Sunday, October 1, 2017

Favorite Northern Arizona Fall Color Hikes



Every year I take it in, the yellow-gold-orange hues, the sounds of the leaves under my feet. Crunch, crunch, crunch. I close my eyes and listen to the wind blowing through the leaves, tiny yellow hands waving quickly, back and forth, back and forth, cards being shuffled, streamers on a bike. The boys are laughing, it's echoing through the trees like an empty hallway. I am smiling, and for a tiny moment I can imagine that if I believed in heaven, this is what it would be. A pocket of happiness in this big world. A little space carved out just for us here in this neverending moment, crisp Fall air biting at our cheeks, as we walk down the golden path and look up and around in disbelief that all of this could possibly be real. Happy faces and thankful hearts surrounded by all of the best colors- the most beautiful day.

Yes, right?! It's Fall! It's October! I'm so excited. Not only is it getting colder and darker earlier, it's also becoming the most beautiful season of the year to get outside with your family. Each year I look forward to this time, to soak up the gorgeous Aspen trees, yellow lined meadows, and the crunch of leaves under my boots. And so I wanted to share some of our favorite spots with you, along with some words and photos from over the many years we've gone up a little farther north to soak up the seasonal changes that make me the happiest.

If you want to go, I would go up in the next week or two. The leaves are turning early this year, and you won't want to miss it!

1. Aspen Corner

To get here, simply head up to Flagstaff, then go up Snowbowl Rd. Keep driving almost all the way up to the ski area and you'll see an area to your left with parking along the wooden fence. Park there, and enter at the trail markings. It's very clear, so you shouldn't have a problem at all. The drive alone is gorgeous, but if you park and get out and even just walk around a bit, you'll be immersed in so much beauty. This is a must-go spot!








2. Arizona Trail

Once you get to Aspen Corner, you'll be able to connect to the Arizona Trail, which will take you through Aspen groves and into a beautiful field with the option to go on and on, or simply stop and take it all in. It's a gorgeous trail and appropriate for all ages. Look for the sign for that first turn, and you can continue on this path for 7 miles. You'll wind through meadows and forests, and you'll get a little bit of everything- it's a really wonderful hike.







3. Inner Basin

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. We sometimes see some smaller cars there, but for the most part it's 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. 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. Enjoy!









Happy hiking- and tag me in any photos so I can see too! Also check out a few more hikes here.

xoxo

6 comments:

  1. Oh goodness, these photos are so gorgeous! You've got this Kansas City girl yearning for these hiking trails; I so wish we had hikes like this nearby. It makes me want to vacay to Arizona next fall- haha!

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    1. Come visit! You'd love it. Thank you so much for reading! :)

      xoxo

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    1. They're my fave! :) Thanks for reading!

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  3. We were thinking of hiking Inner Basin this weekend but want the hike to be easy enough for the kids to explore. We really want to see some Aspen. Are these pictures from that or the other two you recommended?

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    1. Hi! :) All of the photos under the Inner Basin are from the Inner Basin except for the one of Charlie standing in the leaves! The entire hike could be a bit much for kids, but depending on age you could be a-okay! The Arizona Trail or even the Aspen Trail up there (not mentioned here) would be another choice and definitely young child friendly. I hope you guys have the best time ever! It's going to be gorgeous up there. xoxo

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