Inner Basin Trail is a 3.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Flagstaff, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 3.2 miles Elevation Gain: 757 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

NOTE: The road leading to the trailhead is closed due to COVID-19. You can still park at the gate and walk to the trailhead, adding roughly 6 miles roundtrip to the hike. During the weekends in October, when the leaves are changing, the Forest Service manages the capacity of the area. Weekdays are the best time to go in order to avoid being turned away. Winter season road closures make some or all access points inaccessible by vehicle. At the closure, it is possible to park and hike the rest of the way to the trailhead.

hiking
3 days ago

We went today (5/26/2020) and the gate to the trailhead was still closed. This meant adding 3 miles to the trailhead and 3 miles back, making the total trip about 10 miles on my phone. It was well worth it though! The closed gates must have dissuaded most people, as we only saw three other people the entire time. It was a beautiful hike and worth the trip.

hiking
bugs
icy
5 days ago

Great view, easy for hiking and running. However, the road to there is crazy, full with big rocks, very hard to drive. Near the beginning of the trail, there are fallen trees on the road with notice sign No Vehicle Passing, so you can only stop before the pump house and get there by foot.

hiking
24 days ago

Can't get there from here... we tried to find the trailhead using the directions: From Flagstaff, go north on U.S. Route 89 for 12 miles to Forest Road 552, which is across from the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument entrance. Turn left onto FR 552 and …. FR552 then presents a series of cinder block spray painted signs saying "Turn around, no outlet", "Private property" with arrows in each direction and the always threatening because it's misspelled: "Your trespassing". So we turned around and hiked around Sunset Crater. Say it isn't so, but this was a no go.

hiking
27 days ago

Parked 2 miles up FR57 then hiked 2 more miles to Comer Creek Campground. Then a bit past and took a right to 0.5 up to old firetower site at Comers Rock. Back down the spur and about 2 mi to Hale Lake, half mile loop and all the way back to car. About 10 total miles. Along the forest road. Nice hike!

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

6 months ago

as of Nov 1st 2019 the Aspen trees have all sheaded their leaves

hiking
7 months ago

Oh. My. Goodness. The views along the way made this incline hike WAY worth it. The leaves were yellow and falling, the weather was beautiful! There was so many opportunities for a “photo shoot” or even to sit and relax and breathe in the air. I will definitely be returning!

hiking
7 months ago

Did this hike in mid September. Great trail with a beautiful aspen grove. Great easy hike.

The first 1/4 is mostly pine forest as the trail winds it's way up the basin. Once you get into the main grove, it's a fall wonderland for another mile or more during our late October hike. The trail is very dusty and it is worth bringing some extra water nd towel to wash your feet and legs off. Parking can be tight, and there were many other hikers. Quite a few folks were not following instructions and had dogs off leash, so if your pet doesn't play well with others, leave them home. We love this hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail for fall colors. Only give it four stars because you pass some equipment and use a USDA road for part of the trail.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

This trail was pretty incredible. We caught the aspens just at the end of their fall peak. It has a subtle incline, you don’t really feel like you’re climbing as much as you truly are! Be careful of elevation issues; if you are not used to it, please take breaks, and drink plenty of water! The road in really is the only downside in my opinion. I have a small SUV, and we made it just fine, however the last 1.5-2 miles (ish) is steep and narrow. (Like one car at a time narrow.) We were pleased to see people taking their time on this road, and not speeding. There are a lot of blind turns, and steep drop offs with no guard rails, so be cautious driving. We went on a Wednesday at the end of October. We arrived around noon, and had no issue parking. Only saw about a dozen people on the trail. There was no fee to park, however there will be if you choose to camp. There are no restrooms, or trash cans here. (Pack it in, pack it out.) We brought our small dog, he was a trooper, and had a blast playing in the leaves. Definitely worth a trip up here, it was a beautiful sight to see!

hiking
7 months ago

fair

hiking
7 months ago

Stunning trail to see the beautiful aspens!! I would highly recommend going early if you are visiting during peak fall colors. As mentioned, Forest Service rangers do manage the parking during peak weekends. They are there between 8 am-4 pm and you have a high chance of being turned away if parking is full. We arrived at about 6:30 am on Saturday and already quite a few people were parking and heading out on the trail. But the morning light makes the aspens glow- so the early start was more than worth it!

