Crisp air. Cool water. The heady scent of moist earth and fragrant Ponderosa pine. Mormon Lake is one of the most pristine and picturesque hiking areas in the Coconino National Forest, with around 13 miles of linked hiking trails plus numerous meadows and ponds. Tall evergreens provide shade on warmer summer days, while fall and winter hikes at 7,000+ feet test your endurance.
Mormon Lake Lodge offers 300 acres of land to explore. Private cabins are available for nightly rentals, and trail maps provided to help guests navigate the surrounding wilderness. If you’re looking to get out and experience the diversity of nature and wildlife in Northern Arizona, here are 5 favorite trails near Mormon Lake and Flagstaff.
This clearly marked trailhead begins across from Mormon Lake Lodge. It’s an easy walk from the entry point in the thickets of brush through meadows and tall pine bluffs. Expect to encounter birds, squirrels and other wildlife as you make your way up the ridge to a clearing and down towards a natural spring area that’s home to colorful foliage. Turn around at Navajo Spring, or press on towards the Arizona Trail System for a longer day hike.
The #1 rated local trail on AllTrails.com, this 9.5-mile trek is one of two routes up Arizona’s tallest mountain. The trailhead is at Arizona Snowbowl, with the path gradually climbing towards the saddle. Markings here can be difficult to see. Humphrey’s Peak Trail is rated moderate to difficult thanks to rocky, loose soil and steep inclines. It’s worth braving unsure footing and low oxygen levels (the summit is around 13,000 feet) for breathtaking panoramic views of the Grand Canyon and White Mountains.
If you need a breather after Humphrey’s, this 1-mile jaunt takes visitors around the site of a meteor impact that happened about 50,000 years ago. It’s an easy in-and-out walk through a popular birdwatching spot to the rim of the crater and back. Sadly, you can’t climb down into the massive hole, but the impressive view and Visitors Center are worth checking out while you’re staying at Mormon Lake.
This easy to moderate hike was cheekily named for volcanic rock formations that narrow, making for a tight fit as you pass through. Otherwise, Fatmans Loop is a relatively easy walk for families and casual hikers. Tall stands of white fir and Ponderosa pine provide shade for flowering plants and animals such as ground squirrels, mule deer and ravens. Continue up the connecting Elden Lookout Trail for a more challenging 2-mile route up to the mountain’s summit.
5. Passage #30
Craving a longer endurance hike? Part of the Arizona Trail System, the 30+ mile Passage #30 near Mormon Lake offers numerous opportunities for full-day hiking, including the 17.8-mile run from Mayflower Spring to Marshall Lake. Head north from the trailhead towards the railroad track, where you’ll find meadows and small patches of woods with scattered views of the San Francisco Peaks. There are plenty of crossings and entry points along Passage #3030, so you can head out whenever your tootsies are tired.
The 48th state isn’t just about the Grand Canyon. With gorgeous summer weather, changing leaves in fall and myriad recreational opportunities, Northern Arizona is a haven for hikers. From mind-blowing craters to flowery meadows and towering mountains, the area around Mormon Lake boasts photo-worthy scenery and challenging hikes for every experience level.