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Inner Basin Cirque Hike - 8 members in 18 triplogs have rated this an average 4.5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Oct 14 2020
PrestonSands
avatar

 Guides 168
 Routes 148
 Photos 5,574
 Triplogs 1,375

43 male
 Joined Apr 12 2004
 Oro Valley, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 14 2020
PrestonSands
Hiking9.00 Miles 2,900 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   3 Hrs   36 Mns   2.76 mph
2,900 ft AEG      20 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I decided on a mid-week trip to the Inner Basin to hopefully avoid the crowds, but no luck. The drive to the trailhead was a disaster of cars trying to pass each other on a road that was thoroughly torn up from excessive traffic. Managed to find the last parking spot, and immediately left the crowded trailhead behind for some off-trail crowd-avoidance before following the Inner Basin Road. Once on the cirque road, I had total solitude among the spruce-fir and aspen like I had hoped for. This really is a beautiful hike, with occasional views of the surrounding peaks. The volcanic vent cliff above Bear Paw spring was quite impressive and imposing. Very cool looking up at Humphreys on the upper end of this hike. Took the lower Inner Basin Trail down, enjoying the ridiculous display of aspen gold. Great trail, great scenery.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
Lots of aspens changing, but the peak color is past.
_____________________
"As soon as I can I’m sneaking back in them mountains..." -Johnny Paycheck
Oct 07 2020
DixieFlyer
avatar

 Guides 45
 Routes 424
 Photos 5,648
 Triplogs 384

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 07 2020
DixieFlyer
Hiking13.20 Miles 2,844 AEG
Hiking13.20 Miles   7 Hrs   13 Mns   2.21 mph
2,844 ft AEG   1 Hour   14 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I have been wanting to do this hike for a while, and I figured that I'd go do the hike and check out the aspen leaves. The aspens were amAZing, so this turned out to be a great time to do the hike.

We hit the trail at 6:30 AM, and we had the trail to ourselves on the way up.There were lots of yellow aspen leaves along the way! I had heard reports of nice fall color on the Waterline Road, so we continued on the Waterline Road a half mile or so past the IB turn, and then turned around and headed back up the Inner Basin. The colors on the Waterline Road were definitely nice!

We went a short distance up toward the Inner Basin and then took the old service road up to Flagstaff Spring. The service road was decent to hike on, and there some nice aspens to view along the way. It was a steep climb up to the cirque past Flagstaff Spring, but it wasn't too bad. I thought the cirque was awesome -- the views were outstanding and it was really quiet in there.

On the way back we cut off the service road and hit the IB trail at the emergency shelter. It was there that we saw the first other humans of the day -- in addition to lots of unleashed dogs. The views were really nice in the IB. Oh the way back, instead of going down the switchbacks and dealing with the mob of people -- we continued on the Waterline Road and then took a loop on FR 6437 down to the Lockett Meadow campground. There were lots of aspens on the Waterline Road, and the views on the forest road were great! We only saw 2 other people until we got to the campground.

There were lots of cars parked every which way when we got back. The forest service has a limit of 100 cars in Lockett Meadow on a weekend, and there were well over 100 cars in there on this Wednesday afternoon.

I really enjoyed being in the cirque, and I plan to go back late next spring or early next summer.
Flora
Flora
Quaking Aspen
Named place
Named place
Flagstaff Spring Humphreys Peak
Meteorology
Meteorology
Moon
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Extreme
The aspen leaves on this hike are about as good as it gets. If you want to enjoy some fall foliage,the time to go is right now.
_____________________
I'd rather die of exhaustion than die of starvation.
2 archives
Sep 30 2020
outdoor_lover
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 Guides 7
 Routes 53
 Photos 12,949
 Triplogs 568

58 female
 Joined Aug 19 2011
 Scottsdale, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 30 2020
outdoor_lover
Hiking9.60 Miles 2,270 AEG
Hiking9.60 Miles
2,270 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Wanted to do Inner Basin for Autumn and the timing seemed right. Like the Mogollon Rim, I was wrong about it this year. Too early. There was some Gold, but not where it had the most impact for Photos. I decided since I was there, I'd try doing the Cirque Hike, but after not having done any Hiking for the entire month of September, I ran out of gas and time at Flagstaff Spring. I'll have to try it when there's an hour or more of daylight than there is now and I'm in slightly better shape again. Between the birds and some of the yellow and gold that was around, I took quite a few photos anyway. Was surprised to see Lockett Meadow Tank almost bone dry. Just a few small puddles that kept the birds coming in. It was still a good day, I was overdue to get some more mileage in.

