Elden Lookout, Sunset, and Heart Loop
The Elden Lookout, Sunset, and Heart Loop is a hard hike near Flagstaff that leads you up Elden Mountain and near the summit of Little Elden Mountain using three different trails. This mountain is one of the most obvious features of Flagstaff’s sightline and getting on top of it shows you both the city and the surrounding landscape in a beautiful way. This hike is rated as hard, and we don’t recommend it for beginners or children. While there aren’t any significant technical challenges to note, there’s a fair amount of elevation gain required. Expect moderate traffic.
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Route Description for Elden Lookout, Sunset, and Heart Loop
The Elden Lookout, Sunset, and Heart Loop is a hard hike that climbs up the eastern side of Elden Mountain, Flagstaff’s defining local peak. It then traverses to Little Elden Mountain before descending, creating a tough but rewarding loop hike. The Elden Lookout, Sunset, and Heart Loop features some interesting geological features, including a staircase of petrified lava. Everywhere you look in Flagstaff, you can find some small (or quite obvious) hints of the area’s volcanic past, including these lava steps.
From the trailhead, hike straight north towards the base of the mountain. The lower parts of the trail pass through mixed pinon and juniper forest, which gives way to ponderosa pines further up. You actually might run into some cactus, too. You’ll take on your first set of switchbacks, then complete a short northeast traverse before settling back into switchbacks. Push up to the top, where you get an expansive view of Flagstaff to the south.
Traverse the ridge on Sunset Trail, heading towards Little Elden Mountain. Drop off the ridge to descend off the mountain, then take Old Little Elden Trail to Christmas Tree Trail to return to the trailhead.
Getting to the Elden Lookout, Sunset, and Heart Loop Trailhead
The trailhead for the Elden Lookout, Sunset, and Heart Loop is off AZ SR 89.
Elden Lookout, Sunset, and Heart Loop Elevation Graph
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Elden Lookout, Sunset, and Heart Loop Reviews
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