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Kachina Trail
May 22, 2022
by Stan Bindell
photos by Li Li
  GPS Map 
Trailblazers at the log.
Ken, Chris, Stan, Lisa, Li, Tom

Hiking the Kachina Trail is different this time of year than either the thick of summer or the fall. This time of year a lot of fallen trees dot the trail from the winter storms and few flowers are out. The ferns are also small. Later in the summer, flowers and butterflies will be out and some of the ferns will be well over six feet tall. In the fall, the colors of the leaves on the aspens will have hikers in awe.

Six Arizona Trailblazers took the 11.4 mile hike on Kachina Trail to the Weatherford Trail junction. Beauty and diversity make the Kachina Trail in Flagstaff one of the best hikes in the state.

Many hikers on this trail give it a “wow.” I have been on this trail with my grandson Scott Johnson and he puts it in perspective by calling it National Geographic quality.

Aspens are abundant on the Kachina Trail. Sometimes lining the trail and often giving hikers a respite in the shade. Fir and spruce are also abundant on Kachina Trail, but they don’t stand out like the aspen.

The trail starts at more than 9,350 feet in elevation. It often dips down to 8,800—there are many ups and downs. One of the 200 foot climbs coming out in the sun made for a huff and puff. This hike is rated as ‘hard’ in the Flagstaff Hikes book by Richard and Sherry Mangum, but the trees give plenty of shade for breaks, and hikers can turnaround whenever they want.

The Kachina hooks into trails leading to Doyle Saddle to the left or Friedlein Prairie Road at the Weatherford junction.

The trail can be rugged due to its rocky terrain and some scree on parts of the trail, but most of the trail is clear. Proper footwear for this trail is important. Use hiking boots, not sneakers.

About one mile into the hike, a Kachina Peaks wilderness sign pops up. A bit after the wilderness sign on Kachina Trail comes the most rocky part of the trail and a short time after that a small cave appears for another shady break and the temperature cools by a good 15 degrees inside the cave.

Kachina Peaks Wilderness sign.
Trailblazers at the cave.
Chris, Tom Li, Ken, Lisa, Stan
Trailside flowers.
Li made it to the sign.

Lupines, firecracker penstemon and wild irises are among the flowers found on Kachina Trail during the summer.

The scenic views are also incredible. Whenever there is a break in the trees Flagstaff can be seen below and Doyle and Freemont Peaks can be seen above. There are some areas on the trail where there were burnt out trees, but those areas also offered great views.

Butterflies including the Swallowtail and some horned toads are also found here later in the summer.

yellow yellow
Golden flowers cheer us,
The scenery is magnificent!

Horses are allowed on the trial, but one sign warns that it is a rugged trail for horses. Some of the hikers had their dogs with them.

Of course, the higher elevation means cooler temperatures during a recent hot spell.

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated May 29, 2022