Our June issue showcases not only the amazing illustrations by artist Larry Toschik, but also 10 of our favorite places to hit the trail, including Bismarck Lake Trail in Flagstaff, which is a must-hike this summer. For more spectacular hikes, such as the one below, pick up the June issue of Arizona Highways on newsstands now. Trust us: You’re going to love this issue.
BISMARCK LAKE TRAIL
3 reasons to hit this trail
1. It’s one of the easiest hikes on the Coconino National Forest — Coconino, by the way, is the word the Hopis use for Havasupai and Yavapai Indians.
2. The road to the trailhead passes Hart Prairie Preserve, one of the state’s premier Nature Conservancy properties.
3. The views of the San Francisco Peaks are as good as it gets.
Foot Notes: Bismarck Lake isn’t a lake — at least not by Minnesota standards. It’s more like a pond or a lagoon or a big mud puddle, and it functions as a stock tank, which makes it an important source of water for the resident elk and mule deer. It also serves as a milepost that identifies the end of this trail. Like the route into Sandys Canyon (page 24), this is a short hike that hooks up with the Arizona Trail. If you’re interested in more distance, the latter extends for 817 miles to the north and south, but if you need a spur-of-the-moment fix of an evergreen forest, this will hit the spot. The trail begins with a gradual uphill climb through a world of ponderosas and aspens. After five minutes, it arrives at a small meadow, where you’ll catch your first glimpse of the San Francisco Peaks. It won’t be the last, and the best is yet to come. From there, the trail dips back into the woods, and the aspen quotient increases. It stays like that for another 15 minutes, until the dirt path leads to another meadow and the payoff views of the peaks. There, the trail splits. To the right is the Arizona Trail, and to the left is Bismarck Lake. Go left, and keep your eyes peeled for thirsty ungulates.
Length: 3 miles round-trip
Elevation: 8,589 to 8,817 feet
Trailhead GPS: N 35˚21.793’, W 111˚44.082’
Directions: From Flagstaff, drive northeast on U.S. Route 180 for 10 miles to Forest Road 151, turn right and continue 6.3 miles to Forest Road 627. Turn right onto FR 627 and drive 0.75 miles to the trailhead.
Vehicle Requirements: None
Dogs Allowed: Yes (on a leash)
Horses Allowed: Yes
USGS Map: Humphreys Peak
Information: Flagstaff Ranger District, 928-526-0866 or http://www.fs.usda.gov/coconino