I'd do a more complete Water Report if the Springs were actually exposed where you can see them. Almost all were piped and boxed in. Some of them I could hear water in and some I couldn't.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
Not Prime Time enroute to Inner Basin. Switchbacks are still all green up to and including Waterline road mostly. Some Gold on Waterline headed up to Basin. Most slopes gold in Basin, but trees in Basin itself are still green. Some Gold on Trail to Flagstaff Spring.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bear Paw Spring Dripping Dripping
Enough for tiny pools that provided water for the birds.

dry Beard Canyon Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Locket Meadow Tank 1-25% full 1-25% full
Almost dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Lockett Meadow Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Pool at Spring looked full.
_____________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"
1 archive
Aug 18 2017
OdinWiski
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 Photos 2,305
 Triplogs 94

48 male
 Joined Jan 31 2015
 Chandler, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 18 2017
OdinWiski
Hiking10.40 Miles 2,980 AEG
Hiking10.40 Miles   7 Hrs      1.89 mph
2,980 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Forecast of thunderstorms in Huachuca forced us to cancel our backpack plan Thursday night. We decided on this day hike instead in Flagstaff where there was no rain on Friday. I got just below the cirque last time and had to turn back due to frozen snow in the chute and the thunderstorm. This time the weather was perfect. I was surprised how quiet the Inner Basin trail was on our way up. Only passed one group. We didn't see anyone else until later in the afternoon when we came back down. There were quite a few downfalls on the Waterline road. No springs were flowing. Apparently Wiski ate a bunch of mushrooms on the way up - good thing she threw it all up when we took our lunch break in the cirque. We explored and chilled out for an hour before heading back down. A great day away from the valley heat.
_____________________
Aug 22 2016
MountainMatt
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 Guides 3
 Routes 192
 Photos 3,361
 Triplogs 505

28 male
 Joined Jan 24 2016
 Arizona
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 22 2016
MountainMatt
Hiking12.03 Miles 3,150 AEG
Hiking12.03 Miles   9 Hrs   16 Mns   1.30 mph
3,150 ft AEG30 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The first time I saw photos of "The Cirque" I was downright captivated by the powerful and jagged lines of "The Core Ridge" and since then was obsessed with the idea of visiting a place of such magnitude.

My friend and I started our hike at the Interior Valley in the middle of the night with the intention of catching sunrise at the cirque so with that being said it certainly was a memorable hike from the start. It was quite surreal to walk through the inner basin at night especially the way the moonlight shimmered through the thick groves of aspen. We were in the midst of a great conversation and took a wrong turn on the Bear Jaw Abineau Trail and luckily noticed before going too far!
Other than that everything was working out nicely and even with temperatures dipping below 40° I was still sweating like a fat guy in a sauna due to the decent amount of elevation gain, especially the section above Flagstaff Spring.
I was surprised how nice of game trails there were leading up to cirque and also by the abundance of deer and possibly elk scat which was cool to see at that elevation.
Upon reaching the cirque I was completely amazed by where I was, pictures just don't do justice, you really need to be here to feel and see the immaculate beauty of this area.
Just after we entered the cirque I spotted a lone deer prancing around the area below the Core Ridge, it was awesome to physically see wildlife up there!
Soon after the sun rise broke a red glow from the heavens gleamed across the entire cirque lighting up the rough edges of the Core Ridge almost as if it were painted that color, this is something I will honestly never forget. The sunrise came and went in a matter of minutes but boy was it quite the spectacular show!
After taking photos I put my stuff down and wandered around the cirque looking for wildflowers and anything of interest. I found the nice field of Parrys Primrose up there but unfortunately we were a little late, the majority of the flowers were gone and the plants themselves are starting to wilt but nonetheless still great to see so much life at that elavation.
After exploring and getting my fix of the cirque we began our descent which was such a relief compared to the trek up and the fact that it was daylight out it was nice to see all the portions of the hike that I missed in the darkness. There are a couple areas of interest I found during the descent and found myself already begining to think of future unique trips up there.
I have done a lot of night hiking but never anything to that extent so it was quite the momentous feeling finishing up a hike like that in the early morning hours and it was well worth the effort and careful planning to make this trip happen!
Flora
Flora
Parry's Primrose
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Flagstaff Spring Dripping Dripping

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Locket Meadow Tank 76-100% full 76-100% full
_____________________
2 archives
Aug 15 2015
Jim_H
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 Guides 59
 Routes 55
 Photos 8,273
 Triplogs 1,787

41 male
 Joined Sep 08 2006
 Marana, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 15 2015
Jim_H
Hiking8.50 Miles 2,100 AEG
Hiking8.50 Miles
2,100 ft AEG15 LBS Pack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After Humphrey yesterday I wanted to pay a visit to Philomena Springs and see how that was flowing this wet summer, but with the annual cancer road closure event, that was obviously out of the question. I just wasn't feeling Elden as a day hike, so I thought it would be fun to hike this since I haven't been up here since the day of the Schultz. I probably should have done Elden and then headed to Sedona to round things out. I got to about 10,800', and turned back due to the hail and cold storm, as several others HAZ members did today on Humphrey. I could have done the Cirque after the storm passed, but it wouldn't have been fun with the cold moist air and everything being wet. The steep slope up was covered in hail and very slippery, and I kept setting loose rocks off downhill, so I turned back. The sun only came out briefly while in the aspen section of real trail, and it was pretty cold while leaving, so I'm not upset with my decision. From what I saw yesterday, the peak of the flowers is past for the season, anyway.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Bear Paw Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
_____________________
Jul 03 2015
OdinWiski
avatar

