Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Explore Arizona: Lockett Meadow/Inner Basin Hike

This past weekend Hank and I spent the day hiking and exploring through one of the most beautiful parts of Arizona (or anywhere, really). To get to the Lockett Meadow/Inner Basin trailhead you drive up and through Flagstaff, then off a forest road and onto a windy, side of a mountain, sheer cliff, major drop off, two-way tiny dirt road. It was scary, in my humble opinion. However, the pay off is completely worth it because as you get deeper into the mountains you're met with THE most beautiful fall colors I've ever seen in my life. And this is coming from someone who grew up on the East Coast. Holy moly, Hank and I were in disbelief- the trees actually looked fake they were so beautiful. We spent the entire day hiking and enjoying the scenery, and I spent a little bit of time tearing up too. It was hard not to get emotional around all of that beauty.

Here's how to get there: 

Drive northeast of Flagstaff on US 89 for 12 miles to the Forest Road directly across from the Sunset Crater turnoff. Turn left (west) for about 1/2 mile, turn right (north) on Forest Road 552. Turn right at the Lockett Meadow sign and continue up the very very windy road. You'll know when you get there, because you'll begin to see cars lined up. There's a clearly marked one way loop that runs around the camping area, and you'll be able to find a space if you keep driving. There's a $5 day use fee and you can camp there too, if you'd like. Also, the signs on the drive up specify that the road there is not maintained for passenger cars, and I would have to agree. I did see some smaller cars there, but for the most part it was all 4WD vehicles like ours.

If you go, head out early in the day so you'll have time to make it all the way into the Inner Basin. There and back is about 8 miles, but you can also pick up other trails and go much further. Pack clothing for cold weather- you'll get up to 10,000 feet so it's really chilly and a jacket and hoodie is great for this October weather. We wore our running shoes, but hiking shoes would be best as a lot of it is uphill and rough terrain here and there. You'll also need to bring hiking basics- a backpack full of snacks and/or a lunch, sunscreen, plenty of water, and I also suggest a small blanket to lay on once you arrive at the Inner Basin. It's truly beautiful and my only regret with this day is that we didn't have more time to sit back and take it all in, even more than we did. I can't wait to go back!

Here are some photos from our day:


15 comments:

  1. Holy crap, that forest does NOT look real, it's beyond pretty! I love birch trees, they're my fav :)

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  2. gorgeous poplar stands, I don't see many pure ones like those where I'm at in ME. Is this in a National Forest? Looks like a great experience!

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  3. That is amazing! So beautiful!! Now I really want to go hiking!

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  4. This is crazy amazing! What a cool place - the colours are ridiculous. x

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  5. Wow! So beautiful! I'm a Washington gal so, we won't be doing that hike, but I understand what you mean about tearing up out there! God made our world so beautiful that I just can't get over it sometimes!

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  6. Such beautiful photos. I really want to come back to Arizona one day soon. x

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  7. you guys are the cutest. and that forest looks unreal. beautiful!

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  8. gorgeous photos! the autumn colours look so beautiful. I do miss the wide open spaces sometimes living in London.

    Beth // SANS SOUCI

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  9. Holy gorgeousness! Here in Central Jersey, the leaves haven't even begun to show the best of their Fall beauty yet. But we've resumed doing a lot of hiking to keep checking up on them. :)

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  10. These photos are just so beautiful! Looks like an amazing hike!

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  11. I went to Flagstaff last year and wish I had hiked this area because it is sooo beautiful!

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  12. I was in Flagstaff for the first time on Monday/Tuesday when I saw one of these photographs pop up on Instagram. We hiked throughout the Sunset Crater Park and headed north to the Grand Canyon- absolutely gorgeous! I saw your pictures and said, "I want to hike there!" and had no clue it was so close by.

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  13. WOW! This is now on my destination list. I LOVE birch trees and hiking. Amazing pictures!

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  14. Are the trees Birch or Poplars and what are their botanical names

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