Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mt. Humphreys Trip Report by Debbie Woods

On 8/1, five hikers headed out to Flagstaff, Arizona to hike Humphreys Peak (12,633'), the highest summit in Arizona. We had to plan accordingly, since Arizona has a much more intense monsoon season than Las Vegas. Our plan was to find a campsite on the mountain and hike to the peak first thing Sunday morning.

We left Las Vegas at 10 am Saturday morning. After stopping in Flagstaff for lunch, we were on the trail at 3:30 pm that afternoon. There are no camping restrictions other than having to camp one mile from the trail head. We were told by some other backpackers that there were no campsites along the trail. We knew that we could build a site if we had to, so we trudged forward. Our determination paid off; there was a great campsite 2 1/2 miles up the trail. This site had room for about eight people and even had a fire ring.

In the morning we cleaned up camp and headed for the peak. There were many fires in the area that created some great photographs. We were at the summit by 8 am Sunday morning. The wind was chilly and only blowing at about 15 mph. By the time we began heading down, the wind was starting to pick up. We headed back to camp, picked up our backpacks, and headed down the mountain. We were at the car by 11 am. As we drove away, we all saw the dark clouds beginning to collect for Sunday’s storm.
The trail is 4.8 miles each way with 3,100' of elevation change. Because of the higher elevation, the day time temperature was right around 80. This is a beautiful trail that I would recommend everyone do at least once. To keep it beautiful and prevent further erosion, there is a $500 fine for hiking off trail. It is a very popular trail in Flagstaff and sees over 100 hikers on the average every weekend.

Notes: I did this hike about 10 years ago. It's a an easier hike than Charleston Peak. Due to gale force winds Humphreys is known for and the intense Monsoon season Arizona has, be mentally prepared to turn around.