 Photos 2,305
 Triplogs 94

48 male
 Joined Jan 31 2015
 Chandler, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 03 2015
OdinWiski
Hiking10.90 Miles 2,622 AEG
Hiking10.90 Miles   5 Hrs   20 Mns   2.34 mph
2,622 ft AEG      40 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
This was an extremely beautiful hike - aspen groves, meadows, riparian, and snow/ice chute leading up to the peaks. I started from the Inner Basin TH at 10:00. There were quite some people on the initial portion of the Inner Basin trail in the aspen groves. Weather was nice and clear, but the noon/afternoon thunder storms per the forecast were looming in my head. Once we left the Inner Basin trail and started the hike up from there, we only ran into one couple and their dog who were coming down. Not sure whether they got to the very top?

I really enjoyed the Flagstaff Spring area - very lush and pretty! The climb up from there was sort of off the beaten path and the view from the snow/ice chute leading up to the peaks was great! We tried to go up on the snow in the chute for a bit. But the snow was compacted down hard and couldn't be kicked in. I didn't think to bring my crampons. We were sliding all over the place. So we changed our strategy and bushwhacked up along one side of the snow chute.

We got to 11,160 where the chute starts to bend left. The dry land we could walk/bushwhack on started to disappear into the base of the little peaks. It looked like there was only 100-150 yards left to the top of the thing! Rain had started and lightning and thunders were all around us shortly after we left Flagstaff Spring. I was feeling very exposed to lightning at this altitude with no cover. And I did not like Wiski and me sliding all over the place on the compacted snow in the chute (with nothing to stop a potential slip and fall), which seemed to be the only way to get all the way to the top? So I decided to give up on the final little section to get to the very top in the Cirque and start heading back down. This was very atypical and a bummer, but I think I made the right decision. I will have to try again when there's no thunder storm and perhaps bring some traction device. Unless - there's a different route? I'll have to ask you guys - was that the snow chute the only way to get to the top into the Cirque?? Looks like all of you got to the Cirque from the few trip reports. But I don't see any picture of the snow chute leading up to it?? I was using the Official Route, but I did notice the several other tracks uploaded on here indicating a somewhat different route?

The hike back down was uneventful and easy. Got rained on of course, but at least there was no crazy hail like last week in Barbershop Canyon. And the feeling of getting away from the threat of lightning was good! Came across more people once we got back on the Inner Basin trail, including a couple of guys with their skis, who wanted to get up and build some good jumps! I wonder whether we were talking about the same chute I climbed up there or something else. I hope they stayed safe from the thunder storms up there.
_____________________
Jun 19 2015
Oregon_Hiker
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 Guides 9
 Routes 384
 Photos 6,790
 Triplogs 502

74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 19 2015
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking9.20 Miles 2,752 AEG
Hiking9.20 Miles   7 Hrs   35 Mns   1.21 mph
2,752 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
 
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Got invited by my daughter and son-in-law to join them and my three grandkids for a Father's Day camping trip to the Flagstaff area. Mrs OH doesn't care for camping so she got to stay home. After some discussion of alternative destinations we decided on the camp ground at Lockett Meadow. I headed up on Thursday morning to secure a campsite and they would come up late Friday afternoon. That would give me all day Friday to do some hiking so decided to checkout the Inner Basin Cirque.

Lockett Meadow and the Inner Basin Trail can get crowded, especially when people are intent on escaping the 115 deg heat in the phoenix area and that was certainly the case on this trip. I secured one of the last three open campsites at about 1:00 pm and the camp ground was full by 3:00 pm. I don't normally like to camp or hike in crowded areas but I met some interesting people the last time I was there in Sept 2012. This trip was no exception. After setting up the huge family tent and other accoutrements needed for camping with young children, I settled into a chair with book and beer in hand for a few hours of relaxation. I was well into my second beer when a car with two young ladies came slowly driving by looking for an open campsite. A short time later they came walking up the road towards my camp. Not sure of their purpose I wondered if they might be hoping to share a campsite. Always the good Samaritan and being too easily influenced by pretty young damsels in distress, I offered my campsite for the night. They were quick to accept my offer and in no time had their tent set up on the far side of the camp site. Riley and Cheyenne turned out to be college girls on summer break who planned to stay overnight and go for a hike in the Inner Basin on Friday. It was an enjoyable evening chatting with them as we sat around the campfire. Early the next morning we parted ways, me hiking to the Inner Basin Cirque while they headed through the Inner Basin towards Doyle Saddle.

