Mount Elden

Mt. Elden is a very popular hike in Flagstaff.  You have the options of a 45 minute loop trail, or a short trek to access the Buffalo Park trails, or the complete grunt up to the top to the lookout tower – where you’ll gain 3,000 ft of elevation in under 3 miles.


The trail is rocky and steep but the views are great and all the moisture this winter and spring brought pretty blooms.


One of the highlights is the unique boulders that are scattered through a section of the loop, affectionately named Fat Man’s Loop.


Wildlife such as deer, snakes, lizards, and the occasional mountain lion like to hang out here.


I love to photograph the trees on this mountain. Between the alligator juniper, Ponderosa Pines, and Aspens the colors, shapes, ages, and stages are an always changing wonder to observe.

As I mentioned in a previous post, this hike is the best training hike in Flagstaff. Many prepare for hiking the Grand Canyon here. Firefighters can be seen running this trail with full gear as part of their fitness routine . You’ll see people sitting beside the trail trying to catch their breath, red-faced, and feeling defeated. Even the tower watchmen who climb this mountain frequently declare this hike never gets easier but it does start to feel shorter after a few months.

The loop is the most popular choice, and for the most part anyone can do this with just moderate effort . But to climb to the top I’d advise you to be acclimated to the elevation of Flagstaff (7,000 ft), bring lots of water, a few salty snacks, and keep a slow steady pace.

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