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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Little Gnarly to Lost Burrito, AZ

no permit
21 6 1
Guide 6 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff NE
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 2.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,085 feet
Elevation Gain 400 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.53
Backpack Possible & Connecting
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
33  2016-09-11
Schultz Tank - Dry Lake Hills Loop
37  2015-07-12
Lost Burrito - Jedi Loop
9  2009-07-07 hippiepunkpirate
12  2008-06-24 hippiepunkpirate
Author hippiepunkpirate
author avatar Guides 25
Routes 36
Photos 2,877
Trips 657 map ( 2,276 miles )
Age 33 Male Gender
Location Peoria, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, May, Jun, Aug
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:11am - 6:29pm
2 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Little Bo Peep
by hippiepunkpirate

Likely In-Season!
Although no signage actually bears its name, Little Gnarly was lovingly christened by the local mountain bikers who use it to form a popular biking loop in conjunction with portions of the Rocky Ridge, Schultz Creek and Brookbank Trails. For hikers, the Little Gnarly can be used as an excellent route to the beautiful meadows within the Dry Lake Hills interior. Lost Burrito is the access route to the meadows of the dry lake. The name "Lost Burrito" has some mountain biking legend behind it, but not being much of a mountain biker myself, I can't give a real good tale about it. Much of the Little Gnarly and Lost Burrito are two-track forest service jeep trails that are now closed to motor vehicles.

The Schultz Loop (formed by a portion of Schultz Creek Trail on the north, portion of Little Gnarly on the west, and an access trail from the Sunset Trailhead on the east) is the 1.6-mile triangle that is actually shown on the signage for the area. We are not really interested in the Schultz Loop itself, but the eastern access trail, which connects the trailhead to Little Gnarly.

Note: You will be hiking in prime mountain biking territory. Single-track side trails and shortcuts branch off in all sorts of directions. It is very easy to lose your way so some instinctual route finding is necessary. I recommend hiking this trail when the grass is green and the wildflowers are in bloom (spring snowmelt or monsoon season) so if you happen to take off on a random sidetrail, at least you can enjoy a nice stroll through the forest!

My Recommended Hike: From the Sunset Trailhead you will notice the Sunset Trail rambling off into the forest to the east and the Schultz Creek Trail going the opposite direction. For the route we are looking for, head south on Schultz Loop. A few hundred feet ahead is a gate, which you will pass through. An unmarked trail will soon show itself, but bear right as indicated by the "Trail" marker. This unmarked trail leads to a interconnecting series of mountain biking trails and is quite interesting to explore, but I recommend familiarizing yourself with the area first. Anyway, pass the unmarked trail and soon you will come across the junction with the Little Gnarly. Continue south on Little Gnarly and the many large rocks dominating the trail will give light onto why mountain bikers call this Little Gnarly.

1.6 miles into the hike is a fenced-in pond with the meadows of the Dry Lake Hills beyond. Here lies an unsigned fork in the road. Should you bear left, Little Gnarly continues for .4 miles until it ends at the Brookbank. Explore this option later. Bear right on the unmarked trail, the Lost Burrito. After just a few steps is ANOTHER unmarked fork. Bear left to follow the two-track trail along the fence for easier route finding. On your left you will notice a gate in the fence where you can check out the pond. Yet another crossroads in the middle of the meadow. Follow the trail that veers just left of a lone dying pine tree. If you come around noon, this tree will cast shade on nearby boulders and is a great place to relax and enjoy the meadow. Continue down the trail to yet another unmarked fork. To bear right would continue down the Lost Burrito farther into the Dry Lake Hills, but I recommend bearing left and continuing up back into the forest and out to a great rocky viewpoint that looks down upon McMillan Mesa and East Flagstaff.