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful hike with the switchbacks that make the views awesome !! Very trafficked but everybody very nice. First time I see all dogs leashed and they were having fun too! We got there at 7 am, and by 9 it was crowded including the cars driving up the hill while we were going down. Will definitely do it again and complement it with Bear jaw for a longer hike :)

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Beautiful trail during this time of the year. Moderate difficulty. The point that you need to grt to is Inner Basin Pump House - which is around 5 mile Hike overall - but you get to see some breathtaking views.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful trail with glowing Aspens and fallen leaves. The trail gets incredible as you go up especially at the switchbacks. Great photo ops all along the trail. Get there early to grab a parking spot. I'm definitely coming back in Spring/Summer. Last 3 miles or so to the trailhead: we drove Mistubishi Outlander, the drive was very rough. I saw 3-4 sedan cars up at the trailhead. I wouldn't recommend a sedan, but upto u.

backpacking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Came back after last year when we missed the aspens turned yellow. SO worth it! Just beautiful...took my breath away. I want to do this trail every autumn. What a great way to welcome a new season. Easy trail with incline and switchbacks, but better if to stop along the way and take in your surroundings. Loved it.

hiking
7 months ago

Autumn colors in the aspen trees was worth the drive. Very narrow and bumpy drive up the hill to the parking lot, I’d recommend a off-road vehicle if you have access to one. The hiking trail is short and does not require any boots

hiking
7 months ago

Breathtaking views and easy hike with a little elevation gain. This trail easily made my top 5 hikes I've been on. But get there early!! We started at 9am and found parking easily. But the trail was VERY crowded on our way down and parking was a nightmare around 11am.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

Beautiful! Worth the drive and the crowds. The 3mile road up to the trailhead sucks - unpaved all the way and narrow at times so be careful with passing cars. We got there at 8 a.m. and had a hard time finding a parking spot but once we got out on the trail it was all worth it!! The Aspen's are amazing. On our way out they probably had at least 15 cars waiting at the bottom to go up the mountain.

hiking
7 months ago

went when the leaves were changing, one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen!!!

hiking
7 months ago

Did it with a 2 1/2yr old and 7 yr old grand kids! Just beautiful!

hiking
7 months ago

Fantastic trail, so good that I’ve been there three times in the past four weeks! The leaves are changing and should peak as early as this weekend so be aware that rangers will be at the top and bottom of the road directing traffic. They may not allow people in, depending on how full the lot is and if that’s the case, you can either wait or head over to Snowbowl road and drive up to Aspen Corner to see the leaves. Otherwise, inner basin trail is fantastic. The aspens start at about a mile in. I have never *not* seen dogs off-leash here so be aware that this is a very dog-friendly trail. It really gets hectic during peak week so if you aren’t worried about the leaves, your best bet is to do this trail in the summer because there are far less people and it’s such a beautiful hike. We love to camp on the forest roads below and head up after breakfast!

hiking
7 months ago

I have never seen so many aspens in one place. Great golden colors. It's very popular. Get here early or you won't find parking.

hiking
7 months ago

wife and I did this trail today in the morning, didn't see many people and the trail was easy to follow. if you like Aspen trees you love this hike, some were yellow but most were green still. it was very windy today as well, seen some mule deer also. not sure if this was the way to do it but, we took inner basin trail up until it reached a gravel road followed that down to a meeting of trails and roads we took a old service road back down.. it was the first one on your right. there were no inclines some fallen trees and pretty Rocky, I thought it to be a nice way back. too reach the trailhead on your way there is a very narrow and Rocky road , once you get to locketts meadow your almost there parking in the back. just notice that what I did is locketts meadow inner basin loop.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

1000% recommend to hike and picnic with your friends or family!! Picnic areas are first come first services, so be there early as much as you can! Off season has no entry fee and free park. There is no cellular or internet area, so you’d better to download any hiking maps you use!

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