Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff
By Kelly Vaughn Kramer
The clouds seem to hang low here, but maybe that’s because the San Francisco Peaks loom so large. The peaks, the remains of a volcano, are just part of the scenic beauty at Lockett Meadow. The aspens will also awe you.
The campground is rustic, unhosted and one of the most charming in this book. It’s set among the aspens, of course, and the 17 sites each offer spectacular views of the wilderness, including the ashy, cinder-cone landscape. In spring, the meadow plays host to wildflowers. In summer, the aspens blaze a brilliant green with new leaves. In fall, that foliage goes from green to gorgeous gold. Sites 7 and 8 are perhaps the most scenic, while 13 through 15 are nothing to scoff at, either. You won’t find a bad site in the bunch.
If you’re a well-rounded nature lover, the meadow offers access to the Inner Basin Trail, a 3.9-mile trek in the extinct caldera. It meanders along a primitive road, offering views of ancient lava flows. If you’re lucky, you’ll also see one of the area’s wild residents. Just as people are, porcupines, elk and black bears are drawn to Lockett Meadow.
Campfire Tale: Flagstaff was named for a flag-raising ceremony that occurred July 4, 1876. Settlers trimmed a pine tree and raised a flag in celebration of the nation’s centennial.
PHOTO: Lockett Meadow offers stunning views of the Inner Basin and the San Francisco Peaks, especially when aspens take on their golden hues in autumn. | Michael Wilson
Location: Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff
Elevation: 8,600 feet
Directions: From Flagstaff, travel northeast on U.S. Route 89 for about 12 miles to Forest Road 420 (directly across from the turnoff for Sunset Crater) and turn left. Follow FR 420 for about 0.5 miles to the turnoff for Forest Road 552 and turn right at the sign for Lockett Meadow. Continue on FR 552 for about 1.1 miles until you’re forced to make a decision — turn right to Lockett Meadow or proceed to a dead end. Turn right, of course, and follow the road to the campground.
Information: Flagstaff Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, 928-527-3600 or www.fs.usda.gov/coconino
Season: June through mid-October
Fee: $12 per night
Amenities: Toilets, Pets