The Top 10 Flagstaff Hikes 

Arizona, in the United States, is a state of remarkable beauty. From the impressive Grand Canyon to the stunning red rocks of Sedona, Arizona provides a wealth of spectacular sights.

The Top 10 Hiking Trails in  Flagstaff, Arizona

Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the western state every year to take advantage of the range of activities you can do year-round. One thing Arizona has in abundance is spectacular hiking trails.

The trails are scattered across the state but here we are focusing on the highest point of Route 66, the city of Flagstaff.

Flagstaff is home to some of the most challenging hiking trails in the state. We have put together a list of the top 10 hiking trails in Flagstaff to help make your research a bit easier when deciding which trail to do.

The Top 10 Flagstaff Trails

Lava River Cave

Difficulty Level: Easy
2 miles

This is one of the most interesting hikes around Flagstaff. The river is the remnant of an ancient underground magma stream that bored out a cave, which is where the hike is.

There is an initial rocky entrance to the cave and it is important to take your time to not fall. Once you enter the cave you will feel the temperature drop instantly and the space around you will become slightly darker.

You are sure to have a hiking experience like no other when you complete this trail.

West Fork Trail

Difficulty Level: Easy
3.7 miles

This trail is located in the beautiful Oak Creek Canyon, a large tributary canyon to Oak Creek. The trail gently follows a meandering route through the canyon, putting you in between towering sandstone walls and surrounded by lush forest.

The scenic trails are hugely popular and as this hike is easier than others it is often quite busy. There are a number of stream crossings, do take additional care as the rocks may be slippery in these areas.

The Top 10 Hiking Trails in  Flagstaff, Arizona

Kachina Trail

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
11 miles

Don’t let the length of this trail put you off. The terrain is mostly flat and with its elevated position along the southern slopes of the San Francisco Peaks,

the views are breathtaking. Black Bears and Mountain Lions are common in this area so keep your eyes peeled for a sneak peek at these elusive animals. 

Fatman’s Loop

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Distance: 2.5 miles

If your time in Flagstaff is limited this short hike is a great way to get outdoors and take in the gorgeous views of the desert forest that surrounds this area. This trail is loved by locals and visitors alike and also seems to be enjoyed by deer, elk, and coyotes.

Lockett Meadow (Via Inner Basin Loop Trail)

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Distance: 6 miles

Trek the peaceful forest and enjoy views of the Arizona Alpine summits along a path that was carved out by glaciers hundreds of years ago. This trail is particularly popular in the fall as locals come to appreciate the beauty of the fall-painted foliage in the area.

Kendrick Peak Trail

Difficulty Level: Fairly Strenuous

Distance: 9 miles

Kendrick Mountain is an extinct stratovolcano that offers a great hike for more experienced hikers.

This trail ends at the Forest Service Fire Lookout and makes all of your hard work worthwhile as you are met with 360-degree views of the San Francisco Peaks and the infamous Grand Canyon.

The Top 10 Hiking Trails in  Flagstaff, Arizona

Humphreys Peak Trail

Difficulty Level: Strenuous

Distance: 5 miles

The tallest point in Arizona, this trail is extremely challenging and adapts to the season, going from hiking and running to skiing during the winter months.

As you make your way up the trail you will notice the vegetation around you become more sparse. Make sure you factor in rest points to avoid altitude sickness on this monstrous hike.

Weatherford Trail

Difficulty Level:

Distance: 21.2 miles

This hiking trail gives you the opportunity to sample every type of hiking that Flagstaff, Arizona has to offer. You will need a full day to complete this hike but you won’t regret devoting so much time to this trail.

Following the trail, you will encounter barren, volcanic landscape, beautiful foliage, and incredible sweeping views at different stages, including views of Oak Creek Canyon, Flagstaff, and the beautiful Inner Basin. 

BearJaw-Abineau Loop Trail

Difficulty Level: Strenuous

Distance: 7.5 miles

If you are looking for a tough hike in a remote location this is the hike for you. This trail will challenge you physically and is located in a remote area of the BearJaw and Abineau canyons.

This area is prone to avalanches so be aware of your surroundings at all times.

SP Crater

Difficulty Level: Strenuous

Distance: 1.3 miles

This hike may be short but it is extremely difficult as you scramble up the loose dust that covers this crater, also referred to as sunset crater.

Once you reach the top you can soak up 360-degree views of Northern Arizona, including the desert, San Francisco Peaks, and the impressive Grand Canyon.

