Just north of Flagstaff stands the San Francisco Peaks. This dormant volcano rises to the highest point in Arizona: Humphreys Summit achieves an elevation of 12,643 feet. The SnowBowl Road takes you to the base of that mountain and then climbs its western slopes. The route ends at 9,500 feet at the lodge and parking lot of the SnowBowl ski area.
As you ascend this paved road you'll pass through thick forests before you break out into the mountain's high meadows. Watch for elk, mule deer, and wild turkey along the way.
Scenic overlooks near the top of the drive provide excellent views of the volcano field which created this mountain stretching off to the west. Now covered by rolling prairies and hardy forests, features of obvious volcanic origin such as Wild Bill Hill share the panorama with more massive features such as Kendrick Peak and the Hochderffer Hills.
(Photo: Large Panorama of the San Francisco Peaks as seen from Fort Valley at the base of Snowbowl Road. Photo taken on 3-24-10 by Brady Smith.)
At a Glance
||Flagstaff Ranger District 928-526-0866
Location: U. S. 180 leads north from Flagstaff, eventually to the Grand Canyon. Drive 7 miles north of Flagstaff on U.S. 180 and turn east on SnowBowl Road (FR 516). It's 8 miles to the end of the road at the ski area.
Click on map image for printable view.
Attractions: Hiking, Biking, Skiing, Wildlife watching, Fall colors, Photography
Driving Time: About 1 hour
Road Condition: All roads are paved and are plowed in winter but they can still become slippery. After winter storms, chains or four wheel drive may be required.