Aspen Nature Loop
The Aspen Nature Loop (sometimes also called the Aspen Loop or Aspen Nature Lollipop is a 4.0 km adventure near Flagstaff known for its great views of the San Francisco field and as far as the Grand Canyon. In the fall, this loop is swathed in gold when the aspens put their fall colors on. In the summertime, you’ll enjoy lots of wildflowers and the company of a variety of bird species.
This is a fairly laid-back hike. Stronger hikers usually call it easy and beginner hikers normally rate it as moderate. It’s a suitable pick for families, and trail runners often enjoy it too. The route is well-signed and easy to follow.
View Aspen Nature Loop on Map
- Map Data: ©OpenStreetMap
- Tiles: ©CyclOSM
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Route Description for Aspen Nature Loop
The Aspen Nature Loop is a delightful hike through most seasons, but it’s very well-known as a fall hike when the forests of aspens go gold. Hikers flock to this loop in the fall, and for good reason–it’s beautiful!
While it’s a well-regarded fall hike, the Aspen Nature Loop is a fantastic choice in the summer, too. Swatches of wildflowers light up the ground, and flickers, hays, juncos, and warblers sing from the trees. Speaking of the trees, some of the pine stands and bristlecones you can spot higher up on the Peaks have been living for over a thousand years!
This trial was completed in 2007 in a joint effort by the Forest Service, City of Flagstaff, Coconino County, Flagstaff Biking, Arizona Trail Association, and others. It was built to offer the chance to learn about northern Arizona’s volcanoes and unique habitat, as well as the ways these can be protected by the people who enjoy them.
This hike starts from the Arizona Snow Bowl. There is lots of parking to take advantage of, and you’ll begin your hike by passing under a few of the chairlifts. In the winter, this is a skier’s paradise. In fact, Flagstaff gets an average of 100+ inches of snow every year.
The route starts out on the Humphreys Peak Trail. You’ll soon bear left to gently descend through a couple of wide turns. Take in the San Francisco Peaks in the distance.
As you dive into the forest, you’ll decide which way to take the loop. Our guide goes clockwise. Stay left onto the Aspen Nature Loop.
The route meanders through the trees, gently losing elevation on the first half of the loop and then gaining it on the way back up. Most of this hike’s elevation gain happens on the return trip, although it’s a modest amount overall.
Stay to the inside of the loop where two routes branch off to the south and north. When you reach the original loop split again, rejoin the main trail and head back towards your starting point. You’ll be retracing your steps from here.
Hiking Route Highlights
San Francisco Peaks
The San Francisco Peaks are a mountain range in the San Francisco volcanic field north of Flagstaff, Arizona. These peaks are a remnant of former San Francisco Mountain. The range is anchored by Humphreys Peak, the highest mountain in the state, and complemented by Aubineau Peak, Rees Peak, and more. The mountain range is a very popular destination for hikers, campers, and skiers from Northern Arizona and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Aspen Nature Loop good for kids?
Yes, this is a nice pick for families due to its easy-moderate difficulty level.
When are the trees best on the Aspen Nature Loop?
For the best fall colors, we recommend visiting in October.
Insider Hints for Aspen Nature Loop
- You won’t be able to hike this route in the winter when the resort is open, but you could come back for a ski!
Getting to the Aspen Nature Loop Trailhead
The trailhead for the Aspen Nature Loop is off Snow Bowl Road.
Aspen Nature Loop Elevation Graph
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Aspen Nature Loop Reviews
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