Alpine'Esque Hikes Near Flagstaff/Sedona

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DrMoonunit
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City, State: PAULS VALLEY

Alpine'Esque Hikes Near Flagstaff/Sedona

Post by DrMoonunit » Feb 06 2020 2:41 pm

I will be around the Flagstaff area for nearly a week in mid march and i've been looking for a 1-2 night hike that is reminiscent of the Rockies. We will be day hiking at the Grand Canyon, around Sedona and what we can of the West Fork Trail. I've found the Abineau/Bear jaw loop and also the Cabin Loop Trail. Not sure if Abineau will be long enough. If all else fails I plan to head to the White Mountains and try the Baldy Loop. Do any of these destinations still have a lot of snow at higher altitudes in mid march? West Clear creek and similar areas look great but most of them talk about a lot of water crossings which aren't as fun that early in spring. Thank you for such a great resource and any information!

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chumley
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Re: Alpine'Esque Hikes Near Flagstaff/Sedona

Post by chumley » Feb 06 2020 3:06 pm

@DrMoonunit Most (if not all) the options you mentioned outside the Grand Canyon and Sedona hikes are difficult to access due to closed forest roads in winter.

Coconino road status is available here:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/coco ... width=full

Apache Sitgreaves is less thorough with their online road reports but you can check az511.com for the status going to Baldy since that’s technically a state highway.

It would be very unusual for the winter closures to be lifted in March and can often run to the end of April depending on winter snowfall.
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DrMoonunit
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Re: Alpine'Esque Hikes Near Flagstaff/Sedona

Post by DrMoonunit » Feb 06 2020 3:20 pm

chumley wrote: Most (if not all) the options you mentioned outside the Grand Canyon and Sedona hikes are difficult to access due to closed forest roads in winter.
Would I be better off visiting in May/June if half of my trip is planned around this? I'm super excited to see Flagstaff/Sedona and check out the Grand Canyon on a more up close scale but I don't want to run into a lot of closed of access outside of those areas. I'm coming from Oklahoma and thought about spending a few days in Carson/Santa Fe National Forest.

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chumley
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Re: Alpine'Esque Hikes Near Flagstaff/Sedona

Post by chumley » Feb 06 2020 3:52 pm

@DrMoonunit
The mountains of Arizona (as well as Carson/Santa Fe) will typically hold snow in the higher elevations into May. But it also gets warm in lower elevations by then. May in Sedona averages 85, June almost 95. But that's at 4,500 feet elevation.

May is usually beautiful around 7,000 feet (Flagstaff, Mogollon Rim). Baldy will likely be at or near freezing overnight with lingering snow drifts above 10,000 feet. Abineau - Bear Jaw is rarely backpacked because it's a relatively easy day hike. I can barely think of a place to set up camp that isn't on the Waterline road or the trailhead! There is no camping permitted in the Inner Basin anywhere or above 11,400 on all of the SF Peaks, so it limits the backpacking options in that area. The Cabin Loop is nice at that time of year, but doesn't really have that alpine feel you seem to be going for.

You could use the Kachina Trail to Weatherford (both on the south slopes so snow melts quicker in spring) and there are a few spots to camp before getting too high up. Weatherford once it reaches the Inner Basin can have snow into June and July. It varies greatly depending on snowfall though.

Here's an early May Kachina Weatherford loop I did a couple of years ago: [ photoset ]
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GarthNewby
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Re: Alpine'Esque Hikes Near Flagstaff/Sedona

Post by GarthNewby » Feb 07 2020 5:11 am

I just checked Snow Bowl temps there high today is 31. I with Chums, May. I hiked Mt Humphreys in August once and fought snow just below the peak.
Now is the time of year we hike in the desert. Lots of worthy options there.
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DrMoonunit
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Re: Alpine'Esque Hikes Near Flagstaff/Sedona

Post by DrMoonunit » Feb 07 2020 7:53 pm

A big thanks to all of you who responded.

After hearing about the amount of snow in the national forests I debated on heading west to the Smokies but I have ultimately decided on sticking with Flagstaff/Sedona. I've always wanted to see your majestic state from an on foot perspective and so I will. Even if I don't get my alpine fix. With that being said it seems like West Fork Trail, Devils Bridge, Soldier Pass and Cathedral Rock are some of the stand outs. Where can I hike that can keep me on trail for 1/2 nights? I can even split the trails up and do a night each. I even though about taking a detour and hitting up Gila National Forest on my way home for a night. I won't be hiking from sun up to sun down so my mileage will stay under 10 miles a day. I have gear to take me down to 20 degrees easily.

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