If you’re looking for a great hike, you need to try the Kachina Trail near Snowbowl in Flagstaff. It winds along the base of the peaks, takes you through thick forests and to open meadows.
My wife and I went on this trail a few weeks ago when the Aspens were filled with yellow leaves. A strong wind had started blowing that morning, so many of the exposed trees in the area had lost some, or all, of their leaves. But on the Kachina trail, most of the Aspens were sheltered by the evergreens, so they still had their leaves, and their glorious colors. As you hike through the pine forest, you will see areas of color next to the trail, or high overhead. In fact, these are some of the tallest Aspen that I’ve seen anywhere.
Due to a late arrival, my wife and I hiked only about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of the five miles (8 km) of this popular trail. But we’re looking forward to enjoying the entire trail soon. It’s not a difficult hike, at least for the area we traveled, but there are places where you have to watch out for roots and rocks in the path.
On this trail, you’ll spend a lot of time in a pine and Douglas fir forest, dotted with giant Ponderosa pine, ferns and many patches of Aspens. But there are also several meadows with expansive views, some canyons and a basalt ridge.
Being a popular trail, it can be crowded. But as with all trails, the further you go, the thinner the crowds. Even at the beginning of the trail, most of the time we had it to ourselves.
If the idea of a 10 mile (16 km) round trip hike seems daunting, bring two cars; park one at the end of the trail, then drive back to the beginning of the trail. Use the second car to drive back to the beginning of the trail when you’re done.
Hike safe, and bring plenty of water and snacks.