The Flagstaff area is renowned for its hundreds of miles of trails, ranging from easy walks to treks geared to experienced hikers. When fall rolls around and the temperatures get brisk, there’s no better chance to take in the stunning views of mountains, wildlife, wildflowers, and aspen groves as they hit their color peak.
- The Lamar Haines Memorial Wildlife Area is the definition of kid-friendly. It’s a loop through the foothills that’s just 1.6 miles long but has terrific views of nature and numerous attractions to keep the crew’s attention, including springs and petroglyphs.
- Wilson Meadow in Hart Prairie is just a bit longer at 2 miles round-trip, but equally suited for those with kids in tow. As you’d guess from the name, the meadow is the main feature of the hike, but there are also plenty of opportunities to view the aspens as they turn a brilliant gold.
- Located near the base of Arizona Snowbowl, Aspen Nature Trail is always a well-traveled favorite during foliage season. As loop that’s around 2 miles long, this hike is an easy one, even at an elevation of 9,000 feet.
- Flagstaff’s most spectacular fall foliage hike, and one of the best in the West, Inner Basin makes a 1,500-foot climb over 1.7 miles through seemingly endless golden aspen groves. Be forewarned that this hike isn’t a secret—the weekends get busy!
- As the Slate Mountain Trail winds around towards the summit, hikers are treated to views across the San Francisco Peaks, Kendrick Mountain, and Red Mountain—and even the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Painted Desert in the farther distance. It’s a gradual 2.4-mile climb on a former jeep track, and the perfect excuse to bring a picnic lunch to reward your group at the top.
- The Abineau–Bear Jaw Loop isn’t the longest hike of the bunch, but it will get your heart pumping. It’s a 7.2-mile loop on the north face of the San Francisco Peaks with elevations ranging from 8,500 feet to over 10,000. Along the way, you’ll be gazing at views of the evergreen woodlands of Abineau Canyon and the aspens of Bear Jaw Canyon.
- Kachina Trail is a 10.4-mile roundtrip out-and-back hike on the southern edge of the San Francisco Peaks. You’ll roll through a variety of terrain, including high-altitude forest, alpine meadows, canyons, lava cliffs, aspens, and the most enormous ferns you’ve ever seen—with some epic panoramic views looking out over Flagstaff to boot.
Grab your water bottle and some power bars, lace up those hiking boots, and enjoy the views before it’s time to get out the skis, snowboards, and ice skates!