I got started up the trail to the Inner Basin about 15 minutes behind the girls. They were obviously in good shape :) and quickly disappeared up the trail. I took my time stopping to take lots of pictures and pacing my self because it would be a long day if I made it to the cirque at 11200 ft elev. I passed through the lower part of the Inner Basin only seeing one other hiker and then followed the old roads up to Flagstaff Spring. Once above 10000 ft the altitude was starting to leave me breathless and slowed me down considerably. Snow banks were lurking in the shade of trees at this elevation. There was no above ground running water, only dried up stream beds, because the water from the melting snow is quickly absorbed into the volcanic cinder soil. The off trail climb up to the cirque from Flagstaff Spring is steep and the hillside at this point was mostly covered with snow making for slippery footing. Upon reaching the cirque I was surprised to see most of the trees had been recently blown down by what must have been a powerful microburst. One fairly large tree with a 10-12 inch diameter trunk had been thrown about 100 ft after being snapped off near the ground. The entire cirque was covered with 1 to 5 ft deep snow. The scene was very different from when I had last been there in late Sept 2012. I had planned to spend some time exploring the cirque but was just too exhausted and only made a quick survey before deciding to head back. I took the short route back to camp using the old road rather than the winding trail through the Aspens and was back by 2:45 pm. Plenty of time to get a car load of firewood before my kids arrived. The Forest Service has cut up a bunch of old dead fall around the camp ground, cut it into firewood length and stacked it up for easy access. I forgot to mention that the road up to Lockett Meadow was graded on June 18 making it easily accessible for BMWs and Mustangs as well as the soccer mom mini-vans. My family showed up at 6:30 pm and we had a great weekend enjoying this beautiful area.
_____________________
Oct 04 2014
joebartels
avatar

 Guides 241
 Routes 829
 Photos 11,881
 Triplogs 4,719

51 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque Plus, AZ 
Inner Basin Cirque Plus, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 04 2014
joebartels
Hiking11.50 Miles 3,200 AEG
Hiking11.50 Miles   7 Hrs   24 Mns   1.98 mph
3,200 ft AEG   1 Hour   36 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
The_Eagle
This hike has perplexed me for years. What is it all about, what the hell is a cirque?

It was nice to feel chilly air after the most ridiculous humid summer ever in the Valley. Don't buy it... clear skies everywhere today. Returned to the valley, a few clouds. It's all the friggen rain still evaporating!

Plenty of parking options available arriving after 8am. When we left at 4pm 1-2 dozen vehicles were still driving into Lockett Meadow as we followed a small convoy out.

Bruce had a smorgasbord of options planned out. General fatigue, lack of sleep, stress, moon phase, not enough mental relaxation days, too much hiking or something had me screaming not interested in much of anything. Yeah, yeah I sat out a couple of the side trips.

Autumn had it's moments on the way up. Sweet views started rolling into play. The cirque thing was building interest. It faded. The final mile up to the cirque was a slow drag. A slip. A scream. Are we there yet?

Another corner. The pain eased up. The forest parted and cirque du Kachina cast out a hundred and eighty degree riveting view. We quickly snapped photos as if the view might cease to exist a minute later. Only 0.4 mi and 525 ft down from the summit trail saddle we could see and hear hikers above. We lunched at the base of a rockslide on the south end, then toured the cirque on the way out.

Weather was perfect all day. Heading down another slip. A louder scream. Merging back into the trail it was a zoo in the upper Inner Basin all the way down to the trailhead. Crowds don't bother me yet couldn't help but think a few fellow HAZ'ers would have seriously disapproved.
Flora
Flora
Quaking Aspen
Named place
Named place
Humphreys Peak
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage Sunburst
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
A beauty right now! A few green areas remain, a few areas are finished too.
_____________________
- joe
Oct 04 2014
The_Eagle
avatar

 Guides 7
 Routes 799
 Photos 9,890
 Triplogs 1,386

64 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Inner Basin Cirque Plus, AZ 
Inner Basin Cirque Plus, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 04 2014
The_Eagle
Hiking13.40 Miles 3,882 AEG
Hiking13.40 Miles   7 Hrs   25 Mns   2.05 mph
3,882 ft AEG      53 Mns Break16 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
I needed a color fix and had not been to Flag in awhile. The Aspens in the Inner Basin (I always want to call it the Inter Basin) should be at their peak and the Inner Basin Trail is a favorite.

Jake's Cirque hike had always held my curiosity and well as checking out some of the spring areas.
A cirque
1) a semicircular or crescent-shaped basin with steep sides and a gently sloping floor formed in mountainous regions by the erosive action of a glacier
2) (from a French word for "arena") is an amphitheatre-like valley head, formed at the head of a valley glacier by erosion. Alternative names for this landform are corrie (from Scottish Gaelic coire meaning a pot or cauldron) and cwm (Welsh for "valley", pronounced coom).

