A 1 Mountain • San Francisco Volcanic Field
• Coconino Plateau
• Coconino County


A 1 Mountain as seen from the A 1 Mountain Road exit from Interstate-40. The summit of Humphreys Peak is seen behind
 

Another view, showing both summits
 

Typical part of the hike through the forest
 

West summit. The benchmark is located in a rock flush with the ground, but the highest point may be this closer rock, with Stick Scott
 

East summit rock
 

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Date: October 12, 2015 • Elevation: 8,302 feet • Prominence: 892 feet • Distance: 1.5 miles • Time: 75 minutes • Gain: 730 feet • Conditions: Marvelous

A 1 Mountain is about five miles west of Flagstaff, not far north of Interstate-40. From our hotel, I drove briefly on the interstate to the A 1 Mountain Road exit, and north through a small batch of homes to an open gate, about a mile off the interstate.

Back in January, I got this far, but the gate was closed due to snow and mud. I had considered walking it from there, but chose not to at the time. As it turned out, it was probably a wise decision. Coming back now was so much nicer, and I could drive the roads rather than walk them.

The main road is designated Forest Road 506, and trends northeast a mile across “Observatory Mesa”. The land here is flat with trees and grass meadows. The mesa gets its name because the famous Lowell Observatory is located at the far east end of the mesa.

Road 506 bends left at a Y-junction, then a half-mile later comes to a T-junction. Road 506 goes right, Road 518-B goes left. Not knowing any better, I stayed on 506, but the road’s quality lessened, becoming rougher with big puddles and mudpits from a rain about a week ago. And I could tell I was trending away from the mountain. So I turned around and followed Road 518-B in a clock-wise loop. In a mile, I had arrived onto a wide cleared area on a saddle, elevation 7,700 feet, near a “Comm Facility” as shown on the map. It was 7:45 a.m. when I parked, me being the only one there. I could not see any Comm Facilities in the area.

The hiking route up A 1 Mountain follows a very rough ATV track straight up the east slope. The road is essentially undrivable, and is very steep in places, but is easy to hike. In about 15 minutes, I had barged up 500 vertical feet in a half mile to a small flattish basin, putting me between the two 8,300-foot points that vie for the summit honors.

I kept to the main road as far as it would take me. It bent left, then grew scanter as it gained up the hillside. To my surprise, it fed me onto the top west rim, placing me just a few feet from the summit. I walked north a few feet, finding the benchmark in a rock flush with the ground near the highest hump of land. A large rock about 30 feet to the south may be the highest point, as it juts about 4 feet above the ground and perhaps a foot higher than the benchmark.

Trees limited views to just the west. The day was clear and dry and I could make out mountains far to the west, well past distinctive Bill Williams Mountain. I have no idea what these peaks are, and assume many may lie on the private and state-lease lands that way, making most of them off limits.

After a few minutes, I hiked down the road back into that basin, then found another side road that went directly to the eastern point. The top here was completely wooded and I had no views. A large rock appeared to be the highest point, with a big dead tree having fallen over it, but not obscuring it.

I then hiked down to my truck, the whole journey taking 75 minutes. From here, I drove back to town, got some food, then drove back to the hotel to be lazy for the rest of the day.

(c) 2015 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.