The small city of Flagstaff in Northern Arizona, surrounded by the beautiful Cococino National Forest, is home to miles and miles of gorgeous hiking trails. Taking some time out to explore the natural beauty of the region via outdoor recreation is a simple experience, yet one that is strikingly different than visiting shops, restaurants, and attractions in this oftentimes overcrowded tourist town.
Why not escape the traffic, stores, and crowds for a little nature break along the scenic Bismark Lake trail? The Bismark Lake hike is one of several easy hikes in the area, and would be a perfect option for almost everyone due to the short distance and flat nature. Despite the high elevation of 8500 feet (Exercising in high altitude areas can be harder due to the air being thinner, and hence, less oxygen present), Bismark is only 2 miles long so it should be easy enough for anyone who is in basic shape and has given themselves time to adjust to the high altitude.
In comparison to Bismark Lake, many other trails in the area start out at 4+ miles, some at even higher elevations and many with steep hills. Drink some extra water, don’t rush through it, and enjoy the gorgeous views. This hike is long enough to give you some peaceful alone time in nature, yet not long enough to take up your whole day, leaving you feeling completely worn down, as is the case in the longer/hillier options.
This peaceful trail is great because it doesn’t get as crowded as the more popular Snowbowl area hikes. Perhaps this is due to the long drive down an unpaved road to get to the actual trail? Plan plenty of extra time as it took us at least a half hour to travel up the unpaved road. Despite the inconvenience in getting here, the beauty of this hike is that it is so far away from everything else!
Along the 2 mile journey, you will be treated to serene view of meadows, mountains, and pretty pine and aspen trees. During the summer, you will likely see many gorgeous wildflowers, while fall is a great time to take in the beauty of the changing aspens, which shine a brilliant golden yellow in the sun.
Plenty of wildlife, especially elk, are drawn to the area. Depending on the time of day and season you visit, you may just get lucky enough to see some of these beautiful animals.
Overall, Bismark Lake is one of the top picks in the area for beginning hikers. It’s not strenuous, it’s scenic, uncrowded, and far away from the town congestion. What more could you ask for in a great hike? Almost any time of the year is a great time to plan your hike at Bismark Lake. During the summer, you will enjoy cooler temps than in town due to the 1500ft difference in elevation, while in the fall you will be able to enjoy the rare beautiful fall colors in Arizona. No matter which season you decide to visit, you will get in a rejuvenating workout in and enjoy some beautiful rural views.
Address: From Flagstaff take 180 N, turn right on FR 151 (Hart Prairie Rd), turn right again on FR 627 and follow to trailhead.