Flagstaff: Best of Autumn in Northern Arizona

Early Fall in Phoenix means one thing: nothing. We do get a break from the triple digits, but if you're looking for color-changing leaves or sweater weather, we don't get it until November. And since our social media feeds are flooded with beautiful Autumn-y pictures from our friends and family up north and east, we might get a little FOMO: Fall edition.

Lucky for us in Central Arizona, a gorgeous two-hour drive takes us to Flagstaff - a quaint, hippie college town at 7000ft elevation. Flag, as the locals call it, is also home to the Arizona Snowbowl, our winter ski resort. They already got their first snowfall of the season.

Swarms of Valley residents head up there every weekend, and rave about it all. R and I needed to see it for ourselves, so we unearthed our "winter" gear and headed north for a spontaneous family getaway.

The weekend included a pitstop at Sunset Creater, a stroll downtown for dinner, and another pitstop in Sedona on the way back home. But the main thing we wanted to see was the Lockett Meadow campground and trail, which I incessantly learned about from my local IG pals.

It was every bit as gorgeous as I imagined.


If you read this post I wrote, you learned a bit about my fear of cars.  To non-phobic folks out there, the winding, unpaved, and narrow drive up the mountain to Lockett Meadow's trailhead is just another adventurous road. To me, it was so flippin' scary! I knew that like most fears, it was all (or mostly) in my head. So I ducked down and took deep breaths, while R extra-carefully and extra-slowly drove up.

Bless his heart.

Once we parked and walked a bit, I felt great. More and more people kept arriving, families, elderly, pets galore. People can camp or hike trails, including Inner Basin trail #29, which leads into the San Francisco Peaks (where elevation ranges from 8,600-to 10,500 feet). According to the USDA, the San Francisco Peaks are actually the remains of a Pleistocene stratovolcano similar to Washington’s Mt. Saint Helens.

Most of the Aspen trees were already bare at the trailhead, but we were able to find some golden-leafed stragglers that were still breathtaking. We were told we could see many more deeper within the trail, but with a baby in tow, we didn't make it more than one mile in before turning around and heading back.

Pocket blanket c/o Matador.

I love the woods (as you can read about here) and I love the fact that we live close enough to visit them on a whim. I conquered a long-standing fear of mine on the drive up, and it was so worth it. I guess that's why I love traveling and exploring so much - it's a chance to get out of our comfort zone and see just how powerful and brave we really are.

Linking up with these blogs this week!

What is your favorite spot to enjoy Fall?

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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.