LB - Northland Motorsports

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS |
Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : features : features May 24, 2016

7/16/2013 9:57:00 AM
Weatherford-Kachina Loop offers big day of hiking
The entry to Weatherford Trail offers the start of panoramic views for miles. Photo/Stan Bindell
The entry to Weatherford Trail offers the start of panoramic views for miles. Photo/Stan Bindell
Red flowers are among many flowers brightening up the trail this time of year. Photo/Stan Bindell
Red flowers are among many flowers brightening up the trail this time of year. Photo/Stan Bindell
Stan Bindell
The Observer

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Take two hard or strenuous hikes, add them into one loop and you've got one of the toughest hikes going in Arizona.

The Weatherford-Kachina loop involves 19.5 miles and about a 2,800 foot change in elevation. For those who can take the challenge, this loop hike offers a bit of everything:

• meadows,

• forests,

• great panoramic views for hundreds of miles,

• a fantastic look inside the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks,

• a dozen types of flowers including Columbine and lupines, and

• many types of butterflies including the Arizona butterfly, the Swallowtail, and high elevation butterflies such as the Western Tailed blue. The Police Car Moth is also found at the high elevations.

The Weatherford Trail begins at the same trailhead as the Humphreys Trail. Mount Humphreys Peak is the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet.

The trail for both hikes remains the same for the first 3.8 miles. The Humphreys Trail continues one more mile to the peak. The Weatherford Trail splits off to the right and continues another 5.1 miles making it a hearty hike for those who want to turn around and go back the same way.

Most of the climbing is in that first 3.8 miles and includes a 2,500 foot climb. The hike starts by going across a short meadow with a great panoramic view and flowers to boot. It soon enters the fir, spruce and aspen forest. Hikers are already up above 9,000 feet, but if the sun is shining the forest blocks out the sun for most of the rest of the climb.

Once hikers reach the saddle, this is a good place to take a break along side of the friendly chipmunks. Then to the right it's uphill for another half mile or so near the top of Agassiz Mountain. Agassiz tops out at 12,356 feet. But hikers aren't allowed to walk to the top because of a sacred Native American site. So, the trail winds around Agassiz and above the Inner Basin.

At this point, hikers are above the timberline and there is no tree cover so if the sun is shining it can be warm. Of course, during winter it will be freezing. At this point, most of the trail is good, but there are many points with loose gravel and jagged lava. Hikers need to watch their footing.

Once hikers reach toward the top of Agassiz, the next nine miles are a slow down hill requiring little effort except for the mileage. However, the last stretch of the loop hooks into Kachina Trail where the rest of the hike is a roller coaster, meaning that hikers are often dropping down 300 feet only to climb back about the same amount before reaching the end.

Once hikers start down from Agassiz, the ferns start to appear. Once hikers find the Kachina Trail, the fern forests are overgrown as they hike right through them.

The Kachina Trail is 9.8 miles roundtrip for those who just want to do that hike.

Fred Stelbrink led our recent hike and Joel McMillin, from the Rocky Mountain Research Station, identified butterflies and moths along the way.

Once motorists reach the parking lot, there are port-a-potties as well as trash bins. These trails are all part of the Coconino National Forest system.

Resource Book: "Flagstaff Hikes" by Richard and Sherry Mangum.

Directions: From Flagstaff, go north on Humphreys Street for six-tenths of a mile. Turn left onto Highway 180. At 7.1 miles, turn left onto Snowbowl Road. At 13.7 miles, there is a large sign for the Humphreys Trail. Turn left into the parking area.

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Mapmaker continues quest to document indigenous cultures
New documentary focuses on Native American veterans on Navajo Nation
Letter to the editor: Where do children learn to speak fluent Navajo?
Delegate Edmund Yazzie continues work for Thoreau, N.M. clinic
Pirates of the Navajo Nation under attack

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Flagstaff, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

Find It Opinions Features Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
LB - Northland Motorsports

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Navajo-Hopi Observer is the information source for the Navajo and Hopi Nations and Winslow area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved