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Mount Elden - AZT #32, AZ

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Guide 42 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff SE
3.4 of 5 by 12
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Distance One Way 14 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,502 feet
Elevation Gain 1,586 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,359 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 21.86
Backpack Yes & Connecting
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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6  2018-05-07
AZT #32 South end
8  2018-04-25
Little Elden Trail #69
5  2018-04-23
Sandy Seep Trail #129
15  2015-09-12 sandyfortner
6  2015-07-13
AZT #32 Hwy 89A to Little Eldon Trail
110  2014-08-30 desertgirl
27  2014-08-30 BiFrost
78  2014-08-30 tibber
Page 1,  2,  3
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Jun
Sun  6:09am - 6:33pm
Official Route
8 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!
The trail heads north, goes under some railroad tracks and heads west. It follows Wildcat Canyon and after several junctions and a gate, the trail reaches FR 510. From here it works its way north and west, and across a large open area. After reaching a road it follows it due west for a short distance and then continues northwest up to the Rio de Flag and a bridged crossing. Climbing out of this drainage the trail crosses numerous 2-track roads and then goes under Highway 89. A turn to the northeast and it reaches the junction to the Sandy Seep Trailhead. The route now follows the Sandy Seep Trail, connects with the Little Elden Trail, climbs up and around Little Elden Mountain and then reaches Schultz Pass Road and the Schultz Pass Trailhead.

Southern Trailhead
Interstate 40 - West of Cosnino Exit
Old Walnut Canyon Road Trailhead: From Flagstaff, take the Country Club Road (Exit 201) from I-40 and head south. Turn left at the Old Walnut Canyon Road (FR 303); the road will turn to dirt. The trailhead is about 4 miles east on the right (south) side of FR 303. There is room for horse trailers.
Canyon Vista Campground: From Flagstaff, drive southeast 6 miles on Lake Mary Road (Forest Highway 3). Turn left into Canyon Vista Campground. When the campground is open (May – October) parking is available for day users only. Follow Sandy’s Canyon Trail for 1.4 miles to its intersection with the AZT.

Northern Trailhead
Schultz Pass - Schultz Pass TH

To reach the starting point, drive on Interstate 17 (or I-40) to downtown Flagstaff, and drive north on Highway 180 (North Fort Valley Road). After you pass the Sechrist School on the right (east), continue 1.5 miles and then turn right (northeast) on Schultz Pass Road (FR 420). Follow this paved road 0.7 mile, turning left (north) at the fork in the road. Continue north for 3.9 miles to a small parking area on the right (south) side of Schultz Pass Road. The AZT can be found on the north side of Schultz Pass Road across from the parking area.

Added 2017-07-24

Check out the Official Route and 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.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot

    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
    Mount Elden - AZT #32
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    Hiked another tiny segment of the Arizona Trail, several miles on Passage 32. This goes through the landscape impacted by the 2010 Schultz Fire. Slow regeneration in this dry climate.

    This area has one of the worst mistletoe infestations I've seen in a while. This affects only the Ponderosa Pine here, as far as I know.

    I walked back via the road after stopping to see Schultz Tank. Very low, as one would expect.

    However, despite all these complaints, it was a very pretty hike.

    Currant bushes are blooming.
    Mount Elden - AZT #32
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    Well, here's a fraction of AZT #32 completed! At this rate it'll take me about 4 or 5 dayhikes to finish one passage! It was a nice hike, some of it new to me, as I had previously always turned up the Heart Trail.

    I took the short side trail to see Little Elden Spring. Yuck! Well, at least there is water, but it's a skanky pool. Below it, on the other side of a boulder is a slightly better-looking small pool.

    Further along, I came to some aspens and firs. I decided to turn around at the junction for the horse camp. I can go back later, start at that junction and hike the part that ends at Shultz Tank.

    Mount Elden - AZT #32
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    On our drive up we observed the results of the New River flooding. Certainly devastating with washes and the creek bed scoured and widened. It was dramatic! Oh, and we hit traffic delays coming and going on I-17.

    Another double AZT weekend starting out with Segment 32 from Schultz to the I-40 and then Segment 31 from Sandy to I-40. The nite before we (Ambika and me) drove around FR 301 the nite before trying to find a camp spot and discovering there is NO CAMPING here :( . In the dark we met up with Tracy and Shawn at Country Club Dr and headed to dispersed camping off of Old Walnut Canyon Rd. Shawn found us a nice spot on the second try. Kathy and Karl joined us a little while later. They all slept in their vehicles, I practiced my tent camping ;)

    We took Karl and Kathy's vehicle to Schultz TH and they took Ambika's to I-40 TH. We parked next to a vehicle with Montana plates. They were from Helena and were heading up to Fremont. One of the fellows knew of Bob as I had mentioned HIKEARIZONA.COM and he said, tell BobP "Geronimo".