A 6:00 meet at Happy Valley Park and Ride had us to the TH by a bit after 8am and a glorious 44 degrees! Temps never got over 75 on the day... Perfect.

There were some campers and a only handful of day hikers on the trail already.. Good. We were worried that parking may be a problem.

The Inner Basin Trail to the Waterline Trail/Road #146, is just laid out perfect in my eyes. It switchbacks gently affording some spectacular views of the golden goodness. It was slow going on the way in, both in full Tibbermode.

The first side trip was up Beard Canyon, looking for Bear Paw Spring. There is a sign indicating the Spring about a 1/2 mile shy of it's location on the map, complete with a sealed metal container with the City of Flagstaff Logos. I followed the steep rocky canyon up, to try and find the map indicated source. There were remnants of old ceramic pipes going close to the spring area, but I could find no spring.

Next, it was time for the Cirque, so back down to find the old road leading towards the Cirque. Not much of a road but defines the path to the Flagstaff Spring area. After this area, the trail climbs steeply to the Cirque. You top out and breakout of the pines to views of Agassiz and Humphrey! Your reward for the steep climb up.

Another couple of side trips on the way back, and we hit the "Corridor" trails.

There was so many people, I didn't have a clue where they had all found parking spots. I was having fun watching the many different types of people out hiking. Jeans vs brand new straight out of the Columbia Catalogs outfits; Huge backpacks vs no backpacks (or water), dozens of dogs, Cellphone Cameras vs expensive setups; 70 year olds vs crying 2 year olds (thought it was Joe at first). Some hate this type of hiking, I was glad to see so many people enjoying the day. If you get tired of the masses, just walk 100 yds off trail.

There is least a week or so left to view the colors up here... Get out and enjoy

37,000 Steps aprox = 13.4 miles

Video at the Cirque :next: http://youtu.be/LxWPUah7sts
Named place
Named place
Humphreys Saddle - Kachina Peaks
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage Forecast
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
70-80% of the aspens are in prime color. 5% are past prime, and the rest are a week away from prime.

dry Bear Paw Spring Dry Dry
Not Observed

dry Beard Canyon Dry Dry
Not Observed

dry Beard Spring Dry Dry
Followed the remnants of the old pipeline to the source as indicated on the Topo. The actual spring was not found. There was some moisture in the area, but this could be attributed to recent rains.

dry Flagstaff Spring Dry Dry
There's water there, but it's all locked up and unavailable

dry Raspberry Spring Dry Dry
Spring was not obvious
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
1 archive
Sep 27 2014
toddak
avatar

 Guides 8
 Routes 5
 Photos 1,187
 Triplogs 451

55 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 27 2014
toddak
Hiking12.00 Miles 4,000 AEG
Hiking12.00 Miles   8 Hrs      1.50 mph
4,000 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Wet, stormy day on the peaks. Unfortunately that meant the Cirque was completely socked in by clouds, so I'll have to return sometime. From the upper Cirque its an easy scramble up to the saddle where the Snowbowl/summit trail intersects Weatherford. Continued climbing until howling winds and near-zero visibility convinced me I didn't need to summit that day. Returned via Weatherford and Inner Basin trails.

Lots of golden aspen, with lots more still yet to change.
_____________________
Jul 08 2014
hippiepunkpirate
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 Guides 25
 Routes 36
 Photos 2,877
 Triplogs 657

34 male
 Joined May 30 2008
 Peoria, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 08 2014
hippiepunkpirate
Hiking10.40 Miles 2,900 AEG
Hiking10.40 Miles   6 Hrs      1.98 mph
2,900 ft AEG      45 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Coming back to this one was 5 years in the making. My dad showed me this one back in 2009, and it immediately became my favorite hike. The Cirque is just a ridiculously awesome destination, like no other place in Arizona. 2010 brought the Schultz fire and the road in was closed for a few years, and even got thwarted last year when they once more closed the road during the peak of the monsoon season. I had the opportunity to go up today and I took it.

Got up at 4:00, got to Lockett Meadow around 5:00 and shot sunrise there. Hit the trail around 5:40, hoping to make the Cirque by 8:30. Left the Inner Basin Trail around 7:00 and ventured onto the unmarked maze of old roadbeds. Just above Bearpaw Spring, I made an error and missed a turn (one that was not at all obvious due to erosion gullies). The road bed I chose quickly turned into a mess of route finding and rock hopping, and I had feeling I was one drainage too far north. Came around a bend and got a view with the drainage leading right into Humphreys' guts. Then I knew I was in the wrong drainage, but fortunately the ridge I needed to climb wasn't but a 100 or so feet of relief. Popped over it and I was pretty much at Flagstaff Spring, right where I needed to be.

