Area Status: Temporarily Closed
This trail which was officially dedicated in the summer of 1998, is the newest edition to the Mount Elden/Dry Lake Hills Trail System. Much of the trail, which links Sunset and Little Elden Trails, was constructed by devoted trail volunteers including mountain bikers, hikers, equestrians and several other organizations. It appears that all of their hard work has paid off as this is quickly becoming one of the more popular trails in the area.
As the trail climbs through the ever present ponderosa pine and Gambel oak trees that inhabit much of Flagstaff's surrounding landscape, it gradually winds through Douglas-fir, limber pine and pockets of aspen trees at the top. Additionally, you will encounter the occasional rocky mountain maple along the trail which during the fall season will blaze with color. Two vistas along the trail offer outstanding views of Sunset Crater located 8 miles northeast (as the crow flies) and in the distant background the painted desert acts as a colorful backdrop.
Many wildlife species make their home in this area including mule deer, elk, porcupine and black bear for which the trail is distinctly named after. In addition, red-tailed hawks, raven and the occasional turkey vulture will dazzle you with their aerial acrobats. Please remember to minimize your impacts on wildlife by viewing from a distance, keeping your dog(s) on a leash and limiting noise levels to a minimum.
Photos & Multimedia
At a Glance
||May thru November
||Flagstaff Ranger District - 928-526-0866
Elevation: 7,620' to 8,700'
USGS Map: Sunset Crater West
Location: Northeast side of Mount Elden off of Elden Springs Road (Forest Road 556)
Access: Drive 5 miles northeast of Flagstaff on US Highway 89 to Elden Spring Road (Forest Road 556) and turn left (west). Continue on this road approximately 3.5 miles to the Little Elden Springs trailhead on the right (north) side of the road. Park at this trailhead and follow Little Elden Trail #69 west about 1.5 miles to the junction of Little Bear Trail.
Click on map image for PRINTABLE view.
Hiking time: 2 to 3.5 hours depending on your physical ability(one way)
Trail Etiquette: Please remember that you share the trail with other users and that trail courtesy and safety is your responsibility. Be sure to observe all rules and regulations, stay on designated trail, and minimize your impacts by not trampling vegetation and avoiding muddy areas. Also, hikers and mountain bikers should yield the trail to equestrians, and mountain bikers should yield the trail to hikers.
Notes: This is a non-motorized, multiple-use trail intended for hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use only.