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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Old Caves Crater Trail, AZ

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41 24 0
Guide 24 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff NE
Rated
2.5
2.5 of 5 by 6
 
2
Statistics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,650 feet
Elevation Gain 500 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 4.9
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
3  2019-09-02 fricknaley
4  2017-09-09 leonesiegel
12  2017-01-19
Crystal Point Trail
Stoic
2  2016-11-25 MountainMatt
5  2016-06-13 azbackpackr
8  2008-10-08 fotogirl53
1  2008-10-01 fotogirl53
6  2008-07-18 hippiepunkpirate
Author OlenWhitaker
author avatar Guides 2
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 14 map ( 87 miles )
Age 37 Male Gender
Location Ouray, CO
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → Any
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:07am - 6:36pm
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A short climb to some caves
by OlenWhitaker

Likely In-Season!
Old Caves Crater trail is a relatively unremarkable trail that leads to the summit of Old Caves Crater where you can find......old caves! The trailhead is easy to find; simply head North from Flagstaff via HWY 89. A mile or two after you leave the city limits you will come to a traffic light at Silver Saddle Rd. Turn right onto Silver Saddle and less than a mile down the road you will find the trailhead parking lot on your left. From the trailhead the first section of the trail was obviously a road at one time, although it is now closed to all motorized vehicles. Flat, wide, and of shallow grade, the hiking is very easy. This stretch of trail continues for perhaps a quarter-mile through stands of older (100+ years) Ponderosa pines before taking you to the bottom of a set of switchbacks that will take you up the mountain.


This second part of the trail is not as wide as the first but is still very easy going and easy to follow. The grade starts off fairly shallow and generally increases as you near the summit although it never gets near what I would consider steep. After a few switchbacks that take you up through some scrubby vegetation dotted with pinon pine and a few junipers, the trail will arc around the mountain a short ways clockwise before one last push up to the summit ridge. At the summit ridge you will come to a T intersection. Turning left will take you about 100yds. to the actual summit around 7150ft (NOTE: the round-trip distance listed is to the summit and back.) Turning right will take you a very short distance to the south summit which is dotted with the old caves alluded to in the trail name.

The caves themselves are not very large or interesting (6-10ft. deep at most,) although I admit I did not look at all of them (there are at least a dozen, perhaps more.) One looked like it might have continued back through a small hole at the back but since I only had my little mini-maglite with almost-dead batteries I decided against any attempt at spelunking. The summit is devoid of trees so the views are wide but uninteresting as what you see is basically just Doney Park which surrounds the mountain on all sides. At no point of the hike does it feel like you have left the city; from the summit I could here everything from car horns to people shouting to the sound of hammers at a construction site.

From there you can return the way you came or you can pass over the true summit and continue down the other side where it appeared that the trail connected with a jeep track that might be used as an alternate route back to the trailhead but I can't be sure if the two connect as I did not follow the trail all the way down the North side, and it does not appear on any map I can find. Note that the first part of the trail is criss-crossed by a zillion jeep-tracks and other assorted paths. Most of the intersections have signs to tell you which way is actually the trail you are trying to follow; a few intersections don't but at no point is it particularly difficult to figure out where to go.

Overall the trail is easy and straightforward with little of interest and the caves themselves are not much to see. I enjoyed the trip but I wouldn't go far out of my way for it especially since you see, hear and sometimes smell the city the whole way. See it if you're in the area, just don't make a special trip for it.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2005-06-13 OlenWhitaker
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Old Caves Crater Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Met up with Joel and Daisy, Brian's dog, for a short hike around noon. A little windy up top but still a nice day. Had a really enjoyable time getting out into the forest for a while. Went up the main summit trail and down the other side toward the Landfill Road TH before turning onto the loop trail around the west side of the crater. We got kind of distracted in conversation and ended up walking off the trail for a while before finding the main trail again. Thanks again for meeting me, Joel.
    Old Caves Crater Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Went with wife/kids and 2 of her friends and kids. As well as Joe the Labrador.

    Only a few miles from my house...I've done this before, but the with the kids there got a better feel for what is there. Kids LOVED this place...lots of hideouts and exploring.

    There currently are 2 geocaches at the top...

    Cold day, great views of Doney Park and Timberline.
    Old Caves Crater Trail
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    So the author that wrote the description for this trail did not give this hike enough credit. You have to take it for what it's worth. It's a short and convenient hike to the top of a small hill with a decent view, and it serves its purpose very well. The first half of the hike made its was through some beautiful old growth ponderosas. Not really exciting but it was nice to see some healthy looking forest. About halfway up the hill the ponderosas ended and I started to see pinons and junipers and various other small trees and was surprised by the amount wildflowers. Not an extreme wildflower show by any means, but more than I expected. The views are pretty decent, especially of the Peaks and Mount Elden. I was pressed for time so unfortunately I didn't have time to check out the caves. Fat Man's Loop is more convenient of a hike for me, but I enjoyed this one a bit more. Definitely will come out again!
    Old Caves Crater Trail
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Since I was close by I decided to stop and check this out. This is a easy hike up to a cinder cone with good views of the surrounding peaks and some cool crumbling volcanic vents. I was surprised by the wildlife I saw on this short journey (horned lizard, coyote, and many hummingbirds). Trailhead very accessible.
    Old Caves Crater Trail
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    I heard about this trail from a friend almost two years ago and finally decided to check it out. I initially took a wrong turn at the T intersection on the summit ridge and went over the summit and started down the other side instead of finding the caves. After about half a mile and some off-trail searching I realized there were no caves on that side of the mountain and I must've taken the wrong turn. I backtracked and found the caves easily. See trail description above for more details.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Head North from Flagstaff via HWY 89. A mile or two after you leave the city limits you will come to a traffic light at Silver Saddle Rd. Turn right onto Silver Saddle and less than a mile down the road you will find the trailhead parking lot on your left.
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