Kendrick Peak Trail
Distance: 9.2 miles roundtrip
Best Time of Year: Spring or Summer
Highest Point: 10,423ft
Elevation Gain: 2,746ft
Roundtrip Time: ~4 hours
If you’re looking to get some solitude, a great workout and stunning views, then this hike is for you! There are plenty of amazing hikes in the Flagstaff area, but few get you up to this elevation. If you’re looking to train for tougher hikes, like Humphreys Peak, then this is a great introduction to higher elevations and a tough steep trail. However, don’t be intimidated by this hike, its definitely worth all the effort to get you up to one of the most beautiful views in the area.
My alarm clock rustled me out of my slumber at 5:00 am, which I preceded to hit the snooze button a few times until I forced myself out of bed around 5:30 am. I knew that we needed to get on the trail early so we could beat the heat which ended up never materializing. However, I packed up my bag with snacks, plenty of water and my camera. My dog Luna and myself jumped in the car and headed to the Kendrick Mountain trailhead, about 45 minutes away. After a few miles down a bumpy dirt road we arrived at the trailhead. We grabbed our gear and headed out for the summit. The trail begins with a decent incline and wanders through a dense Ponderosa Pine forest that eventually opens up after a half mile or so. It was lined with various flowers and Mullein plants, small bushes with large fuzzy leaves that sprout flowery stocks. As we hiked, the trail relentlessly ascends climbing up to the 10,423ft summit. Summer is a great time to do this trail for several reasons. The temperatures in the mornings are perfect and if the monsoons haven’t started yet, then you don’t need to worry about inclement weather.
The farther we hiked the better views we got, opening up in several places to the east and west. About a mile and a half from the summit we passed through an area covered in thick swathes of bright green ferns. Most people that haven’t spent much time in Northern Arizona don’t understand how green and lush it is in the spring and summer. We continued on climbing higher until the trail flattened out and we arrived at the Old Lookout Cabin. The cabin was constructed in 1912 as a place for fire lookouts to stay while watching for Wildfires and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. I pushed open the old wooden door with a bit of resistance and then we stepped into the 107 year old cabin that definitely looks its age. Theres not much inside but a table with an orange ammo box that has some emergency supplies and a notebook for hikers to sign. We spent a few minutes inside, took a couple photos and then kept ascending another quarter mile or so to the fire lookout. As we crested the highest point on the mountain, we were greeted with stunning views of the San Francisco Peaks to the east, the Vermillion Cliffs to the northwest and the rolling hills to the south. Luna and I ate our lunch, took some photos and enjoyed the scenery. After 15-20 minutes we decided to start heading down the mountain so we didn’t have to hike in the heat towards the bottom. Overall, I would rate this hike as moderate difficulty with little to no technical hiking, but it’s a cardio workout that pushes your limits for about 5 miles uphill climbing 2,746ft.