The San Francisco Peaks and surrounding Coconino National Forest are home to some of the most stunning and scenic alpine hikes in Arizona. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a leisurely stroll or a tried-and-true adventurer looking for your next thrill, there’s a hike for everyone near Snowbowl! See our roundup below!
Aspen Nature Loop
Best Feature: Good For All Hiking Abilities
Perfect for any level of hiker, this 1.5 mile trail winds leisurely through ponderosa and aspen groves that turn stunningly golden in the autumn. You’ll enjoy the striking alpine foliage, as well as views of the mountains. Plus, the trail is often less crowded than other hikes around Flagstaff.
Veit Springs Trail
Best Feature: Secluded
Looking for a shady, heavily-wooded trail? Veit Springs Trail begins about halfway up Snowbowl Road and winds through the largest stand of ponderosa pines in the world. Because the Veit Springs Trail doesn’t start or end at the ski area, you’re likely to find plenty of solitude! Look for the small parking lot on the right side of Snowbowl Road (going towards the ski area) to find the trailhead!
Best Feature: Alpine Scenery
Located about 6.5 miles up Snowbowl Road, Aspen Corner is a photographer’s paradise. It’s breathtaking to stand among the dense, bright aspens and take in the beauty of the forest–especially in the fall! From Aspen Corner, you can take an easy nature trail or even connect to the Arizona Trail for a longer trek! Find the parking lot on the left side of Snowbowl Road, going towards the ski area.
Best Feature: Lush Vegetation
Traverse through dense alpine trees and lush ferns on the Arizona Trail, which runs all the way from Mexico to Utah, right through the Coconino National Forest. Located under the San Francisco Peaks, you can access this scenic single track from the connector trail located at Aspen Corner.
Lava River Cave
Best Feature: Actual Lava Tunnel
Explore this 700,000 year old lava cave in the middle of Coconino National Forest! Created when a volcano erupted in the area, the remaining tunnel runs for 3/4ths of a mile and is open year-round. That’s right, you can go right in and explore it yourself! Find the Lava River Cave off of West Fort Valley Road.
Make sure you carefully plan and prepare for your hiking or backpacking trip on the San Francisco Peaks before you take off for your adventure. Pack water, snacks, sunscreen, appropriate shoes, and layers (including a rain jacket!) for a day on the trail.