Kachina Peaks Wilderness
|Kachina Peaks Wilderness|
Humphreys Peak from the Inner Basin Trail
|Location||Coconino County, Arizona, US|
|Nearest city||Flagstaff, AZ|
|Area||18,616 acres (75 km2)|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
The wilderness encompasses most of the upper reaches of the San Francisco Peaks including Humphreys Peak, Arizona's highest point at 12,643 feet (3,854 m). The area is named for the Hopi gods, or Kachinas, who according to Hopi mythology live here for part of every year. In mid-summer these gods fly from the top of the peaks to the Hopi mesas as clouds bringing the rains of the seasonal monsoons. 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 still in use.
Kachina Peaks Wilderness is part of a large composite volcano that last erupted roughly two million years ago. Some of the area's trails lead to the top of the Kachina Peaks: Humphreys Peak, Doyle Peak (11,460 ft), Fremont Peak (11,969 ft), and Agassiz Peak (12,365 ft). These mountains form the rim of the volcano's inner basin, a huge caldera which was formed during its last eruption.
The only Arctic-Alpine vegetation in Arizona is found in a fragile 2-square-mile (5.2 km2) zone on the peaks of Kachina Peaks Wilderness. This is the only place where the threatened San Francisco Peaks groundsel (Packera franciscana) is found.
Common recreational activities in Kachina Peaks Wilderness include hiking, backpacking, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and hunting.