well over a thousand years!
For more information on other trails near and around Flagstaff and Arizona Snowbowl, visit the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website.