Flagstaff is home to a number of beautiful hikes, ranging in difficultly from a no sweat 2 mile fitness loop around Buffalo Park to an incredibly intense all day adventurous 9 mile trek up to Humphrey’s Peak, which at 12,637 feet, is the highest point in Arizona. For those looking for an easy nature stroll with beautiful views, Veit Springs, a flat hike of only 2 miles with gorgeous Aspens along the route, is the way to go.
The easy terrain and short distance of Veit Springs makes it a good choice for hikers of all levels, even kids. Just be sure to take into account the high elevation (8648 feet) and drink extra water and eat salty snacks. The trail itself is very scenic, as is the 4 mile drive up Snowbowl Road. If you are not paying attention, you can easily miss the trail-head parking area as there is no sign. Once you drive about 4.2-4.3 miles up the road, you will see a parking area on the right. This is where you will start the trail. Upon starting, you will see the trail map pictured below.
This hike, unlike many of the more barren options in the area, takes you through a dense forest of beautiful pine and aspen trees. At times, I was reminded of the beautiful nature walks I took while living in New England. If you visit on a weekday or early in the morning, the trail will be desolate. In fact, we didn’t see a single person during our visit.
Fall is the premiere time to plan your hike as the abundance of aspen trees make it one of the top fall foliage hikes in the area. The beautiful golden hues are typically in full force by early October.
Hiking Veit Springs in the summertime is still a great experience due to a combination of attractive mild daytime temperatures (upper 70’s-low 80’s on average) and beautiful colorful wildflowers everywhere. Take a look below at all the beautiful varieties of flowers seen along the trail.
A walk along the Veit Springs trail is a peaceful and quiet experience if you visit at the right time. You won’t find many people around, which allows you to totally immerse yourself in nature. You can easily forget all your worries on this hike as you listen to nothing but the wind rustling through the trees. Depending on the time of day you visit, you may see some wildlife. Elk and deer are very common, especially during the early morning and evening hours. Birdwatchers will also be pleased.
Aside from the wonderful views, Veit Springs offers a few interesting sights for history buffs. One of these sites is an old abandoned cabin, built in 1892 by Ludwig Veit. As you can see from the photo below, the cabin has been cut down in size to prevent further vandalism.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the trail is being able to look at 1000+ year old pictographs and petroglyphs by early Native Americans.
How to get to the pictographs and petroglyphs
You will need to take a short detour off the trail. Once you see the Lamar Haines dedication plaque (the park was recently renamed in the Flagstaff conservationist’s honor), you will stay to the left and keep going towards the escarpment. You will see the cabin and an old stone shed. From here, there is a small hill where you will come across 2 dried out springs (Veit and Canadian). Once you come to the rock wall, you will want to search for these faint markings. Although we found the pictographs, we were unable to find the petroglyphs (unfortunately, our evening visit meant limited time to explore!).
The 2 pictographs are a faint red color and consist of a hand print and what looks to be 2 people near a stream.
Veit Springs is a wonderful hike for all ages and skill levels. It happens to be one of my favorites in the area due to the abundance of trees, easy terrain, and absence of crowds. Whether you visit during the colorful fall season or during the summer to take in the beauty of the wildflowers, you are sure to enjoy the peaceful woodsy setting.
The Veit Springs trail is located at: 9300 N Snow Bowl Rd Flagstaff, AZ 86001. There is no fee to park.