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Things to do in Flagstaff

Flagstaff’s Best Hikes

Northern Arizona offers fantastic hiking and stunning landscapes. There are so many solid options it can be hard to choose which one best suits what you are looking to get out of your hiking experience. The following is a list of hikes both locals and tourists enjoy. Welcome to Flagstaff!

1.Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument is among the largest Pueblos on the Colorado Plateau. The dwelling was home to up to 100 people when Wupatki was as a cultural center.

For its time and place, there was no other pueblo like Wupatki. Less than 800 years ago, it was the tallest, largest, and perhaps the richest and most influential pueblo around, and was built in one of the lowest, warmest, and driest places on the Colorado Plateau.

For a time, in the 1100s, this landscape was densely populated. The eruption of nearby Sunset Crater Volcano a century earlier probably played a part. Families that lost their homes to ash and lava had to move. They discovered that the cinders blanketing lands to the north could hold moisture needed for crops.

As the new agricultural community spread, small scattered homes were replaced by a few large pueblos, each surrounded by many smaller pueblos and pit houses. Trade networks expanded, bringing exotic items like turquoise, shell jewelry, copper bells, and parrots. Wupatki flourished as a meeting place of different cultures. Then, by about 1250, the people moved on.

HIKE TIME: More than 3 hours

2. Red Mountain Trail

Red Mountain, located in the Coconino National Forest of northern Arizona, 25 miles northwest of Flagstaff, is a volcanic cinder cone that rises 1,000 feet above the surrounding landscape. It is unusual in having the shape of a “U,” and in lacking the symmetrical shape of most cinder cones. In addition, a large natural amphitheater cuts into the cone’s northeast flank. Erosional pillars called “hoodoos” decorate the amphitheater, and many dark mineral crystals erode out of its walls. Studies by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Northern Arizona University scientists suggest that Red Mountain formed in eruptions about 740,000 years ago.

HIKE TIME: 2 hours

3. Lockett Meadow

Please note – this trail and associated campground are seasonal and closed from late fall to early spring. From the cattle guard on F.R. 552, head west half a mile to the intersection. Stay right where F.R. 420 goes left to Schultz Pass. Stay left at 1.0 mile where a lesser road goes right to a gravel pit. Continue southwest on the wide gravel road and veer right at 1.7 miles where straight dead ends in a gravel pit. The trail gently climbs as it winds back and forth along several gullies. The forest becomes somewhat sparse as this area was affected by the Schultz Fire in 2010. The road makes a hard left at 2.6 miles where a pullout to the right offers a great view of the San Francisco Volcanic Field to the north and east.

The road begins to head southwest as it continues to wind, climb and narrow. The trail levels out and reaches Lockett Meadow at 4.5 miles. Continue straight in the meadow to complete a loop around numerous campsites and Lockett Tank. Lockett Meadow Campground is open from May 15 – the first major snow. Single sites are $14.00/day and are open on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a vault toilet in the campground. Hikers can follow the Inner Basin Trail from Lockett Meadow into the quiet Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks. Be sure to stay on designated trails and tread lightly in Lockett Meadow in order to keep this area pristine.

HIKE TIME: More than 3 hours

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