Kachina Trail #150
Kachina Trail #150 is located in Coconino National Forest, north of Flagstaff. The trail starts at a parking lot near Arizona Snowbowl, and ends connecting to the Weatherford Trail #102. It's about 12.5 miles (in and out) with minimal elevation gain / loss. Most consider the trail to be rated as easy to moderate difficulty.
We left Phoenix at roughly 4:30am and headed up to Flagstaff. The trip along i17 is always a treat, especially during dawn or dusk. Our arrival in Flagstaff was cold and crisp, it was 26ºF outside with blankets of frost covering the glades in the forest. After a quick stop in town, we headed to the trailhead.
We showed up at the parking lot around 7:30am and were the first ones there. The parking lot is huge, it can easily accommodate at least 50 vehicles. It may be used as overflow parking for Snowbowl. I digress. After grabbing our packs, we hit the trail.
Less than a mile in, we encountered the wilderness boundary. This is where the trail started to show its beauty. Much of the San Francisco Peaks contain large aspen groves. Kachina Trail #150 is an excellent place to experience this during autumn. Our visit was later in the season so the golden leaves were strewn about the forest floor.
There was also a sign-in box at the wilderness boundary. We flipped through the pages to see previous signatures of hiking groups. Most days seemed to yield less than two dozen groups. We were the first hikers of the day, so our names went in and we ventured into the aspens.
After several miles, the dense aspen forest opened up to a sparse pine forest. The views to the south were incredible, and the snow-covered peaks became visible (I don't think Humphreys Peak was though). A good portion of the middle part of the trail was in this environment. The changing environments makes this trail special.
The end of the trail (where it connects to Weatherford Trail #102) is a much different environment. Tons of ferns and fallen trees litter the forest floor. At this time, there was notable overcast which made it hard to get decent photos. We spent about 20 minutes here - had some quick snacks and simply enjoyed the solitude.
Our hike out was leisurely. We spent some time in the hammock and took some pictures. The aspens provide a great place for portraits, absolutely stunning.
We got back to the parking lot around 4:30pm and grabbed Raising Cane's in Flagstaff. Food is so delicious after a long hike. After another three hours of driving, we got back to Phoenix. It was a long day, but totally worth it.
Overall Kachina Trail #150 is a wonderful trail. If you are looking for a relatively easy hike in a beautiful environment that offer remarkable seclusion, then check out this trail!