|Hiking||12.04 Miles|| 9 Hrs 41 Mns ||1.29 mph|
|1,995 ft AEG|| 20 Mns Break|
||no linked trail guides|
|This route is an alternate way to hike the beautiful Kachina trail which is so popular on hot summer days. We chose it because we wanted to do most of the uphill climb during the cooler, morning hours. The official trailhead is at the lowest Snowbowl parking lot, but we chose to start our hike at the lower end of the trail. We found no other hikers at the east end where we started, but heavy traffic at the upper end. We are senior citizens who enjoy solitude, observing and engaging with nature, and taking our time, so this approach was ideal for us.|
Take Snowbowl Rd. north from Hwy 180 and drive 2.4 miles to the marked right turn onto FR522, Friedlein Prairie Rd. Our posted route has a marker at this turning point. The road offers free dispersed camping spots, some with fire pits and flat tent sites, but no restrooms or water. At the end of the road about 4 miles in, there is a circular parking area and a trailhead marker. It was once a road that went all the way to the Weatherford trail, but motor vehicle access is now prohibited past this parking area. Hike 0.4 mi. east to the marker on the left for the Kachina trail, or an additional 0.3 mile to get to the Weatherford trail.
The entire length of the Kachina trail is in the Kachina Wilderness. Wilderness trails are not maintained, so expect some narrow, rough, rocky, footing as well as some steep ups and downs over boulder fields. There are a few large logs across the trail to step over or around. The meadows offer beautiful wildflowers and tall ferns up to 6 ft. You also pass through some heavily wooded areas with welcome shade. The best and most distant views to the south and west are just before the steep, rocky ascent up to the Snowbowl parking lot. The trail in the boulder areas is marked with cairns or logs, but in most places the heavy traffic has worn a distinct path that is easy to follow.
Before you plan a hike anywhere in this area it's best to check the Coconino Forest web site for area closures. For the month before our hike the Friedlein Prairie area was closed for timber cutting, and shortly after the Museum Fire closed a large area to the east. If there is a distant active fire, check the wind direction to make sure you are not breathing smoke all day.
||Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Golden-Beard Penstemon - f
Dalmatian Toadflax - f
Paintbrush - f
Yellow Sweet Clover
Silverstem Lupine - f
Richardson Geranium - f
Mountain Parsley (Mostly yellow, occasionally red) - f
Doubting Mariposa - f (in spots)
American Vetch - f
New Mexico Vervain
New Mexican Vervain
Rocky Mountain Iris