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
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.