Flagstaff Spring was pretty much how I left it 5 years ago, chock full of beautiful Columbia Monkshood. I headed up the steep final push into the Cirque, and was greeted by one of my favorite smells, the bittersweet scent of Parry's Primrose. Saw tons and tons of them from there on up. I knew there were game trails somewhere to make the final slog easier, but I didn't run across any so it was a hard push straight up. Popped up right into my favorite views in Crique, the high meadows looking up at the glacially carved arete of the Core Ridge. 8:45, close enough to my time goal. Enjoyed the views and got some photos, and then pushed toward the back of the Cirque. Took a nice half hour breather amongst the Primrose with views of Humphreys and such at the upper end of the Cirque. Started heading back about 9:30, made sure to take in plenty of views on my way back through the Cirque, of course.

Set a good pace, and had time to swing by the classic Inner Basin meadow on the way down, but of course took another wrong turn and ended up dead-ending at a pumphouse. Probably could've backtracked but just headed downhill off-trail and soon picked another road that got me back to the Inner Basin Trail to head to the car. Once again, got my socks knocked off by the killer aspen groves on the way down. Got back to the car about 11:40, still with enough time to shower, eat, and nap a bit before going up the Canyon to give a talk. Only wish I had more time up there! This hike remains #1 on my favorites list.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Columbine, lupine, ect still doing well around 9000'. Solid showing of alpine flowers around 10500' and up.

dry Bear Paw Spring Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Locket Meadow Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
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Sep 27 2012
Oregon_Hiker
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74 male
 Joined Dec 07 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 27 2012
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking9.00 Miles 2,900 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles
2,900 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I camped at Lockett Meadow for two days hiking the Inner Basin Trail #29 on the first day and doing this hike to the cirque on the second day. Knowing how slow I hike up hill, especially above 9000 ft, I started at 8:00 am and packed lunch and water for the entire day even though it is only a nine mile hike. As I hiked up the water company road towards Flagstaff Spring there were some spectacular views of the bright yellow patches of Aspen trees on the hill sides and down in the basin. Clouds were bunching up above the mountain peaks. It took me almost 3 hours to reach Flagstaff Spring about 2000 ft above the TH with fewer delays than usual for taking pictures. I followed HPP's directions to proceed up the riparian area from the spring and then take an elk trail between the two stream forks. I had studied the topograpy on both maps and google earth several days before and HPP's instructions to bare towards the left side stream bed appeared to be the least steep and also the most open. The elk must also have agreed because the trail I was following started bearing left and actually ended up in the bottom of the stream bed for some distance before heading straight up hill to the cirque. The altitude was getting to me as I climbed up the last stretch out of the stream bed - take two steps up then wait until my heartrate dropped below the pounding level, then two more steps and repeat until I reached the cirque at 11200 ft. The first thing I spotted when I reached this supposedly seldom visited cirque was a Coors Light can - weathering of the can indicated it had probably been there since July 16, 2009. ;) [-X I added the can to the trash bag in my pack and proceeded on.

After pausing to eat lunch I started a loop exploration around the perimeter of the cirque. There were great views of the mountain walls surrounding the back half of the cirque. It looked like a great area for elk to hide out and there was an abundance of elk sign but I did not see any. It's one of those places where the solitude and absence of human traces (except for the Coors can) can make you feel like you're alone on this earth. Although temps had been comfortable at lower altitudes that morning it was quite cold on the cirque turning my finger tips numb and chilling me through my fleece pullover. There were numerous deep depressions in the cirque surface. These depressions looked like they could contain fair sized ponds during heavy runoff but the water must drain away quickly in the rocky soil. After spending only 1.5 hours in this amazing place I started the journey back down deciding to cross over to the Inner Basin upper meadow on the way back.

On the way back I encountered other hikers in the Inner Basin and ended up having some long conversations about the area and life in general - uncharacteristic for me because I normally don't feel the need to talk much - I was still high on my experience in the cirque. At the trailhead I encountered one of the couples I had talked to up in the Inner Basin packing up their gear in the parking lot. This was an excellent opportunity to get more info from this couple who knew a great deal about places to hike and the history of northern AZ. So I sauntered over and struck up a conversation - of course it also might have had something to do with the attractiveness of the young women and the hope that they might share one of the beers they were enjoying while winding down from their hike. :) One beer later and full of info about everything from local history to good places to fish, I headed back to camp completely forgetting how tired I was. :sweat:
Culture
Culture
Trash Hauled Out
Named place
Named place
Humphreys Peak Rees Peak
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Jun 20 2010
Jim_H
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41 male
 Joined Sep 08 2006
 Marana, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 20 2010
Jim_H
Hiking10.50 Miles 3,500 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   5 Hrs      2.10 mph
3,500 ft AEG
 no routes
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HAZ - Event
I swapped this hike from Saturday to today so I could do some other things yesterday. It worked out that I got to watch the Hardy Fire yesterday. See those photos. Never in a million years would I have thought that less than 24 hours after the Hardy Fire an even larger fire would break out.

