Elden Lookout Trail

HARD 273 reviews
#1 of 7 trails in

Elden Lookout Trail is a 4.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Flagstaff, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,391 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Directions from Flagstaff: Follow Santa Fe Avenue past the entrance to the Flagstaff Mall and the Peaks Ranger District Office to a trailhead parking lot just off the north side of the street.

12/8/2018 - My 86th hike to the top was great. I started at @7:30am and the trail was frozen and icy so I wore my Kahtoola Microspikes all the way up. Lot of snow halfway up however the trail was easy and well packed from previous hikers.
Warning! There's a big dead tree laying across the trail @10-15 min after the trail t's off (at the top of Fatman's Loop). It looks precarious and ready to slide further down. If that happened, I'd hate to be below! I'm reporting it to the Forestry Service because it's a definite hazard. I'll include a photo here. Because of the snow, it took me 1:25 to reach the top (not counting 3 short breaks) I've hiked it as fast as 1:10 in better conditions.

hiking
1 month ago

Great distance for travelers staying in Flagstaff! I went up on a Monday afternoon with not too many people along the way. The incline gradually gets steeper and steeper and the air thinner and thinner. Visiting from WA, this trail felt like a typical incline, though the elevation is always an adjustment. Views are amazing and getting up to the lookout tower is worth it! Though the gate to climb the tower was closed when I got there, it’s still an amazing view from the ground! Took me just under 3 hours with stopping along the way, I also clocked in at 5.7 miles RT.

1 month ago

Good views overlooking the city of Flagstaff and surrounding hills with pretty aspen's at the top. A fairly busy/popular trail. A decent and steady incline makes for a great workout (my app clocked the route as 5.7mi up and back). Lots of switchbacks... glad I wore my sturdy rubber bottom hiking shoes, as it's gets rocky in parts, definitely saved my toes and makes for a quicker descent.

hiking
1 month ago

The trail was well marked all the way up. It was a little technical in some spots if you don’t hike regularly. I personally had no problem, except for the fact I’m a flat lander from Missouri. I had to stop a take a few breaks, but I still made it to the top in two hours. I only drank maybe two liters of water. I would definitely hike it again.

2 months ago

Take water and trail snacks! Tricky and challenging climb, and the view at the top is great but plenty of terrific views all the way up. The decent is a whole different group of muscles, so a terrific overall workout. Don’t miss this one!

hiking
2 months ago

October 6th hiked up there to look at the Autumn/fall leaves. Trees looked pretty. The lookout tower was also opened so we went up there as well to capture some great pics.

Bring some hiking sticks and a jacket. It gets windy and cold, and the hike is indeed hard.

2 months ago

great quick trail- just outside of the hussle!!

2 months ago

Well maintained trail. The ending isn’t the most scenic and the day was particularly rough because of controlled burns . Last part is tough

2 months ago

Nice views going up. Very steep - took us 5 hours up & back 5 miles to the cell towers ( didn't realize that was the destination!). It's called a "lookout" not a "scenic lookout" for good reason - the buzzing towers make you want to head right back down. But views on the way up were better. Tho steep, the footings were good.

2 months ago

Great hike and view at the top! Make sure you climb all the way to the top of the tower if it’s open. 1st mile of the trail I would give an easy-moderate rating. Second mile is significantly more difficult (lots of loose rocks and high steps). Went the first week of September and there were tons of yellow wildflowers lining the trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Well-marked, a good workout, and a brilliant view at the end. Go up the lookout tower at the top if it’s open! I don’t love finding radio/cell towers at the top, but the lookout tower made it worth it.

3 months ago

Great hike and workout, especially if you add additional weight.

3 months ago

Great workout with nice views from the top. Pretty steep.

3 months ago

Love this trail. Absolutely a workout, great views, and nice trees. Fabulous trail. Will kick your booootie.

