Arizona Trail Passage 34: San Francisco Peaks

Area Status: Open
This area is Open
 

Junction of the Arizona Trail (AZT-34) with Bismarck Lake Trail

The San Francisco Peaks Passage (AZT-34) of the Arizona National Scenic Trail (aztrail.org) skirts around the southern and western flanks of the San Francisco Peaks. This passage is 36 miles long, traversing between the southern trailhead at Schultz Pass and the northern trailhead at Cedar Ranch.

 

Schultz Pass to Aspen Loop

At the southern end, the trail is accessed 50 yards or so up Weatherford Trail from the trailhead. The gently rolling trail meanders through ponderosa pine forest for approximately 5 miles, crossing Snowbowl Road at 7600' elevation. The trail climbs approximately 1500' feet over the next 5 miles to the Arizona Snowbowl area. The trail joins Aspen Loop trail less than a mile later. The Snowbowl is approximately a mile up Aspen Loop Trail.

Aspen Loop to Bismarck Lake Trail (and Hart Prairie)

From the junction with Aspen Loop Trail, the Arizona Trail descends gently for 2 miles, crosses Hart Prairie, continuing another 0.5 miles to the junction with Bismarck Lake Trail. Bismarck Lake is less than 0.5 mile from the junction. The lake is in a large, very picturesque meadow with stunning Peaks views, and provides opportunities for spotting elk, deer, and other wildlife.

This segment offers fantastic views of Agassiz and Humphreys Peaks (the two highest peaks in Arizona), as well as views west towards Kendrick Peak and across Hart Prairie. Start at the Aspen Loop or Bismarck Lake trailhead for a memorable day hike, bike, or ride. These are wonderful for hiking and biking kids: start at Bismark Lake Trail, which is closer to Hart Prairie, and will be a downhill trip back to the trailhead. 

Bismarck Lake Trail to Cedar (Babbitt) Ranch

The trail descends, crossing the junction with a spur trail (an old road) to Little Spring. Little Spring is approximately 0.5 miles along this old road, and is generally a reliable water source. The trail crosses FR 418, passes to the southwest of the White Horse Hills, and heads to Kelly Tank. The trail continues a gradual descent, passing other tanks and often following roads as it makes its way north towards Missouri Bill Hill. From here, it swings west towards Cedar Ranch, where the trail leaves the Coconino National Forest and this passage ends.

 

View photos from this trail [Flicker]

At a Glance

Usage: Medium
Best Season: Late spring through fall
Busiest Season: Summer and weekends
Closest Towns: Flagstaff, Arizona
Water: No drinking water. Springs may be running.
Restroom: Weatherford Trailhead
Information Center: See the Arizona National Scenic Trail website (aztrail.org) for official maps, directions to trailheads, and trail information for this and other passages.

General Information

Directions:

See the Arizona National Scenic Trail website (aztrail.org) for official maps, directions to trailheads, and trail information for this and other passages.

GPS

  • Southern Trailhead at Schultz Pass (map): 35°17'16.3"N 111°37'36.9"W
  • Northern Trailhead at Cedar Ranch (map): 35°32'50.5"N 111°46'58.7"W

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Location

 
  Area/Length : 
36

  Latitude : 
35.286873

  Longitude : 
-111.626660

  Elevation : 
7500 - 9000

 



https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=81642&actid=50