The majesty, the setting, the awe. The highest bathroom in Arizona has it all.
Hiking enthusiasts (are there any bathroom enthusiasts..?) receive a very natural reward for reaching the top of the western slopes of Humphrey’s Peak, just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. There, at 11,500 feet up, is a nondescript one-person bathroom with all the amenities one would expect at our most private of moments. Okay, it’s not the Plaza Hotel, but it gets the job done while you’re doing your business among skiers, hikers and assorted onlookers gazing out from the top of Arizona.
First, getting there.
Arizona Snowbowl, an alpine ski resort, celebrated its 80th birthday in 2018 and is tucked atop the San Francisco Peaks, in the shadow of Humphrey’s Peak, the volcanic mountain range’s summit and the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet.
Hikers can reach the summit by foot but should plan on doing so before the snow comes obviously. The resort receives an average annual accumulation of 260 inches.
Starting at Snowbowl’s base elevation at 9,200 feet up, hikers will take Humphreys Peak Trail No. 151 to begin a 4.5-mile journey that takes about three hours to complete. Views of the San Francisco Peaks are lined with ponderosa pine and aspen trees, and the trail will eventually reach the highest of the highest points, at 12,633 feet.
You’ll find the bathroom about 1,000 feet before you summit.
Or, you can ride the scenic chairlift up the mountain during non-ski season. It’s a beautiful and blissfully silent 25-minute ride each way. In case you get anxious, and your nerves poke your bladder along the way, that bathroom will be waiting for you at the top.
It’s probably the only public bathroom where folks will point and take pictures just outside the door while you’re in there doing your thing since the posted sign explaining the bathroom’s unique elevation status elicits smiles and perfectly Instagram-requisite photos.
There are no mountain biking trails at Arizona Snowbowl, so hiking by foot or the chairlift are the two options up.
As for ski season, the annual open date is, of course, a moving target dependent on the snowy weather cooperating, but in 2017 skiers and snowboarders were welcome on November 10.
In the meantime, check out the Flagstaff Sky Peaks Mountain Runs from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. October 6 at Arizona Snowbowl. The all-new Flagstaff Sky Peaks courses offer a mix of distances for all runners looking to experience high altitude mountain running set high above Flagstaff. These premiere mountain races start and finish at the Humphrey’s Yurt.
The resort also will be open daily October 5-21 for fall peak colors.