The United States Congress designated the Kachina Peaks Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 18,720 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Arizona
and is managed by the Forest Service.
Rising to truly majestic summits, Kachina Peaks Wilderness area boasts 12,643-foot Humphrey's Peak, the highest point in Arizona. The Wilderness is part of a large and heavily vegetated composite volcano, which bears signs of a rich geologic past that included violent eruptions and lava flows. Arizona's best examples of Ice Age glaciation can be found here in lateral and medial moraines and abandoned stream beds. Erosion and frost have helped shape this area. The only arctic-alpine vegetation in the state grows up here in a fragile two-square-mile zone. Because of this delicate ecosystem, hikers must stay on designated trails, and no camping or campfires are allowed above the tree line or within the Inner Basin. The climb to the top of Humphrey's Peak is a nontechnical five-mile walk up the sometimes steep Humphrey's Trail. Here and nowhere else on Earth grows the fragile San Francisco Peaks groudsel. Groups are limited to a maximum of 12 people. In addition to some of the best and highest views in Arizona, this area gives visitors a chance to climb in the snow and ice and to set up a winter campsite. Forest Service permits are required for backcountry travel. These can be obtained at the Peaks Ranger District during regular business hours. Please call for more information. Some people come for the cross-country skiing in the winter, while summer sees an influx of backpackers. These peaks are sacred to tribes including the Havasupai, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni. Several religious shrines have been identified in the Wilderness, some of which are currently in use. Please respect ongoing religious rites and do not disturb any artifacts you may find in the area.