I left my home later than I wanted to, around 11:15 or so. As I passed Mt Elden on US HWY 89 I spotted a few puffs of light smoke in Schultz Pass. As soon as I saw that I knew there was going to be a massive fire today, but nothing even approaching what has since occurred. I stopped and took some photos in the Black Bart Park area and continued up to Lockett.

I parked at Lockett Meadow and started hiking at 12:10 PM. I went as fast as I could and reached the Inner Basin entrance at 12:40. I talked briefly with some folks from the Country Club area of east Flagstaff that told me they had come up to escape the smoke from the Hardy Fire. I told them what I had seen earlier on my drive up. The woman's response was, " I hate to see those lovely aspen on the Weatherford Trail burn", or something very similar to that. I told her the aspen would regenerate, and to enjoy the clean air while they could. Still, at this point no visible smoke from the fire. Several parties of hikers were descending. I started back up at a much faster than normal pace.

Around 1PM I stopped and looked back towards Lockett. The smoke coming over the ridges was now visible, and growing more impressive by the second. I kept on hiking up. I stopped and started uncountable times turning back and taking over 150 photos of this event. I also took video as well.

I started to not pay a lot of attention to the route I was on and was just going up to take photos and video. Eventually I was scrambling on one of the ridges that leads to the Summit of Humphrey. Boy, those Humphrey hikers must have some impressive photos. I really didn't like what I was getting into, so I crossed an unstable scree slope that was prone to sliding and descending some more stable talus. I came down to the bottom of the last grade before the cirque and climbed up it into the cirque. It was only 3:30 and I was here, so why not? I entered the cirque, stopped, took some pics, and then turned back towards Lockett. I left the cirque at 3:45.

I rushed back to Lockett and got there at 5:10PM. When I was almost back to my car I ran into 2 FS guys in a truck driving up into the Basin to look for another party that was still out there. I told them I hadn't seen them because I had been in the cirque. I had to explain to them what the cirque was. I got back to my car and found a note on my windshield. It read "USFS, Fire in area. Evacuate Immediately. Drive Safely." I realize I didn't make the smartest choice overall to continue with my hike, but if anyone could actually miss that smoke plume, they shouldn't be driving at all. I then drove much faster than ideal on the road out. The smoke was incredible. I could see the spot fire burning east of 89 on Sunset Crater property. This spot fire was a 1/2 mile in front of the main head of the fire. I attached myself to a convoy of vehicles being evacuated from Wupatki/ Sunset crater and drove back to town. Going through the smoke on 89 meant periods of zero visibility and lots of fire fighters burning out the fuels adjacent to the west side of 89. The 89 Mesa Fire in May was in this area, but that was moot now.

I stopped numerous times and got pics of the fire from Doney Park, and of the Schultz Pass area from Buffalo Park. This was exactly like the photos I remember of the 1988 fires in Yellowstone, except ponderosa isn't supposed to burn like lodgepole.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMMvF4XZi2g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc4Jz06Ufbo
Meteorology
Meteorology
Fire - Wildfire Pyrocumulus
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Mar 15 2010
Jim_H
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41 male
 Joined Sep 08 2006
 Marana, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Snowshoeing avatar Mar 15 2010
Jim_H
Snowshoeing13.00 Miles 3,720 AEG
Snowshoeing13.00 Miles   8 Hrs   45 Mns   1.49 mph
3,720 ft AEG
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I'd say the winter season is over. It feels that way at least. Hopefully, we will still get another good sized snow storm, but the sun is strong, the air is warm, and the snow in the sun is turning to slop. The peaks had a good amount of powder last week and in the shade it is still deep, but when it's in the sun it's a real pain to walk in as it sticks to your shoe and adds a lot of weight to each step. The powder is a pain too, but only because it's so deep and soft in the shady places.

I was really naive when I started out today as I foolishly thought I was going to make a summit of Humphrey from the cirque. I knew by lunch that it wasn't going to happen. By the time I made the cirque I was exhausted and I never would have enjoyed any summit if I pressed on. It would have come well after dark so it would never have been worth it anyway. What took me 6 hours to go up took 2:45 to come down. The snow felt like it fought you at every step going up, but that makes it easier to go down.

I'm glad I did this hike under these conditions. It was really beautiful and it's really nice to see the Inner Basin and the cirque in late winter. I think I was actually a few weeks too late to have optimal snow conditions, but I got there anyway. Really, the hike would be a lot more enjoyable, even under the spring conditions, if the road was open to Lockett. I hate the road up.
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Feb 19 2010
Jim_H
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 Guides 59
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41 male
 Joined Sep 08 2006
 Marana, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Snowshoeing avatar Feb 19 2010
Jim_H
Snowshoeing14.00 Miles 4,500 AEG
Snowshoeing14.00 Miles   9 Hrs   45 Mns   1.44 mph
4,500 ft AEG
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Today felt like spring was in the air. No, not because it was warm and balmy, but rather due to the high winds that were affecting town and especially the Peaks. Somehow, winter in Flagstaff can be blue skies (not always) and calm, and spring can be windy with clouds. Oh, well. I had this trip planned for the day and I wasn't about to let a little clouds and wind get in my way. Besides, on day like this I usually work with the idea that I can turn around when ever I want.