The distance listed is for this specific route out the the viewpoint and back to the trailhead, but the numerous other sidetrail journeys could add miles to the hike, not to mention creating loops with the Brookbank, Schultz Creek and Sunset trails. I met a guy at the viewpoint who had hiked from Buffalo Park up the Oldham to the Brookbank and then up the Lost Burrito to where we met. That option is about 10 miles round trip with about 1,400 feet of average elevation gain. These trails are not show on the map from the Forest Service website, so I will try to get a good map up soon.

Check out the Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-06-24 hippiepunkpirate

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Little Gnarly to Lost Burrito
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Schultz Tank - Dry Lake Hills Loop
    SATURDAY: Helped out a bit at the Arizona Trail Days in Flagstaff on Saturday. It's really a very nice event with vendors and hikers and horseback riders and Jasmine the donkey of course. I was very impressed with Jack Welch who received special recognition. He has contributed a lot to the outdoor life around Flagstaff: ... html.
    I happened to be in the right place at the right time so ended up volunteering to being the cashier in the beer garden where Wanderlust Brewing was serving up three lovely craft beers including Arizona Trail Ale. They were very gracious and also donated all proceeds and tips to the Arizona Trail. I found their coffee stout very good and they tell me there is a fine wheat beer they serve at the brewery. I like their theme as it matches up with my signature, "Beers for the Journey".

    SUNDAY: Back to the hike. Wendy was ill so couldn't join me. I drove on Elden Springs Road which is in very good shape to Schultz Tank TH where I started. I've parked at this TH a few times but had never gone to see the Tank. There are even some ducks in there. I headed west toward the Sunset TH on an unnamed trail. There were a few cars at the TH and at the Trail gate there was a sign about a "bears" spotting. Well how 'bout that! The Little Gnarly Trail is actually part of the Schultz Loop trail and is a pretty nice road. Eventually you work your way up and up and up on this road encountering some aspen along the way.

    The forest service has been active in here as well as on other parts of this route as there is a lot of road work going on as you make your way to the Dry Hills lakes. There is lots of drainages and tree trunks with orange markings. I topped out at the lake, it was pretty full. I took some photos and worked my way around to the right and over to the signs about Brookbank Meadow (mostly for my youtube viewers).
    From there I continued on the road/trail and decided at the fork to go left but not before taking pictures of quite a mixture of wildflowers. I also noticed this big batch of white something on the top of a tall fir tree... it was all pine cones so I zoomed in for some pics. I encountered two other hikers who said there was a nice viewpoint at the end and to climb up on the rocks... and so I did. I was hoping the trail would continue west from here to hook up with Lost Burrito but it dead ends. I dubbed this Little Gnarly Pointe.

    I headed back and went down the Jedi which is in pretty rough shape from all the rain. I hope the bike riders will be careful as some of their bridges and such are not serving their purpose anymore. I stopped and admired the aspen grove/meadow; sure is pretty :) . I did encounter a trail runner coming up the trail. It does have a couple tight switchback sections that one needs to be a bit careful on. Then I hooked up with a connector trail that takes you up to Sunset or down to Schultz Creek so I headed down Schultz Creek Trail as I decided to take that back to the TH as I hadn't been on it before. It is close to the road in parts so I hoped the traffic noise wouldn't be too bad and it wasn't. There was even a tad of water in the creek.

    At the Sunset TH I talked to a couple motorcyclists and was commenting about the the orange striped forest. He said he had talked to a forest service person who said they were working on trying to restore the region to the way it was before we came along. Personally I don't think it's "we" that caused the change but the cyclical climate change. Anyway, there were many orange marked trees thruout my hike so it looks like they plan to be pretty aggressive about it.

    I continued on the Sunset Trail to the other side of Schultz Tank and then down to the TH via Schultz Tank. It is a pretty site with the SF Peaks in the distance.

    A note, the aspen were starting to turn in some areas already. I could see at the top of Elden quite a bit of yellow. Interestingly, the aspen were turning at different elevations on my hike which was odd. You would think only at the top but even around Schultz Tank there was some aspen turning.

