Easy Hikes In Flagstaff.

9 Short And Easy Hikes In Flagstaff, AZ

Flagstaff is a beautiful place to visit in Arizona especially if you are looking to escape 100 degree temperatures and enjoy some time in the outdoors. There are countless trails throughout this mountainous city, and even though Flagstaff is home to the tallest peak of all of Arizona, there are a handful of easy hikes in Flagstaff that make it effortless to hop on a trail and be on your way.

From towering pines to old abandoned homesteads, each of these trail options holds a little something special. No matter if you’re a beginner hiker or just looking for a beautiful evening adventure, any one of these hiking trails in Flagstaff will be a good choice.

In this post I’ll guide you through 9 of the best easy hikes in Flagstaff, what to expect on the trails, and provide area specific tips for a safe adventure. Get ready to add several new hikes to your bucket-list!

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Hiking In Flagstaff: Quick Facts

  • Be aware of the elevation change and how it can affect you. Flagstaff is at a higher elevation than Phoenix which means breathing can be more difficult, you’ll require more water, and you could fatigue quicker.
  • None of these hikes require a permit or additional fees. Enjoy!
  • Check the weather before your hike for it can drastically change at this elevation during any season.
  • July-September is monsoon season. You never want to be out during a storm so plan accordingly and watch for flooding for Flagstaff does get floods.
  • Parking is pretty limited so plan on arriving early in the morning or later in the evening to miss the late morning-midday crowds.
  • Flagstaff is very dog friendly, so naturally you’re able to bring along your furry friend on each of these trails! Don’t forget to bring enough water for them too.
  • Wildlife you may encounter are elk, deer, rattlesnakes, chipmunks, and plenty of lizards. Don’t approach or feed the wildlife.

Best Time Of Year For Hiking In Flagstaff

The best months for hiking in Flagstaff are March-October, pending weather of course. The thing about Flagstaff and the tall mountain peaks within is that the weather can be a bit unpredictable due to the higher elevation. Storms roll through out of nowhere, the temperature can drop drastically from area to area, and summer can still reach brutally hot temperatures. Not to mention parts of Flagstaff can flood during a heavy monsoon which typically happens July-September.

When planning your Flagstaff hike just be sure to check the weather ahead of time and arrive prepared for whatever nature throws at you!

Fall is prime time!

If you’re wanting to see some fall color Flagstaff is perfect for that. The colors typically start getting good within the first two weeks of October, and after that they fall fast. Usually by the end of October the trees are bare. You can expect traffic and crowds during this month! Keep reading for the top trails to hike during fall in Flagstaff.

Short and Easy Hikes In Flagstaff

Finally, in no special order are 9 short and easy hikes in Flagstaff that I am sure you’ll enjoy! I hope you’re able to find one that sparks interest and your adventure creates memories that will last.

Before we get started, I always suggest knowing where you are going ahead of time and having a way to keep yourself on trail. One way to do this is with a GPS system or app like Gaia GPS.

You can download all of my Flagstaff hikes and gain access to my library of all tracked hikes. Once downloaded, you can load it into your own trusty device for ease of mind!

1. Nate Avery Trail In Buffalo Park

Nate Avery Trail A Easy Hike In Flagstaff.

Distance | 2.06 miles
Time |
45-60 mins
Elevation Gain |
55 feet
Dog Friendly | Yes

One of the most accessible trails in all of Flagstaff is the Nate Avery Trail which is located in Buffalo Park, just a 6 minute drive from downtown. In my opinion the Nate Avery Trail is the easiest of all and great for a walk, jog, workout, picnic, you name it. If the 2.06 mile loop isn’t long enough you can loop twice, or three times, to get in mileage if that is what you are after.

The path is a wide, dirt trail that meanders under a quick patch of tree canopies which give way to the grassy fields providing views of the distant mountains. A large appeal to the park is the picture perfect backdrops it provides for professional photography. But I also like the fact the city has implemented mini workout stations along the way. If you’re looking to intensify your workout you can stop at any of the stations beside the path and test your skills on the monkey bars, balance beams, and more.

In the end I always recommend the Nate Avery Trail to out of towners, individuals looking to just get started with solo hiking, and even for families wanting to get some fresh air.

Map your directions here.

2. Aspen Nature Loop

East Hikes In Flagstaff- Aspen Nature Loop.

Distance | 2.32 miles
Time |
60-90 minutes
Elevation Gain |
297 feet
Dog Friendly | Yes

A local Arizona favorite is the Aspen Nature Loop located 25 minutes from downtown Flagstaff. The drive will take you up a windy road to Arizona Snowbowl in the San Francisco Peaks. Here the temperatures drop and afternoon storms commonly roll in, but the aspen trees stand tall and transport you into a surprisingly lavish wilderness. New visitors to Arizona are always surprised to find such a place exists here.

