The Elden Environmental Study Area is a small collection of trails forming various loops at the base of Mount Elden. Access is found at the end of a culdesac in a neighborhood in east Flagstaff. The area is popular with people walking their dogs and passing through on the Pipeline trail, which runs along the south end. One trail leads to the large crack or canyon which divides Mount Elden in two. Therefore, the trailhead can be used to access that canyon for a scramble to the summit of Elden.
The Elden Environmental Study Area is a collection of small official trails and social trails that form various loops. Some of these have names like, "Forces of nature", or, "Walk through time". There is a map at the trailhead which names them and shows where they supposedly go, but time and people have changed the trail pattern and added numerous short connectors. None of the trails are long, and because you are sandwiched between Mount Elden and the Pipeline Trail you really can not get lost. I used to have a friend who lived over in east Flag and walked his dog out here. The loop he used took about 15 minutes and went for around 1/2 a mile. Your trip will vary depending on the trails you take.
The trails are in good shape and go through a mix of ponderosa pine, juniper, oak, shrubs, and open grassy areas. One interesting area is the Elden Grave. The Elden grave is where the 6 year old son of the Elden Family was accidentally killed by a mule driver in 1887. The Elden family moved on to California, but they left their name on Mount Elden and a rock covered grave with a small pipe cross marking it. There is a sign discussing this, and trail signs point the way to it. Another sign points to the origin of the 1977 Radio Fire, which started in this area when local teenage campers had a fire that escaped and burned most of Mount Elden in June of 1977.
The most enjoyable time of year for the area, being that it is Flagstaff, is probably summer, but it can be nice out here year round. Following heavy snows, this is a decent area for short snowshoe or cross country ski trips, and due to it's southern exposure, it melts off fast so it can be dry when other trails are still snow covered. - Jan 15 2011 Jim_H