There are 2 Crater Lakes north of Flagstaff. One is located off FR 151 (Hart Prairie Road) and is private property that is posted/gated with "No Trespassing" signs. The second Crater Lake is in the Coconino National Forest on the east side of Kendrick Peak. It is accessible except for one section of the slope that is private property. The center of the cone is meadow ringed with aspen, fir and ponderosa. There is a small "lake" as the result of snowmelt and rain. A high clearance vehicle is needed due to poor road conditions for the last mile.
This area was involved in the Pumpkin Fire that consumed a large portion of Kendrick Peak. Crater Lake and the surrounding areas were saved due to hard work by the firefighters trying to protect the owl habitat and the parcel of private property adjacent to the cinder cone.
Hike: FR 9009D was blocked at the trailhead by a large fallen pine. You will see a "Road Closed" sign that is faded and is propped up against a tree. A little further up the trail is a sign detailing that another sign details what kind of access is permitted. However, the next sign has been broken. It is hard to tell just what is allowed! The 1/2 mile hike is a walk up the closed road with a 200' gain in altitude as the road winds up and around the crater to the top. The views of the San Francisco Peak and Kendrick Peak are amazing. The trail is covered in places with 2-3" ankle-rolling cinders. Toward the top, nature is reclaiming the road, but the track is easily followed, ending in a hiker's gate through a barbed wire fence into the crater. Follow the trails down to the water or around the perimeter. You will see old growth aspen, firs and ponderosa along with wildflowers and birds. This is Mexican spotted owl territory and you may be lucky to see/hear one. You can cross the fence, go up to the rim, then walk around the entire crater. There are interesting volcanic outcrops to explore. This hike is beautiful in the fall when the aspen leaves have turned. But be careful during deer and elk hunting season: someone has built a blind.
When you come back down, continue on FR 760. It loops back to Highway 180 through more forest and meadows. The deer are abundant in the late afternoon.
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