Looking down you can see the striking black lava from an eruption of magma many years ago. The flow takes a chaotic route, making for a very impressive sight.

Top Tips For Flagstaff Hiking Trips

There are four main things to consider when preparing for Flagstaff hikes, we outline these and also offer some useful tips below.


Research is important as it can help you to choose a hiking trail that is suited to your level as well as make you aware of any dangers that you could encounter.

Knowing the local wildlife will better prepare you for any unexpected run-ins you may have.

Speaking to locals in the area can also be a useful way of learning more about the area. Always prepare a hiking plan so that you know what your intentions are before setting out.

It is also beneficial to check the weather forecast to ensure the weather is suited to a day hike or an overnight hike. 


Hydration is extremely important when hiking. You need approximately 2 liters of water per day. You can purchase water filtration caps if you will be hiking somewhere with a natural water source.

Also, make sure you pack nutritious snacks and food that can be eaten out in the wilderness. 


Below is a brief list of equipment you should have in your back, as well as the supplies outlined above.

  • First aid kit
  • Compass
  • Small Shovel
  • Flashlight
  • Map
  • Suncream
  • Bug Repellent Spray
  • Tent or tarp (for overnight hikes)
  • Sleeping bag (for overnight hikes)


Your outer layers can help protect you from the elements we recommend that you have the below for your hiking trip:

  • Light under layer
  • Warmer jumper and trousers
  • Raincoat (weather dependant)
  • Correct boots and socks
  • Hat
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Warm layers for nighttime (for overnight hikes)

Once you consider the above when preparing for your hiking trip we are sure you will have a great time. One final tip we recommend, especially for the solo hikers out there, is to let someone know where you are going as well as your hiking plan.

Your hiking plan should include the trail you are planning to hike, how long it should take you, and if you are going to be away for some time let them know where you will roughly set up camp each night.

All of this information can be extremely useful if for some reason you became missing and your loved ones were trying to search for you.

It may seem silly and that you are causing them to worry for no reason but by giving them your hiking plan it could be the difference between life and death. The great outdoors is a place of great beauty but it should also be respected.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide helps you to prepare and plan your next hiking trip in the wonderful city of Flagstaff, Arizona.

If you are prepared we guarantee you will have a wonderful time as your adventure will go a lot more straightforward than if you just set out without any intention of where you were going.

When out in nature things can change unexpectedly but this guide should help prepare you for these situations. All that’s left to do is for you to head off on your next hiking adventure and enjoy. Happy hiking.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Common Hiking Mistakes?

Hiking is trial and error when you initially start, common mistakes include carrying too much weight, wearing boots that have not been broken in, and hiking too far too fast.

Your backpack should be as light as possible so it is important to pack consciously, only bring the necessities.

Eager beginners will often purchase new boots, which is fantastic and exciting, but it is important to break in your boots and wear the appropriate socks to prevent blisters and bruising of the toes.

Stick to your preplanned schedule, if you hike too far, too fast during an overnight hike you can be left in sticky situations as you will need to find a new place to set up camp for the night or be left sitting around for long periods which could lead to hypothermia. If you are completing a day hike this is not such an issue.

What Is Hiking Etiquette?

There are certain things that should not be done when out hiking, they are like hiking etiquette. You should never go off-trail as this could be dangerous for you and could also disturb local wildlife which may pose dangers to others.

Loud music is a massive no-no, hiking is supposed to be peaceful but you should also avoid wearing headphones so that your spatial awareness is not hindered.

Take all rubbish home with you and never eat wild fruits. When answering nature’s call don’t go near a stream as you could affect water supplies to local homes and cabins.

It is also worthwhile carrying a small shovel to bury your business. These points should be common sense but it is amazing how many people ignore these simple rules, disrespecting the wild and their fellow hikers.

How Can I Hike Without Getting So Tired?

Whether you are an avid hiker or a beginner, muscle fatigue is common but there are certain things that you can do to prevent muscle fatigue from affecting you too badly.

Ensure your body is properly fueled before setting out on your hike and bring enough water to keep you hydrated. Incorporate rest stops into your hiking plan and stretch when you can. If you are hiking uphill, shortening your stride can help to prevent muscle fatigue.

Like any activity, hiking requires a certain amount of practice, especially if you are carrying a backpack. Start with easier climbs and build your stamina up before tackling tougher trails.

Focus on your form, keeping your chest forward to help propel yourself along and keep your arms free by your side to help with stability. Hiking is meant to be fun so take your time with it and enjoy the views.

Kevin Macey
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