    It was a nice morning as we headed off (9:00) past Schultz Tank and into the forest. There would be lots of wildflowers on this trek and they started right away. We hit Mullein Alley and were amazed at their height. The Little Elden Trail was recently opened and it looked like they did a great job with renovating this trail. We continued winding our way around the north side of Little Elden where you could see a lot of the burn area. To its north on another mountainside you could see the additional burn area quite clearly. But as we got to the northeast side, you could see the area that wasn't burned.

    Along the eastside we came across this most incredible area that was covered in wildflowers, in particular, brilliant orange paintbrush. It was like a mini-Glacier Park floral display. It was really quite something :y: . Enroute to the south side of Little Elden, we climbed a bit of a hill, saw some deer in the distance, noticed the large cliff rose bushes and trees against the back drop of Little Elden's cliff face before arriving at our break (11:11) in what I call the Elden Valley. The Valley was lush as well with the beautiful green grasses and smatterings of wildflowers.

    We reached the intersection with the Heart (a fun but take your breath away trail up to the Elden ridgeline - Ambika and I did that last year) and then with Sandy Seep 11:35 (a trail we also did last year). Once again this Sandy Seep trail delivered in the wildflower department though different this time. Along the way we also saw a bunch of acorn woodpeckers chasing a squirrel :o from apparently THEIR tree. They all made quite a ruckus as the squirrel ran over to the tree next door. It was very entertaining once we figured out what was going on.

    We didn't know when we would encounter K&K coming up from the south. It ended up being around noon so we found a large shade tree to sit under. We talked about what they had hiked and told them the best part of their hike was yet to come. We only lunched for about 20 minutes as we still had 8 miles to go I think, they only had 6. It was fun though.

    We enjoyed our views of Mount Elden and some of the sunflowers along the way as we headed toward the 89 tunnel. I kept expecting the trail to take us down to the light to cross but we paralleled the highway until we hung a left and headed into the tunnel (12:45). Somewhere later from here we apparently entered Picture Canyon and were on some sort of City Loop for this portion of the hike. We were already looking forward to our next little break at Rio de Flag (1:30); altho we ended up breaking longer just because the area was so cool with the creek and all. Tracy experimented with her new waterproof camera (they are all going on a GC rafting trip toward the end of the month; and leaving me behind :( ).

    We continued thru Picture Canyon and past the quarry area which was kind of interesting. There was some equipment there including what looked to be conveyor belt thingies. Along the way toward the NE was an incredible field of yellow flowers that really stood out. We reached a road around 2 and walked it just a bit before going thru a most interesting gate into a very colorful area with flowers and rocks and deceased trees.

    As you round a couple corners there is this incredible field of flowers spread out before you. It was such a surprise. I do think it's planted. Here Ambika and I looked back to capture the field with the mountains. Ambika got a really good picture here. We took our time walking thru this. I hope my movies will do it justice. And then you come back into the forest area that sits above a meadow that had a gazillion sunflowers just on this side of the tracks.

    Around 3 I requested a 5 minute break in the next shade. Well Tracy picked a great spot as we had a nice view of the tracks and got to see 2 or 3 trains pass. However, it must have been on a curve as wow was it screechy at times as the train rolled by. I don't know, there's just something 8) about watching trains... Our 5 minutes turned into 20.

    It was time now to finish off this last bit. We were toodling along pretty good observing some of the trash along the way and of course the view to the distant very red mountain to the east. Shawn all of a sudden decided we were off trail and as we headed back the way we had come, he said it would be shorter to cross country and would we be ok with that? No one even hesitated. So we crossed over to the correct route based on Shawn's GPS track. I didn't load the track on ScoutII this time but next time I will as a back up.

    We walked on the road next to the track for awhile until we got to Tip Tank (4:05) and saw the sign for the Trail, in retrospect the Trail we should have stayed on :doh: . This trail had been re-routed from the old track Shawn had. Well now we know and now you know. If you're hiking it north, it wouldn't be a problem at all. Getting weary now, we know we should have about a mile left. We pressed on and eventually reached the tunnels of the I-40. We were lucky that a train was just rounding the corner and heading our way. I got some good pics and video. I wanted to cross under so I could see how loud it was as the train went over; but it wasn't very loud at all.

