Aspen Loop Trail - Flagstaff, AZ

Fall is my favorite season. While living in Tucson I have desperately missed seeing the seasons change but lucky for me I can still go visit fall and not have to travel too far! 

It had been several years since I'd been to Flagstaff and I was way overdue for a trip there for fall colors. The last time I was there was October 2020 camping at Lockett Meadow for my annual solo birthday trip. Since that campground is still closed due to the wildfires last year, I decided to stay in town this time and do some day hiking while exploring downtown.

I tried to time it just right for peak colors, using the Flagstaff Leaf-ometer and the Fall Foliage Prediction Map. I decided to shoot for the 2nd week of October and I was right on the money! 

The trail that seemed to be at the top of every best hike list for fall colors was Aspen Loop Trail north of Flagstaff near Arizona Snowbowl at the base of Humphreys Peak, the tallest peak in Arizona at 12,637 feet. The trail was very, very popular, lots of people going to enjoy the beautiful scenery. I definitely recommend going there during the week (like me) because the weekends are a zoo.

The trail is considered easy, it is a fairly even dirt trail with some rocky spots but it's not steep. The most beautiful part of the trail was at the beginning, after you cross the open meadow you're immediately surrounded by towering aspen trees. The trail weaves through the grove for about 0.5 mile and then opens up again into the meadow. At this point most of the aspens are behind you but it's still a beautiful trail.


I was surprised to see the the trail intersects with the Arizona Trail! I always get excited when I see that trail sign. The trail loops around, connecting back to itself while winding through pine trees and other conifers. 



After you cross the meadow again and see Humphreys Peak in the distance, you're back in the enchanted land of the quaking aspens. I could not get over their bright colors. It did not feel real!

There are plenty of logs to sit on just off trail if you want to sit a while and just take in the fall scene. I did that for a little bit, trying to soak up all the fall that I could. The weather was absolutely perfect with just a chill in the air. I seriously planned this at the perfect time.

I wish I could hike this trail every year. The aspens were just so special and I'm glad I took the time to make this trip to see them. I hope you get to experience this beautiful trail too.


Aspen Loop Trail - Flagstaff, AZ

Date hiked: October 11, 2023

Total miles: 2.7 miles loop

Elevation Gain: 360 feet

Land Acknowledgement: Ancestral lands of the Navajo, Havasupai, Kaibab-Paiute and Hualapai peoples.

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