The hike was great with wonderful views and wasn't too trafficked. Getting to this trail is fairly easy but you'll pass several trail head parking lots on the way up, the dirt road is in good condition.
Really this area is considered dry lake hills, but the trail is not called dry hills lake. Because it is a loop either follow this route or it in the opposite. I suggest also taking a photo of the map at the sunset trailhead
Start on sunset trail (just left of the trailhead signage) and continue to the brook bank trail (take a right at the sign about wildfires), if you go left instead it's a short out and back with decent views. Continue on brooksbank and you will pass a small pond just off the trail. Past the pond you will end up on an out of service forest road (unsigned) and will see signs for Schultz creek loop where you can finish the loop.
Be warned that there are many turn offs because of the trail system up there. There have also been an increase in bear sightings.
Tim R. on Waterline Road Trail
Great hike...most amazing Fall color experience in Arizona...way too crowded is only drawback.
I did this hike with my husband and 1-year-old daughter in a pack this weekend. The drive to the trail included 5 miles down a dirt road. The road is fairly well maintained, and was not an issue with our very low sports sedan. As others have mentioned, the signage here is not good. Thankfully, I had the all trails app running which helped us when we got off track at the dry lakes. You start on the Schutz Pass trail, then when you get to the meadow you make a left. We ventured into the meadow and turned at the interpretive signage and cut back to the trail- I recommend doing this for the best views. Then follow the Brookbank trail to Sunset Trail.
The hike was very nice. Great views of mountains, forests and meadows and lots and lots of wildflowers in mid August when we hiked. There were one or two technical spots, but nothing I didn't feel comfortable doing with a baby on my back. The trail is also popular with bikers, so be cautious. What I enjoyed about this loop hike is that it wasn't just up and then down, there is some undulation which keeps things interesting.
All and all, a great hike, and highly recommended as a way to spend a few hours in the Flagstaff area.
Sandi B. on Dry Lake Hills Trail
The trail was moderately trafficked, mostly people on bikes. The trail wasn't very well marked beyond the parking lot. I'd like to see more signs and increased visibility. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was perfect. The way up is the most difficult part than it evens out and begins to slope down.
This trail takes you to the Inner Basin (which is listed on this website as a separate trail). I consider them the same since they have the same starting point; it just depends on how far you want to hike. This trail earns the same review as the one I wrote for the Inner Basin trail. A must-do!
Take US-89 about 12 miles north of city center. Turn left directly across from the turn to Sunset Crater. The left turn is on to a Forest Access Road (FR 420). Take this ½ mile to a T and turn right onto FR 522. This goes 4.6 miles on a very bumpy, some areas washboard grated, ascent. Road is narrow with areas to pull out every few 100 yards in case another car is coming the opposite direct. This was a little nerve wracking as you can’t see ahead very far. I wouldn't do this again without AWD or 4WD. After 4.6 miles of painfully slow driving you come to a pretty clearing of yellow flowers and grass = Locket Meadow. Signs take you to day parking, which is free and located near an outhouse.
Very remote. Saw some camps set up but only 4 people during the entire hike. No cell service.
The hike was pretty in the summer, but I'm sure dramatically beautiful during fall foliage time. There is a gradual ascent for 4.25 miles going from altitude of 8600 feet to ~10.5K feet. The first part is full of white, yellow, blue and purple wildflowers, then you see old signs of the Schultz fire with burned out trees/fields. It becomes a birch and aspen forest with several switch backs. This turns to a pine forest and the trail opens up onto a a forest road where you can turn left to Schultz Tank or continue right on Inner Basin. At 1.6 miles, you reach the old Watershed Cabins—in the center of these there is a spigot where you can get untreated spring water. More trail signs here. Staying on Inner Basin, you pass a few Flagstaff well sites and can hear water rushing beneath. It continues to be a wide forest road until reaching the inner basin clearing. There is a tiny shelter here where 2 or 3 people could hang out if a monsoon crept up. Beyond this the road narrows and the path turns to small rocks that were slippery. Clearing turns back into forest and patches of snow were on the ground even at the end of July. The final trail sign I saw pointed to a sharp left but the trail seemed to stop shortly after this at ~4.25 total miles.
My late wife and I used to hike and backpack Locket Meadow when we lived in Flagstaff in the early 90s. It is truly a beautiful work of Nature. The last time we were there was in late June of 1993 and we slept on the ground in the woods with no tent, just our bags and a ground cloth -- two weeks before her due date (that was apparently before there were camping restrictions). I hope to take her ashes back there some day.
I see the tower from my house all the time, I always wanted to do the trail by horseback and got my opportunity about 3 1/2 years ago. I went with a buddy and we had a great time, it was an awesome trail and easy for the horses to climb. When we go to the top, we let the horses eat the grasses and the fire tower person gave us water for the horses and let us go to the top to get an even better view.. Although I didn't go to the top, my friend did and it was awesome, as he said. You can still see into the Painted desert and into Flagstaff. As well as the north rim of the canyon. It was worth the ride up and down. The horses did great and the road wasn't too rocky for them. I don't remember how long it took for us to get up and back, but it was a nice ride. I am planning on going up on 8/2/14 with another friend, I hope it doesn't rain. I will write another post for the upcoming ride
I don't think this is an easy trail. I would rate it as moderate due to the elevation change. we went from Locket Meadow to Weatherford trail. was a great moderate to difficult hike, estimated 11 miles round trip & 2,444' elevation change according to GPS.