    As we made our way to the next tunnel I could hear a big rumble which probably meant another train. I turned and by gosh, here comes a train from the west. So we got to watch two trains passing over the underpass. Finally we go under the frontage road to Ambika's vehicle (4:34). (refurbished ScoutII, or should it be Scout the Third now?, is only off by .15 miles or so now in the last three hikes). After a beverage we headed to Country Club Dr to pick up some ice and then headed back to camp where Kathy made some delish Chicken Nachos, Ambika prepared a mighty fine Italian dinner and Tracy put together a great salad with some really garlicy (?) toasted bread. :y: .

    The night before you could hear the trains but tonite, no trains; just the wind that woke me around 2AM. In the later AM it was the crying baby and the cattle and the vehicle noise of someone driving around at 5:30AM. SHEESH! But at least it was warmer.

    PS Oh, I have lots of video of course and they're actually ready to go. Just need to finish uploading to youtube. My computer was not cooperating last nite so there is a delay.
    September 11, 2014 here are the videos:
    [ youtube video ] to below Little Elden
    [ youtube video ] to just past 89 underpass
    [ youtube video ] into the field of flowers
    [ youtube video ] finishing off the trail including watching the trains
    Mount Elden - AZT #32
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    Elden Loop
    for my HAZfest hike I had planned on being on my own to do Elden #4 but when Ambika said she'd join me for a hike, I found something longer and hopefully more fun but just as hard. I had been reading the Elden #4 trip reports and stumbled across johnr1's report that looked interesting. So in about an hour or so, I did a bunch of preliminary Rx mostly to confirm I could do the Loop :) and it wasn't going to be THAT hard. Another hiker that thot about joining us caused me to have a backup plan as she isn't that strong a hiker, it would have been an up and down on Sunset Trail.

    From HAZ camp I drove over to the Sandy Seep TH to meet Ambika. I think we got started a little after 9:15. My legs definitely weren't feeling it the first two miles :cry: but fortunately, that situation would change and I would get a nice rhythm going. The SANDY SEEP TRAIL is a nice trail as it starts out. Once it narrows, it has ruts in spots so you have to maneuver around them. You do get views of the mountains around you :) so that is kind of nice.

    You gradually go up 350 feet or so to the junctions with the second junction being the Heart Trail. Thru this area, you can really see the damage from the rain. The HEART TRAIL climbs ever so slightly at first and because of the recent rains, once again you have to work around some of the ruts. Part way up I was having a toe issue which I was able to repair at about the 1/2 way up point. From there, the switchbacks began in earnest which was fine with me. There were a couple steep ones but for the most part, "very doable" especially as the views changed :DANCE: . The only thing I wish for when going straight up is for a less rocky trail tho I guess it really wasn't that bad.

    Always in the back of my head is only 1400 feet in two miles. It was fun to guess where the trail was going to take you. There were a couple hikers ahead of us so sometimes we got hints. Basically you switchback one mountain only to find yourself on another and then up to the Sunset Trail. The weather had been somewhat threatening at this point. We were armed with umbrellas and ponchos, it would be only the lightning :scared: that would make us nervous. At the junction with Sunset and Heart, we took a break in the shelter of the boulders and the forest.

    I did encounter a biker who said the trail had become quite slippery after the rain and in fact, we would see another biker's bike slip off the trail as we made our way up. This part of the SUNSET TRAIL is rather fun as you are somewhat on a ridgeline that you cross over from the east side. Soon you can see Agassiz and part of that mountain range off to the north. And even better, once you get to the now mostly treeless top of the ridgeline, it seems the whole world opens up for you to see :y: . We also got to enjoy the flora of the season and the dancing of the clouds in various directions. It was hard to leave this area that was also quite windy.

    We headed off toward the tower and discussed whether to go up the hill or not as the Sunset Trail wraps around the north side of the tower hill. We decided to head up the tower hill and around to the other side where there is the other trail junction to Elden #4. Ambika decided we would take a break at the Elden Saddle which was not too far away. However, getting there involved rather large step downs and certainly hardly a level piece of trail. I knew right away this ELDEN TRAIL #4 was going to be evil :x . We were about half-way through our hike.