Aspen Nature Loop is an easy hike in Flagstaff that is a must during fall, spring, or summer. During the fall the crowds can get heavy but if you’re an early riser you may find a moment of solitude as you peer up at the golden yellow leaves. During spring and summer the wildflowers pop, adding some color to the green palette of leaves and tall grass.

If you only have time for one hike while visiting Flagstaff I’d recommend the Aspen Nature Loop. It is the biggest bang for your buck and will provide a different experience than the hikes at lower elevations.

Map your directions here.

Read the full trail guide: Hiking The Aspen Nature Loop In Flagstaff

3. Alfa Fia Tank

Alfa Fia Tank, An Easy Hike In Flagstaff.

Distance | 1.0 mile
Time |
30-45 mins
Elevation Gain |
183 feet
Dog Friendly | Yes

While you’re in the Snowbowl area I highly suggest stopping by Alfa Fia Tank. It is a short hike clocking in at exactly 1 mile out and back and does indeed host a tank of water at the end. I wasn’t expecting it to be so beautiful here!

Once you loop around the tank of water you’ll see the edges become a bit mucky and buggy, but when you view the tank of water from a distance, with the mountain ranges as a backdrop, it sure is a breathtaking sight in person. I still suggest looping around the tank because from the opposite side you’re able to see Humphrey’s Peak, the tallest peak in Arizona.

To reach Alfa Fia Tank there will be a wooden sign that says ‘Aspen Corner’ on the side of the main road leading to Snowbowl. The trailhead isn’t marked at the parking lot so if you don’t know to look for it it can be easy to miss. Just take the trail that leads from the parking lot and keep left once you see an actual sign with a map!

Map your directions here.

Read the full trail guide: Alfa Fia Tank Loop- An Easy Hike In Flagstaff

4. Veit Springs Loop

Easy Hikes In Flagstaff- Veit Springs Loop.

Distance | 1.80 miles
Time | 60-90 minutes
Elevation Gain | 172 feet
Dog Friendly | Yes

If you’re a bit of a history nerd like I am then you’ll love Veit Springs Loop! This trial holds a few hidden remnants of an abandoned homestead from the late 1800’s. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even hunt for the few petroglyphs visible on a rock wall nearby. There is a small social trail that brings you to the area and if your eyes are sharp you’ll be able to see them no problem.

Like the Aspen Nature Loop and Alfa Fia Tank, Veit Springs Loop is located right off the main Snowbowl road. There is a dedicated parking space at the trailhead but it isn’t well marked or large at all. Only a handful of cars can fit for you’re basically parking on the shoulders of an old road that is blocked off with a gate.

Beyond the gate will be a sign for Veit Springs Loop! Make sure to have a map on your phone with you for there are many trails that intersect here and it can get confusing. If you take a wrong turn you could end up hiking much more than 1.8 miles. I highly suggest starting the loop counter-clockwise!

Map your directions here.

Full trail guide coming soon!

If you need help finding the hidden gems…

Don’t forget you can subscribe to my blog and gain access to my GPX file library! My tracks are available for download so you can import it into you own GPS to follow and stay on track.

5. Kachina Trail #150

Kachina Trail, An Easy Hike In Flagstaff.

Distance | 1-10 miles
Time | 1-5 hours
Elevation Gain | 528-1,528 feet
Dog Friendly | Yes

The Kachina Trail #150 can arguably be considered a moderate hike and I’d agree if you plan on doing the entire trail. However you can hike in as far as you’d like and turn around, therefore making this an easy hike if you so choose!

Don’t worry about not completing the entire trail for there isn’t an ‘end destination’ or any big ‘photo op’ along the way. Kachina Trail intersects with other trails that lead you deeper into the wilderness so no matter what you’ll have to turn around unless you plan on doing an insane amount of mileage. But that is not to say this trail isn’t beautiful. Kachina Trail is still worth a visit especially early-late morning when the sun is peeking through the tree tops. This area is green and lush during the summer and golden yellow during the fall!

Just like the previous two hikes Kachina Trail is located off the Snowbowl road, on the right hand side, just before you actually reach the ski resort. That puts this at a bit of a higher elevation than the others and you may feel it because this trail very gradually decreases in elevation as you hike. It isn’t anything drastic and is slight, but if you’re not used to the elevation or out of shape you’ll definitely feel it once you turn around to hike back out.

When I hiked Kachina Trail last I only did 2.25 miles in which is 4.5 miles total with an elevation gain of 528 feet. Use this to gauge how much you want to hike!

Map your directions here.

Full trail guide coming soon!

6. Mars Hill Trail

Mars Hill Loop, Easy Hike In Flagstaff.