3 months ago

Great elevation and views. Definitely climb the tower at the top. Stay on the trail or it makes it much more difficult.

hiking
4 months ago

Drove up to hike for a day trip from the Phx area. This was a beautiful hike, full of switchbacks & some beautiful views. Lots of small lizards along the way & variety of trees. The area is still recovering (and will be for a long time) from the 1977 Radio Fire - but don't let this deter you, the hike is so beautiful.

Parking was free at the base, about 25-30 spaces. I arrived around 8/8:15 a.m. and it was about half full on a Friday. Hiked the Fatman's loop to the Elden Lookout trailhead. Some areas are steep and I would agree with the 'hard' rating.

Views at the top are great, climb the radio tower if it's open (worth it!). Shared a few photos for views on the way up/ down. I would recommend hiking shoes/ tennies if you have them, on the way down there were a few loose rocks (but nothing you can't handle!).

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail that is very well maintained. Winds through a few different tree types! Awesome views for a payoff. Pretty steep but nothing crazy.

4 months ago

We explored this trail while out from Michigan...WOW! Elevation was a surprise and it is a challenging and technical hike with rocks and roots (at least for us!) but worth every step, grab, and grunt! Coming back down easier of course but technical in a different way with some loose stone. We did the Overlook once and Fatman’s twice...a don’t miss set of trails and plenty more we didn’t get to all right there! Thanks Arizona!!

4 months ago

Beautiful hike and with climbing 2600 ft in 2 miles it’s a good effort. It is difficult but not as challenging as Camelback nor as technical as Flat Iron (both in the valley)! Don’t let some of the reviews scare you away!!

5 months ago

awesome workout with incredible views

5 months ago

This trail is an amazing workout. You start out in pinon/juniper and then steadily climb up to ponderosa pines, firs, and lots of aspen trees at the top! It’s a tough hike but one of my favorites.

hiking
5 months ago

I’m a big guy sadly took me 5 hours to get to the top and 3 hours to get down. I went while it was raining but the view is amazing but coming down just dragged

5 months ago

Closed as of 7/1/18.

6 months ago

One of few more challenging hikes in the Flagstaff area, Mount Elden trail is designed in a way that makes the mountain as brutal as possible to go up. What could have been done in a mile and a half or so, takes 2.5 miles to ascend. You'll likely notice the unnecessary switchbacks and lengthened trail around the side of the mountain that makes it feel like you're expending all this energy to go nowhere. I've done this hike several times and will do it again, but every time I do it I'm frustrated with the design of the trail. not a very good trail at all, but a decent hike nonetheless.

6 months ago

Have hiked it several times, a good hike . A good time .

hiking
6 months ago

The lack of oxygen pushes you to take it easy on the way up, step by step and breathing as if you were on a treadmill. Unless you are a Flagstaff resident and are used to the less oxygen atmosphere. The views are definitely breathtaking for sure. Go light but take water and some snacks. When you reach the summit you will be ready to eat some carbs.

hiking
7 months ago

This 2500ft incline hike will test your stamina for sure. Be careful as the trail seems to have been washed out in a few places higher up. This hike has what I call a grand staircase feature which is pretty cool. Unbelievable views at the top when you reach the towers. This hike took me just under 3 hours to complete, rests included. Passed by many other hikers on this trail as it is popular due to how close the trailhead is to Flagstaff. I recommend trekking poles for the descent, especially if you have bad ankles and knees like me.

hiking
7 months ago

Felt pretty decent until the mountain greeted us. Steep and semi technical but very enjoyable. Hard is accurate but there is plenty of area to throttle down and rest.

hiking
8 months ago

We hiked it last week, we were visiting and not used to the higher elevation so we huffed and puffed a bit on this one despite being fit runners. Our dogs accompanied us on the hike and enjoyed it as well. A little snow and wind at the top but a beautiful view of the city! We went at 9am on a Wednesday and pretty much had the trial to ourselves.

8 months ago

So beautiful! Worth every step up and every time I fell down.

Load More