    It was windy and a little nippy as we finally got down to the saddle where we had our lunch. We would run into several hikers coming and going at this point and for the rest of the trail down to Xmas Tree. Reluctantly, we prepared to head on down the trail. This trail gives you little breathing time where you can hike on a level turf. You really have to pay attention : rambo : cuz it also gets slippery in certain sections. It's not the best trail to stop and take pics either as you end up with the city and/or Flagstaff Mall in the background. Plus, it seems like we'll never get to the next trail at this pace if you could call it a pace.

    Finally we hit the junction with FATMANS LOOP TRAIL and almost immediately, you feel like you're walking on air in an upright position able to breathe normally once again. :A1: Oh this is a fun little trail with plenty of entertainment; especially with all the boulders and such. It's definitely a trail I won't mind doing again. We were only doing about 3/4 of a mile to reach our junction.

    We had one last snack and sit down before finishing off the last 3 miles. The CHRISTMAS TREE TRAIL starts a little close to the road for awhile but soon veers away and you get to enjoy the solitude of your environment. It was a pleasant enough 1 1/2 miles but it seems when there is at least another 1/2 to go, you really stretch your eyes looking for the junction with Seeping Sandy. There were a few interesting things along the way but I was pretty much in "Tibber back to the barn" mode :wlift: .

    Once you reach the junction with SANDY SEEP TRAIL it's a bit of a relief as there is only 1 mile and 1/2 to go. You walk and cross the messed up drainage before getting on the decent trail that had some ruts from time to time. Along the way, I did spot a couple deer in the soft glowing grass. They spotted me too quickly though and seemed jittery so I didn't grab my camera. Instead I waited for Ambika to catch up to me hoping she would get a chance to at least see them but just barely before they headed into the forest.

    Before you know it, you're on the nice wide trail enjoying the sun setting on the grassy floor. It seemed the TH came up much faster than I anticipated but that is not a bad thing. I took my gear off and drove Tonto over to where Ambika was. We shared some watermelon Kat (Snakemarks) had given me that morning. Watermelon always seems to hit the spot :) . Ambika and I parted ways and once again, I was stuck eating at McDonalds as it was late but I did make it back to Camp Chumley just before dark.

    Two videos from the hike:
    1 Seeping Sandy and Heart and Sunset -
    2 Elden #4 and Fatmans Loop -

    Vetch, Lupine
    Mount Elden - AZT #32
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    i enlisted the spaghetti yeti to join me on this long beautiful ramble along the azt. it took a lot of work, but i finally convinced him...

    me: hey dude i'm gonna hike a gajillion miles on the azt next thursday, wanna join?
    him: i'll quit work if i can't get the day off..

    ..and so we set off after setting up a nice shuttle and cache (think the yeti-mobile loaded with cold soda and chocolate chip cookies) into a perfect day. the trails are wonderful and at this time of year were literally loaded with untold numbers of wildflowers. the whole day was incredible and these were fantastic segments of the AZT.

    the Yeti killed his first 30+ mile day like he's been doing it his whole life. Thanks for helping us set this one up, John, definitely looking forward to more

    679.32 miles and 37 segs done, 6 to go
    Mount Elden - AZT #32
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    Walnut Canyon - AZT #31:
    I met Nick at 6 am at the Cosnino exit on I-40, stashed my truck in the trees, and hopped into John's Jeep with Nick at the wheel. A little while later Nick and I set off on the Arizona Trail from Marshall Lake. The morning was wonderfully chilly and flowers filled the forest. Keeping a steady pace, we cruised through beautiful upper Walnut Canyon, stopping to visit Fisher Point. Gonna have to come back and explore that area one of these days...

    Some fourteen miles in, we crossed paths with John. After a brief visit, we went our separate ways. The last couple of miles through the rolling grasslands to I-40 were especially loaded with late summer wildflowers. Reaching my truck, we took a break, enjoyed cold drinks and reloaded on water. Now it was time for the second half...

    Mount Elden - AZT #32:
    Crossing under I-40 and the BNSF Railroad, we turned west into open forest, paralleling the route of Highway 66 and the tracks. A few trains slowly rumbled by. Random clouds brought welcome shade as we crossed more meadows and the Rio de Flag.

    Passing under Highway 89 we entered the foothills of Mount Elden. This section was the highlight of the day for me. Plenty of flowers in late afternoon light, with a few patches of aspens turning gold high on Mount Elden. The air grew cool once more, and we surprised a deer and her Bambi fawn, who kangaroo-jumped away after watching us for a moment. Meanwhile, Nick broke out his stash of tasty applesauce in squeeze bags.

