What are Arizona’s highest points? Arizona has at least 29 mountain peaks that reach a height of more than 10,000 feet. Some of Arizona’s highest points are Humphreys Peak, Agassiz Peak, Freemont Peak, Aubineau Peak, Rees Peak, Doyle Peak, Mount Baldy, Escudilla Mountains, Mount Gram, Chiricahua Peak, and Kendrick Peak just to name a couple of handfuls. Most of these peaks can be reached by vehicle or by hiking. They’re usually thickly forested and abundant with wildlife. We’ll look at a few of the most popular ones below.
A land brimming with natural beauty and majestic landmarks, Arizona has nearly every type of landscape a traveler seeks. Mostly famous for its majestic Grand Canyon, it also has several high peaks and summits which draw travelers from around the world all year long. They come for hiking, exploring, or just to take in the exhilarating views from the high peaks. In this article, we’ll take a brief look at some of the highest points in Arizona.
On a clear day hikers can see the Grand Canyon from the top of this dormant volcano. Here in Arizona, one of the highest points is Humphreys Peak which has an elevation of 12,633 feet. At a distance of about 11 miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona Humphreys Peak is part of the San Francisco Mountains, in the Kachina Peaks Wilderness in the Coconino National Forest. In the summer, fall, and spring months one major attraction of Humphreys Peak is that it’s one of the highest summits to hike. Humphreys Summit Trail starts at the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort and to get to the summit it can be quite windy and cold and also recommended that only experienced hikers hike it. The trail is around 10 miles and steep and rocky. The whole hike could take around 6-8 hours in the summer months, free of charge but its well worth your effort as the views are spectacular.
Are you coming in the winter months? No worries because Humphreys Peak is a ski lovers paradise! The town of Flagstaff is still really busy this time of year with all the visitors coming from the valley and surrounding areas to enjoy the fresh powder and bright sun.
Located in the San Francisco mountains is Agassiz peak, which is another one of the highest points in Arizona at an elevation of 12,356 feet. Agassiz peak has been given a specific status known as ‘threatened with critical habitat’, which was granted in 1983. What does this mean? The state is trying to restore the habitat in that area so it means that this makes off-trail hiking illegal. Unlike Humphreys peak, hiking is restricted here and the only time it’s allowed is in the winter when the ground is covered with snow. Agassiz Peak is about 14 miles away from Flagstaff and it’s right next to Humphreys Peak. Actually, people often get the two mountains confused.
San Francisco mountains also have a few other high points such as Fremont Peak, which is 11,946 feet, Rees Peak which is 11,444 feet, and Doyle Peak which is 11,440 feet. Rees Peak is known for its Bristlecone Pine tree which is one of the oldest species of trees on earth. Doyle Peak has a continuous Aspen belt found on it. Last is Aubineau Peak. It’s steep and at an elevation of 11,818 feet, it’s the fourth highest peak in Arizona. All these are popular among hikers.
Mount Baldy is in Apache County in eastern Arizona and it’s the fifth-highest peak in the State. It is within the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and has a summit elevation close to 11,409 feet.
Mount Baldy is considered a sacred site for the Apache Tribe of Arizona, with a history going back many centuries. Mount Baldy is at the headwaters of both the Salt River and the Little Colorado River. Needless to say, this area is brimming with wildlife both in the water and outside along its shores and mountainside. If you are an avid hiker there is a good chance that you’ve heard about Mount Baldy. Tons of hikers visit Mount Baldy every month as it provides a great training hike for those who want to hone their hiking and mountaineering skills. The name Mount Baldy is probably because there is a lack of trees on the summit making it look bald. The best time to visit Mount Baldy is during fall, spring, and summer.
Located between Springerville and Alpine, at an elevation of 10,916 feet. Escudilla Mountain is located in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona and is very close to the New Mexico border. It’s the third highest mountain in Arizona and was at one time volcanic in origin.
The name Escudilla is Spanish for ‘a small bowl’ so more than likely it got its name with that word picture mostly because of its shape. It has great trails used by hikers and has spectacular views from the summit of New Mexico. While the sites on the trail might not be as picturesque as Humphreys or Mount Baldy, Escudilla mountain is filled with Aspens, Douglas Firs, grassy meadows, and if you hit it at the right time beautiful wildflowers. Don’t forget about sighting those animals such as the occasional black bear, elk, deer, coyote, squirrels, and the all elusive mountain lion. Interestingly enough the Mexican grey wolf was reintroduced to this area a few years back so keep your eyes peeled for that unique predator as they are still on the endangered species list.
Mount Graham is about 70 miles northeast of Tucson in Graham County in the Coronado National Forest and part of the Pinaleño Mountains and is now a part of the San Carlos Apache reservation, but in 1872 it was taken away by the federal government. It’s about 10,800 feet and referred to by locals as the ‘High Peak’ with a fun fact that its the southernmost peak and surrounding land area in the continental United States above 10,000 feet.
Mount Graham also has an observatory called the Mount Graham International Observatory where large telescopes have been set up for different observatories by multiple organizations. Mount Graham also has wild species of flora and fauna considered valuable by native American groups. The Mount Gram Red Squirrel which is a threatened species are unique to the habitat here. Many different species are trout too, so bring those fishing poles with you. Though not as popular among hikers because of a lack of interesting views, it is still visited and climbed because of its height.
This peak was formed due to a volcanic eruption a long ago. Located in the Chiricahua Mountains in the southeast of Arizona, its the highest point in Cochise county. There is a wide range of super unique hiking opportunities in the Chiricahua mountains and the trail to the summit of Chiricahua Peak is popular because it is an easy climb and has a range of half-day hikes to overnight hikes that are available.
One of the notable attractions here is the Chiricahua National Monument where the erosion over the years has led to very unique rock formations which are called spires and hoodoos. Chiricahua Peak has an elevation of around 9,759 ft and the reason why the climb is easy.
Kendrick peak is on the highest peaks north of the city of Flagstaff in Coconino county. Standing at a height of 10,425 feet. Its primarily located in the volcanic field and is one of the largest volcanoes of the San Francisco peaks. It has excellent views along the trail to the peak and considered a perfect site for backpacking and perfect for having a good old’ picnic. On a clear day, the hike has views of the Grand Canyon and can be accessed by cars and other vehicles. There is also an original and intact lookout cabin built-in 1906 that can be seen along the way as you get closer to the summit. A lot of elk and mule deer can be seen here.
As you can see Arizona has no shortage of mountains. Everything from small to grand can be found here in the state we live in. The diversity is too much to mention in the amount of time we have together. Tell us. Do you have a favorite peak? Is there a peak on the list you’re anxious to get to? We definitely have our favorite peak and we look forward to discovering more!