At the trailhead it was particularly miserable, but I think that is just a function of being on the east side of the Peaks, which seem to be the windiest side. I parked my car and started hiking in, from 7,662' (according to the DEX) and at 11am, up Lockett Meadow Road to the Inner Basin. If it weren't for this section of the hike being so boring, I think I would do this more often. I guess that is what summer is for. Either way, I got to Lockett Meadow and took a picture. I kept on going up the valley to the first pumps. I got a picture of them and I did not molest them. I flew past the next few pumps and then the wind really opened up on me. I was way off about the basin being protected by winds from the ridges. I'm sure it was nothing like it was on the western slope, but it was still windy.

I ate an apple at the 9700' pump and shelter and then went on Jake's Cirque Route. Mostly, I followed ski tracks. For the next few miles I felt really tired and couldn't understand why I was so out of shape. Only on the way down would I realize that it was actually a pretty steep grade and that I was tired because I was really exerting myself. It was probably made worse by the uphill fog which made it impossible for me to tell where I was in relation to the peaks.

Eventually, I made my way up a steep powder slope and into the cirque. I was socked in and while I was happy to have made it, I wish it could have been sunny. I was tired, but I wanted to find the slide run out that I saw last week from the rim of the volcano. The snow in the cirque really stabilized this week and the sunny warm conditions turned it to an ice crust with dense layers underneath. My ice axe went in fine, but there were times it was hard to penetrate. I almost didn't recognize the slide when I crossed it because it has melted so much. For some reason, I kept going up. I fought my way up the fairly steep, but still gently sloped slope and made my way to somewhere on the rim. The last 50 feet were the hardest as they got steeper and steeper and may have approached 60 degrees for the last 20 feet and it was close to vertical for the last 5 feet due to the cornice (that shouldn't impress you). I had to kick steps into the snow and made a ladder for the last part. The cornice is very dense, and I jammed my axe into the top and used it to pull my weight up. Odds are, it wasn't as steep as it felt, but judgment tends to be off when it's getting dark. I "peaked" out at 6pm.

At the time I was there, I had absolutely no idea where I was on the rim. I knew I was on the rim (that was obvious) and I knew I was north of the Saddle where the Humphrey Summit Trail and Weatherford Trail meet, but I didn't know much else. Sometime in the autumn someone put little flags along the Summit trail about treeline. I don't care for them, but I was able to see that I was right on the trail based on seeing a few of them. I know I wasn't in the saddle because I could not find the wood signs, and because I looked at pictures of the saddle and the Inner Basin side is very gentle. I did not come up a gentle slope. Based on my memory, some pics I took, and looking at other photos of the area (including a September set by HAZer, "hikingsunshine"), I am now certain I was just past the first false summit. Basically, I was at 12,065' in the first low spot on the trail where it rides right along the rim's edge after leaving the saddle and gaining some switchbacks through bristlecone pines.

The wind was moist with fog and moving around 50 to 60 MPH, and possibly more in gusts. I don't know for sure, but it felt like that with my experience. I didn't linger and I started down back into the basin at 6:10pm. It wasn't bad going down, though I did see just how steep my ascent route was. It took me half the time it did to go up, and I was back at my car by 9:15. I was tired, it was a long day, but I enjoyed it. I want to do this again, either just to the Cirque, but maybe to the rim and possibly with a summit. It might also be fun to do as an overnight trip.


My elevation uses a max of 12,064' on the rim and a starting elevation of 7,662'. I threw in 40 extra feet since I gained a little on the way out. I also added 6 extra miles for the rim ascent and the approach road. I guess that road is about 2 miles one way.
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Aug 29 2009
dolson
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 Photos 59
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57 male
 Joined May 10 2003
 Fountain Hills,
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 29 2009
dolson
Hiking9.00 Miles 2,900 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   3 Hrs   45 Mns   2.40 mph
2,900 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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It was great to leave 108 degrees in Phoenix to do this hike.....74 degrees at the trailhead...NICE!

This is a beautiful hike, with a variety of flora as you ascend up to the inner basin.
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Jul 16 2009
hippiepunkpirate
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 Guides 25
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34 male
 Joined May 30 2008
 Peoria, AZ
Inner Basin Cirque HikeFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 16 2009
hippiepunkpirate
Hiking9.00 Miles 2,900 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   7 Hrs   30 Mns   1.20 mph
2,900 ft AEG
 
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This stole my current "Hike of the Year" honors away from Kane Gulch. What an outstanding hike! It might not interest the peak baggers so much, it might take a special kind of individual to appreciate this journey.
Geology
Geology
Tuff
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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average hiking speed 1.86 mph

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.

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