    The last stretch took us west along the north slope of Little Elden Mountain. This area was more lush than I had expected, with white fir Christmas trees and aspens lining the trail.

    We finally arrived at Schultz Pass and Nick's truck shortly before it was totally dark. Wet shirts were exchanged for dry ones before leaving the trailhead and heading east to retrieve my truck. Our two man caravan then headed back to Flagstaff, where we enjoyed a Mexican food feast at La Fonda. Next up: sleeeeep. :zzz:

    Another great adventure, Nick! It was nice to see you again, John. Good times.
    Mount Elden - AZT #32
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    Never ceases to amaze me how things change as we do the AZT, piece by the topography changes. It's like a story unfolding itself each time. Doing many of them in sequence has really added to that, for example like today. Coming out of Walnut Canyon, we all had an idea of what at least the start of this segment was going to look like. But as soon as we crossed I-40, it was like a different area altogether.

    This segment had it all ... snakes, deer, elk, horned lizards, vegetable sticks, water, trains, awful -- oops, I mean awesome ;) -- songwriting, two homeless shacks (just east of 89) with tenants and yes, even cactus. So far, every segment has turned up a cactus at least somewhere...this time, we saw a few prickly pear with extra long spikes. The farther north we go, no doubt the harder it's going to get. Sad to see so much of this area burned. But judging from the vast amount of downed trees all over the Humphrey's Summit Trail the following day, no wonder this thing burned as it did. Hopefully nobody drops a cig on the Humphrey's Summit Trail or anything like that.

    We're on track to do the whole AZT in a year...think we'll make it?!
    Mount Elden - AZT #32
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    Our quest to complete the Arizona Trail took the clan up to Passage 32, The Mt Elden portion starting at I40 and finishing at the Sunset TH on Shultz Pass.
    I noticed the thermometer in my truck signaled "Ice" at 35 degrees at the north TH to pick up Dave, so I was ready for it to be cold. It was the warmest 35 degrees I've ever felt. By the time we got down to the I-40 starting point, temps were in the high 40's and it was perfect for shorts and short sleeves.

    Joe and Denny have already covered most of the description of this hike, but I'd like to add the phrase "Pleasantly surprised". Nothing to exciting, but pretty country none the less.

    Here's the videographers compilation for the day, including his new hit song that will surely me moving up the charts.

    Three areas to watch out for in navigating.
    - First, the area by Tip Tank is confusingly marked. Go up the hill, do not follow the dirt road. They end up at the same place though.

    - Second, Once you cross the bridge at Rio de Flag, follow the markers to the left. I think it switchbacks up a slight hill. The marked trail that goes straight off the bridge also gets you to the same place. In this area it appears the passage has been routed off roads and on to trails.

    - Third, when you approach Shultz Tank from the east, marked AZT takes you North to the Weatherford TH. Take the fork to the left to get to Shultz Pass - Sunset TH.

    Another great day with the cast of social misfits.

    9 passages and 176 miles down.
    Mount Elden - AZT #32
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    Running on practically no sleep this one turned out a little better than anticipated. You start off going through 4 tunnels to get under the access road, the highway and train track. We were delightfully surprised to find ourselves in pines quicker than anticipated. Three trains tag teamed up the hill, with the last one going faster than the first two. The trail in places consisted of a lot of cinder. Naturally I was voted to create a song and did so for the sake of the morale of the group.

    The only water source we passed mid section was Tip Tank? and it was beyond nasty. The section that crosses the 89A is more trashed than the first two miles down by the Mexico border. We passed two homeless huts in this section too. Apparently Jim_H has been supplying them with care packages on a weekly basis. Most of which appears to be Bud Light tall boys.

    Heading up and around the cinder hills it gets quiet and more peaceful even though houses are nearby. Up and around Little Elden was cool and then sad as we entered the charred remains of the recent fire. It burned scorching hot in areas. In some areas the crowns survived. In the surviving areas I really began to regret having not visited this are pre-fire.

    We came across a couple sections of aspens. The later section was showing serious signs of Autumn :) Lupines with beans, ferns and such are very healthy in the burned areas.

    The hike was okay, the company was excellent.

    BTW... the signs on this section are rather messed up. Trail signs are misleading in several areas. New sections have been created (witnessed this at least twice) without taking down the old signs. I'm a pretty easy going guy and pick one and go yet I can see others pulling their hair out on this bad boy.

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