For a real mountain camping experience, look no further. Lockett Meadow offers great views of the San Francisco Peaks while dry camping in the Aspens.
You’ll have your option of hiking trails to explore with the chance to even hike into the San Francisco Peaks themselves. Truly one of the most surprising landscapes in Arizona for it is different that what most would expect.
Are you ready to escape to this peaceful spot?
Location: Coconino National Forest in Flagstaff, AZ
Amenities: Restrooms, picnic tables & fire rings
Reservations: None, first come first serve
Time of year: Late spring, summer, and fall
Type of Camping: Primitive, dry camping
Number of sites: 18
Elevation: 8,500 ft.
Fees: $18 site fee
How to get to Lockett Meadow
You can map your directions here, or visit the map at the end of the post!
The fun begins once you turn off US Highway 89 onto Forest Road 552. The drive from here continues on a well maintained dirt road which will eventually lead you to an intersection.
You’ll turn right, following the signs for Lockett Meadow. The next right turn will be shortly after, which is marked by a sign- you can’t miss it!
At this point the road turns into one lane with steep drop offs along the side. This part scares some people, causing them to turn back. Just drive slow and watch for oncoming cars as best as you can.
CAUTION: The one lane road to Lockett Meadow should not be traveled by large trailers, RV’s, Buses, etc. It is very steep, windy, and dangerous for all traffic.
The remainder of the drive climbs and winds up the mountain. You’ll want to continue with caution since there are no guard rails and not much room to pull over for oncoming traffic.
Once you reach the clearing, known as Lockett Meadow, turn right onto the first road and it will lead you right into the campground!
Types of Camping
Lockett Meadow has 18 established campsites which are first come first serve. If you aren’t lucky enough to snag a site you still might be in luck.
Coconino National Forest allows dispersed camping! There are several pull-off areas along the way but you will still be a couple miles from the campground.
Once you get close to Lockett Meadow there is a sign that restricts dispersed camping past it.
Whether you camp in the campground or dispersed off the road, these are your main options for camping:
As mentioned, RV’s, large trailers, and buses are not recommended on the road up to Lockett Meadow Campground. However, you can disperse camp in the area before you turn onto the one lane dirt road that leads to the campground.
Just note that if you choose this option you will still be roughly 30 minutes from the destination.
Amenities at Lockett Meadow Campground
I’m happy to say that this area is very well kept! Except maybe the restrooms after a while- but what vault toilets aren’t a little messy?
Here are the amenities you can expect:
- 2 Vault Restroom areas
- Fire rings at each campsite
- Picnic table at each campsite
- Group sites
- Plenty of parking
The vault toilets are usually stocked with toilet paper but it is always best to bring your own as a back up.
When to visit Lockett Meadow
If you had to choose one month, I’d say October. The temperatures will be cooler and the leaves will most likely be changing. This area transforms during autumn!
Any time in the early spring and summer are great options as well. Just be sure to plan for weather changes as summer brings spontaneous mid afternoon storms.
The road to Lockett Meadow is closed during winter.
When you visit you’ll want to arrive early-late morning when people are packing up and leaving their site. This area gets full fast so expect the weekends to be busy.
Heads up: The Lockett Meadow Tank (pictured above) is not always full with water. It fills up from the snow melting in the spring and doesn’t always last until late summer to autumn.
Things to do near Lockett Meadow
Walk / Hike
The main reason this area is so busy is because day hikers park at the campground and begin their hike to the Inner Basin via. the Inner Basin Trailhead.
This trail will lead you through a beautiful Aspen Grove and deeper into the San Francisco Peak area. If you are camping I highly suggest hiking this one.
Approx 2 miles in the Inner Basin Trail you’ll hike upon a sign at a fork that lists Bear Jaw Trail (adding 3 miles, 6 miles RT) and Abineau Trail (adding 5 miles, 10 miles RT). Both of these are great options if you’re looking for a longer adventure.
If you’re really feeling ambitious look up these connecting hikes for some great mountain views-
- Humphrey’s Peak
- Doyle Peak
- Freemont Saddle
- Aggazis Peak
Running the dirt roads and trails around here might not be extremely challenging if you’re a trail runner who loves running up elevation, but nonetheless you can still get a good run in.
If you take the Inner Basin Trail it will intersect with Waterline Road which goes on for miles. This is a wide, well maintained dirt road that has some elevation change to it and would be perfect to run.
You can also access Waterline Road from another road leading from the campground. This road is near the end of the campsites 14-18, somewhere around there- you can’t miss it. I’d suggest looking at a map to plan your route but you can take this road up to Waterline Road and make a loop of it!
If you decide to explore the trails you’ll most likely come across some mountain bikers. This area is very popular for it so keep your eyes and ears open.
If mountain biking is your thing you should definitely look into the trail routes here and have at it!
Of course the reason most of us like to escape to the outdoors- to be able to relax and take in the piece and quiet of nature. Don’t forget to make time to kick back, relax, and smell the fresh air.
Lockett Meadow safety and considerations
Before visiting it is best to look on fs.usda.gov for any fire bans in the area. A lot of times fires and charcoal grills will be banned during summer since that is Arizona’s fire season.
PLEASE always follow the guidelines to protect the forest and lives within it.
If you are able to have a fire, PLEASE remember to put it out completely. This even means pouring water on the coals. Never leave burning coals behind.
If there is a fire ban you can pack a cooler with cold meal options or cook on a portable gas grill!
As mentioned before, Lockett Meadow Campground is closed during winter. However, there have been many times during open season when the gate to the road has been closed too.
At times the campground is closed for logging purposes, bad weather, or forest fires. Unfortunately the website is not always updated to reflect these closures and will still have an “open” status.
The best way I’ve found to keep up on closures and openings of the campground is to read the most recent reviews on AllTrails. I’d suggest doing this before your visit and have a back up plan just in case!
When you reach higher elevations the weather tends to be unpredictable and change without much notice. Mid afternoon summer storms are very popular in this area so plan for wind, rain, and chilled temperatures!
Pack In / Pack Out
As always, it is proper etiquette to pack out what you pack in. There is nowhere to dispose of trash so you are responsible of packing yours out. I always bring a trash bag or two just to be safe! Remember to leave no trace.
Final thoughts on Lockett Meadow Campground
This campground will always be one of my favorites to escape to in the fall. The are is quiet, the campground is clean, and I get to witness the leaves changing!
Lockett Meadow is also a great home-base for stunning hiking, biking, and running trails. I’ve visited several times and still have not hiked all of the trails available.
The possibilities are almost endless.
Also in Flagstaff
- East Pocket (Edge of the World) Camping
- Hike Kendrick Peak Lookout in Flagstaff, AZ
- Inner Basin Trail via. Lockett Meadow