You have several choices where to camp north of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Take Highway 89 north out of Flagstaff. Drive about twelve miles up to Sunset Crater National Monument. When you come to the Sunset Crater entrance on the right, you’ll also see a sign on the left that reads, “Forest Access.” A turn lane leads you across the divided highway into Coconino National Forest.
If you don’t like camping off by yourself, you can turn right instead and go down the road toward the national monument. You’ll come to two campgrounds which require a fee.
If you want to camp for free, turn to the left at the forest access.
Right away you’ll see some level spots among the pines. These sites are handy to Highway 89 and don’t require driving on a narrow road. Big rigs do fine here.
Continue on the wide, dirt road and you come to a sign, “Lockett Meadow.” That’s a campground best for tenters with 4WD. If that’s not you, don’t go that way.
Instead, turn right. Follow the road until you come to a fork. Bear right.
The national forest post marks the road as #9125F.
You’ll quickly arrive at three really nice campsites, each with a view like this.
Our campsite is the second one in. What I like is you can’t see anyone camped in the neighboring sites. It’s like they aren’t there. And in our case, no one is there!
If you’re daring and have a high clearance rig, you can find more sites further on.
If you ignore the 30-foot rule, you can camp along the ridge and have a panoramic view of the painted desert.
The crew and I walk some roads we didn’t explore last year.
I like how this area is hill-and-dale. Without tackling a strenuous trail, you can stay on a road which will take you through piney glens and eventually upward where another view awaits you.
Usually the crew and I walk in the early morning or late afternoon.
I cleaned out the PTV this morning. I’m happy to report that I found very little evidence that rodents had been there. I’m pretty sure they’re gone. I’ve learned my lesson. Trash stays sealed up in a plastic bin!
Today we walk at mid-afternoon.
Even though it’s a warm day (in the 80s), there’s plenty of cool shade and high, breezy places to rest.
Tomorrow we break camp in search of adventure!
I hope to make an early start. When crossing flat, desert terrain, it’s best to drive in the morning hours before the wind picks up. The forecast says winds of 17 mph, but that’s usually later in the day. Our drive is only about two hours.
We will resume our northward journey on Highway 89.
(Are you following along with your Arizona Benchmark Atlas?)
We’ll take 160 to the northeast and go through Tuba City and continue to Black Mesa. Then we’ll go north and after about six more miles on 564, we’ll arrive at Navajo National Monument!
If I don’t post or reply to comments for a few days, don’t worry.
Internet signal is spotty across the Navajo Nation Reservation. You can bet I’ll have lots of photos to share next time I post!
Wahoo! We’re on the road again!