    It was a perfect day for a hike though a bit windy at times. I changed my pants and shoes, sent a couple pics on FB and headed to Subway for a sandwich to eat on the way home. Today I took the time to stop at the rest stop where you can see the landmarks of Sedona in the far distance. I haven't stopped here in a couple decades I bet. I remember stopping here with my mother for the first time and how amAZed we were.

    Videos are in production, altho 2 are done.

    Video 1 Schultz Tank to Dry Lake Hills lake - ... oYHc
    Video 2 to Little Gnarly Point - ... scAo
    Video 3 to and on the Jedi - ... t-Vo
    Video 4 finishing the Jedi - ... dMoA
    Video 5 Schultz Creek to Tank and I-17, Sedona Vista - ... vdb4
    Little Gnarly to Lost Burrito
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    Lost Burrito - Jedi Loop
    Sometimes it pays to be snoopy when someone is on the same trail as you but arrived from a totally different direction. Two weeks ago I encountered some hikers that I saw near the intersection of Brookbank and Little Gnarly Trails and I asked them where they came from. The Lost Burrito she says. The "what"? So the next day I started googling "Lost Burrito Trail", in particular, a gps track. To find that turn off of Rocky Ridge, you need that track.

    I was glad Kelly was willing to give this and the other route I found, The Jedi Trail, a shot. I prefer to do new discoveries of unmarked trails with others; altho my track following skills are much better... provided I've been given the right track. Saturday afternoon's hike got us nice and acclimated for the 1100 elevation gain we would have to do in what I thot was 1.66 miles but fortunately it was over 1.9 miles except that the last 1/2 mile was almost all of Shaw Butte :sweat: .

    Anyway, it was a nice morning and we headed out from the Schultz Creek TH up the Rocky Ridge Trail. In about 10 minutes I pulled out HAZel (the HAZtraks narrator now has a name) so that we wouldn't miss the turn. And it's easily missable. The Lost Burrito Trail (one of Flagstaff's oldest bike mountain biking trails) is definitely a trail once you make the turn. It does start to go up right away but not bad and there are several flatter areas to catch your breath. We were delightfully surprised at how nice the trail was through this bottom section. There was only one spot where we ran into a route discussion as the the track (from 2011) we were following wanted to go up a drainage but you could see where the trodden trail kept going straight (though it split for just a moment). So KEEP ON THE MAIN TRAIL and you'll be fine.

    You go thru this little boulder area that is pretty cool as you meander your way up switching directions from time to time. It's hard to believe they ran sheep through here. It is mostly shaded which is nice and as you get up a little higher you get momentary views of varying vistas though I'm not sure what we were looking at so maybe you will be able to tell by the pictures I post. One thing we could see was one of the telescope observatories; not sure if that's the one that saw Pluto first.

    Well I'm thinking, this climb is not too bad but then again, we had only made it to the first little summit. NOW the real work would begin : rambo : . It was a doozy getting up one section of that last 1/2 mile; plus it was slippery. I'm sure that's why the hiker I met two weeks ago on the trail said NOT to go down it. Up, up, up we went with an occasional breather to check out the expanding views and take a picture of course. The last bit I did the TibberShuffle where I would hike a few steps, breathe, breathe, hike a few more, breathe, breathe but I felt good and knew the top was near. We had a breeze too for this last section so that always helps.

    The top area is pretty with some wildflowers scattered about and a nice long log to have a seat and re-energize. There were some beetles there too. They were checking out my track on Kemosabe. After re-fueling it was on with our adventure as we walked thru the woods looking for the first dry lake. And it opened up beautifully to a graceful grass meadow surrounded by the forest. We walked along the north side of it and then up and over a knoll where we found an additional trail that seems to run north/south.

    We saw a bike rider over on the other side but were unsure as to where he was going. I thot this might go to the trail Jake had done in 2010 that he called (Little Gnarly to Lost Burrito). So whether or not the Lost Burrito also goes on the south side of that western Dry Lake is a question. However, my track said we were on the Lost Burrito. Also at this intersection of trails is a nice grove of aspen. Little did we know we would get treated with more of this later today.

