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.
PLEASE NOTE: There is no backcountry hiking in the summer from the top of the scenic gondola, other than a short trail to the upper observation point.
- 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.