Super easy scenic loop
by Mountain Ginger
This 1.5 mile hike through hart prairie is great for those short on time or those who prefer scenery over adventure. It's also a good test route for elevation acclimation.
This hike is on the western face of a gigantic mountain range and is more prone to inclement weather than the southern and eastern faces. Check the conditions before you head out. If rain/ snow is forecasted, head out early. If strong winds are forecasted, stay home or be very, very cautious.
I rated this hike as 1.5 out of 5 difficulty assuming you're acclimated to elevations above 8,000 ft. Bring water, Tylenol, caffeine and a snack if you're not used to high elevations. My genius friend swears by smoking a cigarette before a high altitude hike because nicotine increases blood flow. Don't try it if your under 18 or if you're not a fan of lung disease.
Start at Humphreys summit/ Aspen nature loop TH (North side of parking lot - West of hart prairie lodge at Snowbowl. Views of Kendrick, Sitgreaves and Bill Williams mountains are visible from the trailhead and throughout the hike. The initial decline snakes westward in and out of aspen, cork bark fir and pine for .5 mi until its fork, (this is the loop) head left (Southwest)for .4 mi until you reach the Arizona trail junction. Head right (North)for about .25 mi to the aspen loop junction - make another right at the junction and it's .8 mi back to the trail head. This is kind of a technical description for such an easy hike, so basically just follow the signage clockwise, bring your binoculars and enjoy the view!
Water sources / history lesson
The Spanish Explorers called this place "Sierra sin agua" translation: mountain without water. Just about every major water source on the mountain is property of the Flagstaff municipalities. Don't expect any along the trail, however agua and carbonated sugar water can be purchased at Snowbowl's Hart prairie lodge of just East of the parking lot and trailhead.
It's possible to continue north or south along the Arizona trail from the Aspen nature trail, in which case camping is possible, permitted and praised.
Consider nearby FR 522, Freidlein Prairie. Designated sites are available.
2009-05-20 Mountain Ginger
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.