It’s a magical place. There are trees, yet it’s dry. There is sun, but also winter snow. Downtown is a very hip and happening spot; the outskirts of town offer camping and a road that leads to the Grand Canyon. Flagstaff, AZ offers a little something for everyone!
Most all of our road trips headed West have included a stop in Flagstaff at some point. We traveled through with a pit stop there when we drove to Sedona (that post here). We drove through and stopped in Flagstaff for a night on our honeymoon. We still talk about how good the Thai food was and what fun we had at the car show. We’ve stayed in trashy hotels there, as well as a nice home in the woods and most recently, camped on a forest road.
This is Forest Road 420. If you drive northeast of Flagstaff on US Highway 89 for 12.5 miles, Forest Road 420 will be directly across from the Sunset Crater National Monument turnoff. To get to the monument, turn right. If you turn left, it’s the forest road. In case you didn’t know, these forest roads are fair game for free camping!
Bonito campgound, near sunset crater national monument is a typical family campground with bathrooms and developed sites. It was $25 a night to camp. We knew we wanted to go into town and have dinner, which meant we wouldn’t be spending much time at our site. SO….. We opted for FREE camping across the street. We found a spot in the trees, not far from the road on hwy 89 (see green dot on map).
We continued to explore the area, where we went up the forest road for about 1 mile, then turned onto Forest Road 552. We turned right at the Lockett Meadow sign and continued up the VERY WINDY, STEEP road to the campground. (This dirt road is closed in early spring and late fall due to snow.)
View from the 3 mile road to Lockett Meadow:Lockett Meadow: It was a beautiful campground. The road getting there was not my favorite, but well worth the drive! Although it was only a 3 mile drive, it seemed like 20. It was a 1 lane road for much of the way, so we had to take it slow. It was lovely and green and covered with Aspens! We decided against camping there, since we knew our drive back from town would be at night and we didn’t want to navigate that road in the dark! I think it would be a fantastic, quiet place to camp if you just wanted to chill out for a few days. Sprockett certainly enjoyed the visit!
After our exploratory drive to the meadow, we headed to town for dinner. The most random thing happened while we were munching away on our pizza. Our good friend from Amarillo (where we currently live), called and asked Matt, “Are you in Flagstaff right now?” He said yes…… Turns out our friend was also in Flagstaff staying the night at a hostel. He just happened to recognize our car parked on the street. So he joined us for dinner!
My photos are less than great of the venue, but I have nothing but good things to say about the place! The mosquitoes were not bad at all, they served really great beer for cheap ($5 for Ranger), and the setting was gorgeous! We were nestled in the middle of a forest. Josh was even able to hang his hammock and enjoy the concert in style! The show was fantastic. It’s the unplanned events like these that make a trip so memorable. And remember how we opted out of the pricey campsite? That money saved ended up paying for our concert ticket! (Our friend kindly gave us his extra, so we only needed to buy one!)
Once again, Flagstaff did not disappoint.
Here are a few things that might be of interest to you if you are planning to visit Flagstaff:
Walnut Canyon National Monument is a fantastic spot to see ancient cliff dwellings. We visited this monument on a previous trip and enjoyed it very much. It’s just southeast of Flagstaff.
Also, I am really loving Steve Earl’s newest blues album, Terraplane. Check it out if you get a chance 🙂
What are YOUR favorite things about Flagstaff?