    Anyway, you come to the next open meadow where there are lots of slash piles. Two weeks ago I saw these from the far side on the Brookbank Trail. The Brookbank Meadow is just lovely as we continued to the eastern side of the Dry Lake where there is a pond full of water right now. We checked that out and then headed back to the intersection with the Lost Burrito, Brookbank and Jedi and headed on the Jedi Trail. Off to the west is another pretty grove of aspen. We pulled over for a snack on a rock and in the shade of some fir trees.

    Next it was to the kitchen sink but not before a father and son went through on their bikes. I had seen the kitchen sink on my hike here two weeks ago when I, for some reason, decided I was going the wrong way. It's a great hike through here as well but then you get teased with some more aspen only to walk a bit further to a small grassy meadow with aspen spread before you :DANCE: . It was breath-taking (the good kind!). We took picture after picture here. We were so pleased; mostly because it was so unexpected.

    The trail continues through the aspens and then the forest as it contours down around the hillside. You will encounter a couple very short slippery sections and some interesting bike jumps/bridges as you make your way to the Little Gnarly. We had two bike riders pass us by on this section. You get occasional views of the SF Peaks too. From the Little Gnarly it's just a hop, skip and jump to the Schultz Creek Trail. It was starting to get a bit more overcast now. It's still very green here and there were spots of various flora including Columbine and Arizona Rose (LOVE the smell, clove-like).

    The bike traffic was significant and not quite as polite as I had two weeks ago. Kelly kept us going as I tried to remember what was coming up. I mostly remember that last 1/2 mile before you get to the intersection with the Fort Valley trail. It's quite impressive that big re-route they did about a mile from the TH. The trail is in great shape but you do have to be mindful of the bike traffic.

    A great day of discovery and we lucked out because the scenery was great. Thanks Kelly for helping me check it out. There are lots of loop possibilities out there. And who knew bike routes could actually be fun to hike.

    Part 1: Lost Burrito to the top ... 9To8
    Part 2: Lost Burrito cont'd thru Dry Lakes area ... TaDU
    Part 3: The Jedi Trail (it's a beauty) ... obg8
    Part 4: rest of Jedi and Schultz Creek Trails - ... -Bjg

    some columbine, lupine and purple loco along with some ground daisies
    Little Gnarly to Lost Burrito
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Early morning hike with my padre. Did the lower Brookbank, down a section of Little Gnarly and then the Lost Burrito. The wildflowers were in great form, much more prominent then when I did the Dry Lake Hills in June. We went back to the second dry lake, which we thought was a bit nicer than the first one. Saw a bow hunter all decked out in camo!
    Little Gnarly to Lost Burrito
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Once again I got side-tracked while trying to follow on of Cosmic Ray's hikes, but this time it turned out to be a pretty good hike anyway. The interior of the Dry Lake Hills are gorgeous right now! Green grass was everywhere and isolated wildflowers dispersed between the old growth ponderosas made my only regret being that I left my camera at home! After going off on a random jeep trail that led to some cool mountain biking trails, I found my way back and got on track to meadow in the center of the hills. I'm gonna try to come back next week and follow Cosmic Ray's route to the end, maybe as soon as Sunday. I also would like to add this area to the hikes database being that it is a semi-popular area.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To Schultz Trailhead
    Location: 7 miles north of Flagstaff on graveled Forest Roads.

    Access: Drive north out of Flagstaff on US 180 to FR 420 (Schultz Pass Road). Drive 6 miles east on FR 420 to the trailhead at a parking lot on the south side of the road.

    Road Condition: FR 420 is graveled and suitable for passenger cars except during winter when it is closed because of snowpack.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 158 mi - about 2 hours 35 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 263 mi - about 4 hours 5 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 10.1 mi - about 24 mins
    page created by hippiepunkpirate on Jun 24 2008 1:35 pm
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