Mt Elden is a very large lava dome that rises abruptly about 2,400 feet. The mountain has a massive trail mecca around it. Its also the only mountain in the Flagstaff area that has routes more difficult then class 2. There are class 3 and 4 solid rock ledges and faces around the mountain that require route finding. Many people have had to be rescued from the mountain, and there have been a number of deaths on the mountain.
The back side of the mountain up the Mt. Elden road has class 5 areas in the Dry Lake Hills. The Mount Elden/Dry Lake Hills area also has more miles of hiking trails than anywhere else in the area.
There are 2 main routes up Elden, Forest road 557, and the Elden Lookout trail. There are many other trails you can take, but these are the most direct and most popular trails. The Trail takes anywhere between 1 hour to 2 1/2 hours to get to the top. It's 2.52 miles and rises about 2,200 feet. The Trail gets Steep in several spots and the logs placed on the trail create "stair steps" in many spot. Many People use it to get in shape and it's often that people run up the trail. The trail is often crowded in the summer; it's a very popular trail to hike. The Tower on top is open in the summer months and offers a great view of Flagstaff, San Francisco Mountain and northern AZ.
Getting ThereMt Elden Lokout Trail:
The Trail Head is Located in Flagstaff on US 89 north of the Flagstaff mall. There is a parking area just off the highway. The approximate distance to the summit is about 3 miles.
Mt. Elden Road:
Take US 180 heading towards the Grand Canyon to FS road 557. Follow the road until you reach the gate near the top. The hike to the top from here is about 1/4th mile. Do not lift the gate and continue, only the forest service and other service vehicles are allowed past this point.
When To Climb
Usually Elden is Climbed May-November. If there is snow on the mountain then it may not be possible to hike to the tower using the Elden lookout Trail. The steep angle of the mountain and the soft snow makes it impossible to summit. To reach the summit it is better to snowshoe up the the Road.
Many people will hike up the trail as far as they can, making the the lower section of the trail very icy. Crampons are recommended.
Mt. Elden has no avalanche danger on the trail or road.
Any links needed for Mt. Elden can be found on Humphreys Peak
sight due to there close proximity to each other and Flagstaff.
Camping is prohibited.
Parking is limited and there are many people that hike this mountain everyday, mainly on weekends. Most people stay on the bottom trail, Fat Mans Loop.
Height 9,018 feet.
Little Elden is a sub peak of Mount Elden located about a mile north of Mount Elden. It is the northern most point on the mountain. There are a several ways of doing it. You can do the main summit trail then take the Sunset Trail across the ridge. Get off the trail and stay on the ridge and climb over boulders the whole way. A shorter way would be to use the Heart trail
then once on the ridge get off the trail and work your way over the boulders to the summit.
Another way is to park at Horseman's Lodge, a restaurant about 4 miles outside of Flagstaff on 89. Take the trails to the base of Little Elden then get off the trails and find a route that takes you to the summit. This route is a lot of bushwhacking.
With a map of other trails you can come up with all sorts of routes to get to this sub-summit.
Arizona's 20-20 Challenge
Yes Arizona has it's own little challenge just like other states do like the Colorado/California 14ers, Idaho 12ers, or even doing all the State High points.
Arizona's Challenge is the 20 highest and the 20 deepest. What this means is the 20 highest mountains that are not on protected areas and has a trail to the summit and the 20 deepest canyons with the same criteria.
The mountains all have an elevation gain of at least 1,000 feet. The listing of the Peaks and Canyons are yet to come.
For more information go to Arizona's 20-20 Challenge