San Francisco Peaks

Hike to Humphrey’s Peak

June 6th, 2020

Length: 10.5 miles

Route Type: Out & Back

Elevation Gain: 3,352 ft

Dog Friendly: Yes

Fee: No

Restrooms at trailhead: No


We drove to Humphreys Peak from Phoenix and we left Phoenix at about 6:00am. We got to Humphreys Trailhead at 9:00am. It was probably in the 50’s in the parking lot. We were already cold, but luckily we each brought layers. I wore a long sleeve, a Nike pullover, a windbreaker, and had another small jacket. I also wore my thicker tights and wore a hat. This may seem excessive for 50 degree weather, but we were coming from Phoenix in early June. It was in the 100’s all week, some days reaching 112 degrees. Once we started to hike I did get a little warm so I took off my small jacket, but I did end up putting it back on once we got to higher elevation. This hike starts off by the Aspen Loop Trail, which is a great easy hike to do in the fall. The parking lot is the same parking lot for Snowbowl, where people ski and snowboard in the winter. When we went there was plenty of parking, sice they opened up one of the parking areas. The trail will divide into two and you will go right to continue onto Humphreys Trail. Once you enter into the wooded area there is a lot of fallen trees. The path definitely isn’t smooth. There are a lot of tree roots and rocks that are on the path. It is a steady incline. I don’t have a lot experience hiking in higher elevations. I am from Cleveland, Ohio so I am from a very flat area and then I moved to Phoenix and while there are mountains in Phoenix the elevation is no where near where the elevation started at this trailhead. I could immediately feel the elevation change. The trailhead starts at about 9,000 ft. I was out of breath pretty early on.

We did take several breaks along the way. More breaks than any other hike that I have done in Arizona. The trail is really easy to follow and there are signs along the way as well. I think the hardest part for me was trying to catch my breath. And obviously the higher we went the harder it was. We hiked this in the beginning of June and there wasn’t a lot of snow. We did come across some snow, but it wasn’t bad at all. While you’re hiking it isn’t clear where Humphreys Peak actually is. Once you get high enough you will be able to see a mountain. It is beautiful! We weren’t sure if this was the peak we were hiking to until we got a little farther up and noticed we don’t go that towards that mountain.

We weren’t sure if this was the Humphreys Peak or not

Once we reached about 12,000 ft in elevation we could really feel the wind. At this point there will be another sign pointing you in the direction of where Humphreys Peak is. It also will point to where the Snowbowl is and the Weatherford Trail. A lot of people stopped here and took a break. This part of the trail is pretty exposed so some people hid behind rocks to avoid the wind. From here you can see a peak. We once again thought this was the peak we were hiking to, but it isn’t. Once you continue up you start to become more exposed as there is way less trees. And once you hit the tree line (where there is no longer any trees) it becomes brutal. The wind was so strong and it was cold. There will be many wooden sticks with a sharp point at the top that are engraved with “trail”. So it makes it easy to follow. Eventually you will come across a point with three peaks. Once again we thought one of these had to be the summit. But once you make your way around them you learn that they aren’t the summit and the summit is still probably about .5 miles away. We stopped and took another break once we learned we still had more to do. At this point we all had headaches, the wind was brutal, it was so cold, and we just didn’t feel all that great with the elevation. We thought long and hard, but decided that it was better we turn around, then to continue when we didn’t feel good. While it is disappointing that we got so close to the summit, it is important to know your limits. I think we made the smart choice by turning around. We want to come back to hike this when we are more prepared. One way we can be more prepared is to stay the night in Flagstaff to get adjusted to the elevation. We went down way faster than going up. It took us four hours to get to where we stopped. And three hours to get back to our car. This hike is definitely for advanced hikers. Especially if you aren’t used to hiking in high elevations. We will hike this again in the fall. We have heard that the fall is a great time to hike it. When we do hike Humphreys Peak again we will update it on our blog! Happy Hiking!

We thought this was Humphreys Peak
The trail is marked well with these wooden poles
We thought it had to be one of these
Once you get around this point you will learn the summit is still about .5 miles away
Behind me is Humphreys Summit. We almost made it!

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