High Country Tour to Bismark Lake
ElevationAscent: 1,774' 541 m
Descent: -1,774' -541 m
High: 9,012' 2,747 m
Low: 7,666' 2,337 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)
Current trail conditions
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“Amazing high-elevation scenery, some of AZ's best aspen stands, and quality riding.”— Almonzo Wilder
This route is described as an out-and-back, starting from low on Snowbowl Road. For an easier alternative, the trail can be accessed from Aspen Corner, which is higher up Snowbowl Road. This alternative makes for a ride suitable for beginners, trims 4.8 miles off the route (each way), and eliminates most of the difficult climbing (and fun descending).
At 4.8 miles you'll cross the access trail for Aspen Corner. A quick detour to the left here will lead to a picturesque water tank that usually holds water and has great views of the San Francisco Peaks. A right turn leads up (steeply) to the Aspen Corner parking area.
Continuing straight on the Arizona Trail the grade eases considerably and the trail breaks out of the aspen to cross Hart Prairie. Outstanding views in all directions continue for miles as you alternate between meadows and aspen stands. When fall colors are blazing, the scenery is mind-blowing.
At 7.9 miles there is a signed turnoff to Bismark Lake, which is the turnaround for this ride. The lake itself is a bit underwhelming, but there is often wildlife around and the views of Humphreys Peak are great.
With the descent from Aspen Corner to look forward to, the trip back is a pleasure.
Land Manager: USFS - Coconino National Forest Office