Start of Aspen Loop trail through woods

Hiking the Aspen Loop trail in Flagstaff, AZ

Located near the Snowbowl Ski Resort in Flagstaff, Arizona, the Aspen Loop trail is a short and sweet hike which takes adventurers through gorgeous aspen trees, meadows of wildflowers and epic views of Humphreys Peak.

In this guide:

Aspen Loop Trail Stats

Trail DescriptionOut and back (with a loop in the middle)
LocationAspen Loop Trail
Parking LotAspen Loop/Humphreys Peak Trail Parking, Base Lot 1, Arizona Snowbowl, Flagstaff, AZ, 86001
Round Trip Mileage~2.5 miles
Average Time1 to 1.5 Hours  
Elevation Gain~330
Elevation Start~9,278
Best time to visitJune through October
Amenities at the TrailheadParking, trail map / information board, primitive bathrooms.
Entrance FeeNone
Rating4.5 Mooses

What to expect along the Aspen Loop Trail (our experience)

We were looking for an easy hike to round out our day after playing a round disc golf at the Snowbowl Ski Resort and riding the scenic gondola.

We arrived at the large parking area of lot #1 near the ski resort, and set off to explore the Aspen Loop trail.

Humphreys Trail Start Mileage Marker Sign
Start of Aspen Loop and Humphreys trail

The trail begins on a wide gravel path through a meadow and past several ski chairlifts. 

Start of Aspen Loop Trail Snowbowl Ski Resort Flagstaff Arizona
Path begins wide and flat on hard pack dirt and gravel

In the summer, you’ll find a variety of wildflowers, unique foliage and wildlife (mostly birds) throughout the meadow area. 

Aspen Loop Trail
Meadow teeming with wildflowers and birds

A short distance up the trail, you’ll come to a fork. To the right you’ll find the path to summit Humphreys Peak.

Related: Summiting Humphreys Peak: the highest peak in Arizona

Aspen Loop Humphreys Peak Trail Fork

Keep to the left and you’ll follow a path towards a large grove of aspen trees and the Aspen Loop trail.

Aspen grove of trees
Aspen grove in the distance

The trail will begin to descend gently towards the aspen grove.

Appoaching Apsen Trees along Aspen Nature Trail
Approaching the aspen grove
Aspen tree line along Aspen Nature Loop Trail
Almost to the tree line
Start of Aspen Loop trail through woods
Entering the aspens

The aspen forest was our favorite part of this hike. We were lucky to visit in the late afternoon when the sun was shining down through the trees.

Aspen grove along Aspen Loop trail Flagstaff, AZ

We were disappointed to find many of the trees had carvings in them.

This seems to be a fairly common theme in both birch and aspen trees. We found this on our hike to Mary Jane Falls in Nevada.

Aspen tree with graffiti
I guess Dave Hall visited on 8/24/85. Wtf Dave? Poor tree.
Aspen Trees
Aspen trees

After leaving the aspen tree grove, you’ll pass a wide-open field. For the Zelda BOTW fans out there, I’m sure a korok is hiding somewhere, or maybe a lynel.

Field along Aspen Loop Trail Flagstaff AZ
Field after leaving the tree line

Keep your eyes peeled for more wildflowers and possible butterflies.

Butterfly along Aspen Loop Trail
Butterfly along Aspen Loop trail
Orange Wildflowers
Wildflowers along Aspen Loop trail

You may see a faint trail leading back towards Humphreys Peak and where you started. While it was a more direct path to the parking area, this was the old trail and is no longer accessible.

Snowbowl Ski Resort
Looking back towards Humphreys

Continuing on, you’ll finally reach the loop portion of the trail.

Aspen Nature Loop trail sign

We decided to go right, but you can easily go left around the loop.

Aspen loop nature trail
The path leading to the right on the loop

On the back part of the loop, you’ll intersect with the Arizona Trail. Depending on which way you traverse the loop, you’re run into a sign pointing north towards Utah and then one south pointing towards Mexico.

The Arizona trail is an 800-mile trail that traverses from Mexico to Utah.

Trail fork to Arizona Trail
Fork to Arizona Snowbowl

Continue following signs for the Arizona Snowbowl or the Aspen Loop Trail to stay on your path of travel.

Aspen Loop Trail Flagstaff, Arizona
Aspen Nature Trail Flagstaff Arizona
The back part of the loop

Continue to follow the loop trail.

Aspen loop trail near snowbowl ski resort
Along the Aspen Loop trail
Path along Aspen Loop Trail

After completing the loop, you’ll need to back track the way you came through the aspen forest and ultimately to the parking area.

Is hiking the Aspen Loop trail worth it?

Rating: 4.5 Mooses

What we liked:

  • The best part of the hike was the first half through the aspen trees. The sunlight was spilling through, creating an amazing and beautiful experience.
  • There were a bunch of birds flying through the meadows area and a plethora of different colored wildflowers.

What we didn’t like:

  • The second portion of the trail on the loop was a bit of a letdown after the aspen tree area.
  • We were disappointed in all of the carvings in the aspen trees.

Verdict: Overall, it was a nice hike and we’re glad we went.

Purple Wildflower

Practical Information for your Hike

Current trail conditions

  • Check Snowbowl (elevation 9,500’) for current conditions at the mountain base including road conditions to parking area. 
  • Check Mountain Forecast for the weather forecast.  (We used for our weather report and found it to be accurate the day we visited.  It is also the official website at the Humphreys Peak trailhead which can be accessed via a QR code.

What to bring

Be sure to check the weather conditions and pack appropriately.  This is what we brought for this hike:

Standard Gear:

Special Items of note:

  • Hiking Boots or closed toe shoes – The trail was well established, but we recommend wearing hiking boots or trail shoes.
  • Clothing – Be sure to bring appropriate clothing for rapidly changing conditions on the mountain.  Weather can change extremely fast, especially during monsoon season.
  • Water / Snacks – Keep in mind that when hiking at higher altitudes you generally need more water than normal.   Bring extra snacks! 
  • Navigation – We used Alltrails for navigation, however we felt the trail was well marked and we didn’t end up needing it.

Parking for Aspen Loop trailhead

The Aspen Loop / Humphreys Peak trailheads parking area is located at Lot 1 at the base of the Snowbowl Ski Resort.  It is the first parking area you come to as you’re traveling up N Snow Bowl Rd and will be on your left.  The lot is extremely large and we had no trouble finding parking. 

Humphreys Peak Trailhead Parking Lot #1
Parking lot #1 for Humphreys / Aspen Loop trailheads

The parking lot contains an informational sign board, primitive restrooms, and a trash receptacle. 

Aerial view of lot

Entrance Fees

There are no fees during the summer months to park at the Snowbowl parking areas. 

Getting to Aspen Loop trailhead

Location:  Humphreys Peak Trail Parking

From Flagstaff:

  • Drive north on:  N Humphreys St.
  • Turn Left on US-180 West / W Colombus Ave / N Fort Valley Rd
  • After 6.6 miles, turn Right onto N Snow Bowl Road
  • Follow for another 6.5 miles
  • Turn Left into parking lot 1 for Humphreys Peak Trailhead

Trail Maps

Aspen Loop Trail Map
Trail map for Aspen Loop
New Aspen Loop Trail Official Map
Official trail map at trailhead

Trailhead Amenities

  • Parking area in a gravel lot, well-marked
  • Trail Information and trail map
  • Primitive Restrooms
  • Trash Receptacle
Lot 1 Parking Snowbowl Humphreys Trailhead

More information for your trip to Flagstaff, AZ