Kendrick Mountain Peak Trail

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.

Eastern Arizona Adventure

Aaron waltzed into my room on Friday night to infer about a day trip he wanted to do out to the eastern outskirts of Arizona. The continued lack of snow in Flagstaff was his driving force for the trip. The forecast was predicting snow out there so we knew we had to take a chance to explore a beautiful part of Arizona that neither of us had seen. I quickly agreed to tag along on this grand day trip he had planned.

Sunset at Petrified Forest on Dec. 17th, 2017

Hannagan's Meadow and Aaron's Ford Escape on the snowy Arizona road.

Getting on the road around 8 A.M., we knew we had a long day ahead of us. Our first stop would be to Big Lake among the White Mountains. About half way to the lake we started to see some small signs of snow and eventually there were light flurries as we traversed a spectacular winding forest road. The further we got the more snow came down and by the time we reached Big Lake it was completely covered in snow and the lake was frozen over as well. Aaron and myself couldn't contain our excitement for the snow, stopping every couple miles to hop out and snap some photos. The lake was definitely big and uniquely set among pine trees and tall grass weighed down by the continued snowfall. We explored Big Lake for about an hour then took a much needed lunch and beer break. Continuing on, our plan was to head farther east to Alpine and then turn south to Hannagans Meadow. The snow started to come down harder as we drove. We reached the Hannagans Meadow Lodge and decided that we didn't want to risk pushing on for the risk of getting stuck in the snow. As we sat in the car at the lodge, we are about to leave when we see this beautiful Malamute that came right up to the car and stuck its head in to say hi. I snapped a few photos of the pup and we both were struck by how majestic that dog was and totally in its element. Leaving the lodge, we headed back to Alpine. We stopped at the Bear Wallow Cafe to grab a coffee and try to figure out the plan for the rest of the day. We decided that if we left as soon as possible that we could make it just in time to catch the sunset at Petrified Forest National Park. Crossing our fingers we would make it to the park in time, we finally arrived just before the sun completely set only for the ranger to tell us they close at 5. Knowing we only had minutes to shoot any photos, we pulled off at the first spot we saw and tried to get what we could. The amazing colors at sunset are staggering, so we still managed to get good photos. Homeward bound, we watched as the last of the sunset lit up the San Francisco Peaks way in the distance. 

The beautiful Malamute we ran into at Hannagan's Meadow Lodge.

We knew going into this trip that it would be a long haul, but it sounded worth it and we were not wrong. There's so much in Arizona to explore, you just have to look a little deeper and you can stumble a gorgeous place not known by most. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this as a day trip unless you are really pressed for time. The whole trip took us about 11 hours from door to door and we spent around 8 of those hours driving. However, don't let that scare you away from exploring this part of Arizona. It is absolutely spectacular and completely blew me away, especially in the snow. The whole time we were out there we couldn't stop commenting on the beauty all around us. Get out there and explore somewhere that intrigues you. The best part about any adventure is the unknown.

Sunset on the gorgeous landscape that is the Petrified Forest.

Upturned boats on the dock of Big Lake

Aaron chasing the last of the light at Petrified Forest.