Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
O’Leary Peak Day Hike
when Trip Report : September 5, 2020
  Trip Report : August 10, 2019
  Trip Report : September 26, 2015
where Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff
the hike     This serves as a conditioning hike for our big Weatherford hike on Sunday. But if you would like to join us for a fun day during this Labor Day weekend you are welcome to do so. You do not have to finish the entire hike if you prefer to do only a couple of miles.
    It is a wide Jeep road, but there is not a lot of shade or cover. It will be easy to keep a 6 feet distance between us, since there have not been a lot of people on this trail the last few time I was there. The lookout tower will be closed, but you can still get a good view from the top of the mountain.
    O’Leary Peak is located near Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, about 15 miles northeast of Flagstaff. Unlike its cinder cone neighbor to the south, O’Leary is a lava dome volcano that last erupted during the Pleistocene epoch (so not too much chance of another eruption during our hike). The path to the summit is actually an old jeep road closed to vehicle traffic other than for official Forest Service use. (Sorry, but that means we won’t be able to drive to the summit today.)
    For the first mile the road is relatively flat and follows beside the Bonito lava flow emanating from Sunset Crater. Then it begins a steady ascent for the next four miles, with long switchbacks leading to the peak. The road narrows and steepens on the final leg of the ascent to the peak. The summit, elevation 8,916', has a lookout tower which may or may not be publicly accessible, and affords sweeping views of nearby Sunset Crater, the San Francisco Peaks to the southwest, the Painted Desert to the north and east, and even the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on a clear day. After enjoying the views and lunch, we will return the same way we came.
•  sturdy hiking boots
•  at least 3 liters of water
•  rain poncho
•  hat, sunblock, sunglasses
•  lunch/snacks
•  camera
distance 9.6 miles
time 5-6 hours
EC +-2,014' elevation change
elevations 6,846' at O’Leary Peak Trailhead to 8,916' at the summit.
type round trip
starting at
FR 545A, where it is closed 35° 22.311' N,  111° 32.431' W  [NAD27]
on trail 100% — FR 545A (O’Leary Lookout Trail)
rating "B"     Rate yourself as a hiker.
dogs allowed no
cost The club allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.
weather Flagstaff
meet 830 AM at McDonald’s off 89, at 4930 N US highway 89.
•  Take I-17 north to Flagstaff.
Go east on I-40 to exit 201 (Route 89 North).
Turn left at the end of the exit ramp and go north on Country Club Drive about half a mile to the tee junction with Route 89.
Turn right and go north on Route 89 for approximately 12 miles to the turnoff on the right for Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (FR 545).
Turn right onto FR 545 and follow for about 1.8 miles to the turnoff on the left for FR 545A and the O’Leary Group Campground. If you reach the Bonito Campground or the Sunset Crater NM entrance, you’ve gone too far.
Turn left onto FR 545A and follow for about a quarter mile to the point where it is closed, and park there.
All roads to the trailhead are paved and accessible by any passenger vehicle.

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updated September 13, 2020 © Copyright 2020, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.