Hualapai Mountain Park is 15 miles from Kingman, AZ
A forest in the desert? Yes! Although it was 82 degrees in Kingman at 4:30 PM, it was at least 10 degrees cooler at the main trailhead. The trailhead was pretty empty on that late Sunday afternoon. We parked next to the yellow gate and began the hike on the fire road.
There is a restroom up the hill after the gate and there is a small trail sign on your left right after that. Don’t miss it like I did. It’s not hard to find the sign. I was just distracted by the big group passing by us. I realized we were on a wrong path after hiking on the fire road for about 0.35 miles
so I turned us around and looked for a shortcut to reconnect with the trail.
If you take the trail correctly at 0.04-mile mark, you will come to a split after 0.78 miles. Turn right on to Potato Patch Loop Trail. Follow the sign for Hayden Peak. Although this loop hike won’t take you to any of the peaks there, this is where the loop begins. The trail was well-maintained, partly shaded and easy to follow.
There are a few lookouts on this trail. Great for photo ops.
The afternoon sun was gentle and inviting.
A view from the top of a mountain is nice but a forest is really what makes me happy. Why do you hike?
There are 4 storm shelters in the Hualapai Mountain. On this hiking route, we saw two shelters, #4 and #1. #4 was on our way to Camp Levi Levi and #1 was in the 2nd half of the loop near Pine Lake Overlook. If you get caught in bad weather unexpectedly, look for these shelters.
Soon after Camp Levi Levi, at the 1.71-mile mark, you will come to the Hayden Trails junction (7,400 feet). Turn left on to the fire road toward Hualapai Peak. After a half mile, at the Hualapai Trail junction, take the Potato Patch Loop trail toward the park and complete the loop.
The sun was already starting to set by the time we got to the Hualapai Trail junction. Surely we would have to finish the hike in the dark. I didn’t think to pack my flashlights because I thought we would finish the hike in daylight. I started to worry naturally but that didn’t last long. We were accompanied by my boyfriend and he is sort of like Captain America and Thor in one so I knew we would be fine.
Luckily and not surprisingly, he came prepared with a headlamp and flashlights. Needless to say, we came down the mountain safely. Reflectors on the trees along the trail helped us stay on the trail in the dark. This is a beautiful hike with several lookouts. It would be a nice way to break up a road trip from L.A. to Flagstaff (or Phoenix) or vice versa.
Good to Know:
- Hike date: 4.22.18
- Length: 5 miles RT
- Elevation gain: 1,097 feet (max elev. 7,665 ft)
- Difficulty rating: Moderate – Challenging
- Trailhead coordinates: Main Trailhead (35.096614, -113.890100)
- Permit/fee: None
- Restroom available near the trailhead
- 16 rustic cabins and over 70 tent campsites available in the Hualapai Mountain Park. They recommend making reservations during the summer months.