Distance | 3.04 miles
Time |
1-1.5 hours
Elevation Gain |
396 feet
Dog Friendly | Yes

With Mars Hill Trail you’re trading the tall Aspen’s for Ponderosa Pine which smell absolutely amazing if I may add. This easy hike is a go to for Flagstaff locals because it is so close to the city. It isn’t uncommon to see local’s using it as a morning workout throughout the year. You can take a leisure walk, hike, or even run to intensify your workout. Regardless it is a great option for enjoying the outdoors.

The hike up Mars Hill begins from Thorpe Park which provides parking across the street from the actual trailhead. The trail is more of a wide, relaxingly gradual trail that climbs to the top of Mars Hill. Once at the top you can retrace your steps back to the trailhead or connect to other trails if you prefer to complete a loop. Overall it is a good one for families and pets because of the ease of access and serene area it traverses through. You’ll find this trail offers plenty of shade and the potential for some beautiful wildflowers during the summer!

Map your directions here.

Full trail guide coming soon!

7. Fatman’s Loop Trail

Easy Hikes In Flagstaff- Fatmans Loop.

Distance | 2.5 miles
Time | 1
-2 hours
Elevation Gain |
560 feet
Dog Friendly | Yes

Another easily accessible trail is Fatman’s Loop just 15 minutes from downtown Flagstaff. While most people consider this a moderate trail I still think it is easy. As a beginner hiker you’ll be searching for hikes around 500 feet or less in elevation gain. Fatman’s Loop has you climbing 560 feet in elevation which isn’t too far off. So, I added it to the list for those who are are looking for an easy hike but don’t mind a little bit of a gain and climbing a rock here or there.

Overall the trail is easy to follow as it loops up and around a portion of Elden Mountain’s base. There aren’t many open views along this trail for the trees block most of it, but if you climb one large boulder in particular (pictured above), you just may be able to look out and see parts of Flagstaff.

The vegetation along Fatman’s Loop quickly varies as you hike from the base to the slopes of Elden Mountain. Feel free to hike the loop either way for I don’t believe one is easier than the other. And no matter which way you choose there will be some sun exposure so pack all the essentials!

Map your directions here.

Full trail guide coming soon!

8. Tom Moody Loop

Tom Moody Loop- Easy Hikes In Flagstaff.

Distance | 3.8 miles
Time | 1.5-2 hours
Elevation Gain | 247 feet
Dog Friendly | Yes

For a high chance of seeing some wildlife (from a safe distance, of course), hike the Tom Moody Loop in the early morning at sunrise or just after. When I hiked this easy flagstaff hike I was able to witness a ginormous Elk herd emerge from the trees, cross the trail, and continue out into an open field. It was a beautiful experience!

The reason you’ll likely see some wildlife here is because Tom Moody Loop is located in Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve which provides a year-round water source for wildlife animals. The preserve also protects Sinagua petroglyphs and ruins of an ancient pit house left behind. Needless to say this area is jam packed with history and nature, making it the perfect stop for visitors and locals.

It is hard to believe that such a place exists so close to Flagstaff, too! The drive from downtown Flagstaff to Picture Canyon is about 18 minutes. Not bad for a chance at some solitude and to witness Flagstaff’s only waterfall!

Map your directions here.

Full trail guide coming soon!

9. Red Mountain Trail

Red Mountain Trail, Flagstaff.

Distance | 2.91 miles
Time | 1-1.5 hours
Elevation Gain | 306 feet
Dog Friendly | Yes

40 minutes north east from downtown sits one of the most unique and easy hikes in Flagstaff- Red Mountain Trail. The drive is a bit far but it is still considered Flagstaff and hear me out because if you love rocks this one is for you.

Red Mountain is the aftermath of a volcanic eruption that happened roughly 740,000 years ago. It is a volcanic cinder cone featuring a large u-shaped amphitheater and rises 1,000 feet into the sky. This entire area is part of the San Francisco Volcanic Field and is unique in the fact the cinder cones are exposed while most throughout northern Arizona are not. We have years and years of erosion to thank for that.

You’re able to hike right up to the amphitheater and explore around the hoodoos to witness the volcanic rock for yourself. While the trail is dog friendly there is one short ladder section that will require assistance for most.

Map your directions here.

Read the full trail guide: Hike Red Mountain Trail To Volcanic Hoodoos In Flagstaff

Final Thoughts On The Easy Hikes In Flagstaff

I can’t believe it took me this long to round up a handful of options for easy hikes in Flagstaff! Typically when I visit and hike Flagstaff I choose longer, more difficult trails to justify the 2 hour drive from Phoenix. But little did I know all this time I was missing out on some hidden gems.

It is hard to choose a favorite, but if I had to I’d choose Aspen Loop as the ‘must do’ while you’re in town. After that, I’d make it a point to see Veit Springs Trail and the Tom Moody Loop. And if you wanted a short one for some sunset photos, I have a hunch Alfa Fia Tank would be beautiful as the sun goes down and reflects off the water.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve hiked any of these Flagstaff hikes before, or are adding them to your itinerary!

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