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Fatmans Loop Trail #25, AZ

no permit
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Guide 218 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff NE
3.1 of 5 by 33
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,900 feet
Elevation Gain 690 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1-1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.95
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11  2018-08-06 roaminghiker
3  2018-03-30 azbackpackr
3  2016-11-26
Elden Lookout Trail #4
5  2016-06-18 benbacome
12  2015-10-03
Elden Super Loop
4  2015-09-19 azbackpackr
35  2015-04-09
Elden Lookout plus Fatman Loop
4  2015-01-24
Elden Lookout Trail #4
Page 1,  2,  3
Author desertgirl
author avatar Guides 20
Routes 1
Photos 3,098
Trips 428 map ( 3,024 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Chandler, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Jun, Sep, Oct → Any
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:10am - 6:31pm
Official Route
10 Alternative
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Short Steep
by desertgirl

Likely In-Season!
A fairly short trail with an interesting name located on the eastern slope of Mt.Elden. This is a 2.5-mile loop trail that takes you to Fatman's Gap.

The trail begins at the Elden Lookout Trailhead parking lot. Start out on the main trail and at about 0.15 miles you will reach a fork. Take the right side trail to Fatman's Loop passing through a fence and following the base of the mountain. At 0.4 miles, you will see a sign for Fatman's loop and Elden Lookout. Go left towards Mt. Elden and the trail climbs steeply and at about 0.9 miles you are high enough to have views of Doney Park to your right and the lava cliffs on Mt Elden to your left. These lava cliffs were caused by volcanic activity some 2 million years ago. These cliffs have given Mt Elden's southeastern face names like "Corduroy cast in stone" and "lava stairs".

At mile 1.5 you will reach another fork - the right side trail leads up to Mt Elden . Take the left fork and it is all down hill from here. You will encounter huge rocks and the trail winds through gaps between these rocks. One such gap is about 4 feet wide giving the trail its name "Fatman's Loop" This trail showcases a diverse forest - oaks, juniper, pinyon, yucca and some stunning specimens of alligator bark juniper.

Mile 2 puts you at the junction with a sign for Pipeline Trail, Oldham Trail & buffalo Park. The parking lot is just a little bit beyond. The easy access, short trail and the sunny southern exposure ensure that the trail is active all year long. Parking can be limited on weekends.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2002-11-14 desertgirl
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Coconino FS Details
For the most part, the Fatmans Loop is an easy walk, although it does have a few short steep sections. Scenic overlooks of Flagstaff, the city's eastern suburbs and the surrounding countryside make this a good place for a stroll when you have time to stop and enjoy the view. Along the route there are a number of interesting rock formations that bear witness to Mt. Elden's volcanic origins. One of these is a bit of a tight squeeze, hence the trail's name.

The area through which this trail leads supports a diverse community of plant species including upland trees such as white fir and ponderosa pine. Shrubs and smaller trees more usually associated with lower altitudes are also present. Among these are cliff rose, alligator juniper and broadleaf yucca. Wildlife you may encounter on this trail includes Abert's squirrels, pygmy nuthatches, mule deer and grey foxes along with more commonly encountered animals such as Steller's jays and ravens.

This trail provides access to the Elden Lookout Trail which continues two miles and 2,000 feet to the summit of Mt. Elden.

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 of 31 deeper Triplog Reviews
Fatmans Loop Trail #25
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This was a Fatman's Plus. I hiked counterclockwise, then turned onto the Elden Lookout Trail, went up that for a bit, then back down and completed the Fatman's Loop. Nice day. Quite a few folks out hiking on a warm Friday. I'm moving back to Flagstaff for the warm season, and this was my first hurrah during the move. Normally I wouldn't say much about a Fatman's Loop hike, but this is special because I have been looking forward to spending another summer in Flagstaff (instead of Williams, where I spent three summers.)

You'll see a picture of a small rock on a boulder. That has been there for a couple of years. I put it there. It's on the 8000 foot contour. I used to have another rock in the same spot, starting in 2011, which stayed there for 3 or 4 years before disappearing. Second time around I picked a flatter, less noticeable rock. It's kind of fun to go visit my marker rock. I am not a fan of rock-piling by any means. I often kick down the ones that are decorative or not necessary for route-finding, in fact. But this one is barely visible, and looks like it belongs there.

I put the first rock there in 2011 when training for Grand Canyon's Pt. Huitzil Route and Escalante Route, both of which I backpacked that fall. I was busy that summer, and didn't have much time to hike, but that was a quick 1100 feet which I did often.

I started the hike walking extremely slowly. The altitude seemed to affect me much more than usual. But eventually I got my second wind and felt better. Also, I was very tired in the evening. Again, altitude. I guess age is a factor. I lived for years at this altitude, but have been living at close to sea level now for about 18 months.

Fatmans Loop Trail #25
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Mount Elden Loop
Been too long since a good AZ hike! So, when the opportunity to stay with a few friends at a cabin just south of Flagstaff came up, J & I jumped on it. We had been thinking of doing Humphrey's, but with lots of snow visible, and no recent triplogs, we decided to stick to lower elevations and break in a new pair of boots for J. We eventually figured out a loop possibility that would give us a mid-length hike for the day: hang near ground level around Elden, take Heart trail to the ridge to avoid some of the crowds, then take the steep + quick Lookout Trail back to the parking lot. All of these were new trails for us.

Before the hike, we tried to track down a map to take with us in case plans varied en route. After a quick stop in Flag, we were back to the trailhead for Fatman's Loop and ready to ascend. We packed a fair bit of cold weather gear (a couple of coats, hats, and lots of layers), which would ultimately prove unnecessary.

The initial hike out the eastern branch of Fatman's was quite straightforward, without too much of a climb to worry about at all. In fact, the full stretch to the base of Heart Trail went quite quickly, with a short snack break before we started that ascent.

Heart Trail was great. It was a nice, steady climb up to the top, never feeling steep or slow, and offering great views out to the east. Mid way up we spotted some relatively recent scat and prints suggesting that a bear may have enjoyed the trail too! The breeziest part of the hike was right at the top of Heart, where we layered up a little before snacking on some bagels and peanut butter.

From there, the ridge progressed quickly... wish this part was longer, because it offered great views, a lovely trail, and good breaks between forested shelter and open meadows. We met up with the summit trail, where we chatted with another HikeAZer about European and US hiking options. The two of them decided to reverse our route on their downward return. We made the summit and had another snack and rest break.

Given we wanted to do a few other things with the afternoon, we turned down the Lookout Trail towards the parking lot. The Lookout Trail was steep but predictable, and quite a bit busier than any of the other trails we had visited during the day. Fatman's Loop felt long back to the parking lot. We took a quick trip to show J Walnut Canyon, then headed up towards the inner basin to scope out future hiking and camping options.

All told, this was a really excellent loop that we'd highly recommend to others. It was about 9 miles all told, with likely a bit above 2,500 VF cumulative elevation gain. Lovely 5 hours out at a relaxing pace (about an hour of rest breaks along the way).

Most of the leaves have already fallen, but a pretty hike nonetheless.
Fatmans Loop Trail #25
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Elden Super Loop
Perfect weather for this one.

We hit the normal light flow of hikers while leaving the TH, but once we hit the intersection with Fat Mat's Loop, traffic got real heavy. Little did we know we'd timed our trip to Mount Elden, with Arrivipa Running groups "Sky Race" that features a 39K and 55K Race.

As we were hiking up the Mt Elden Trail, we were passed by HikeArizona's own Frick Naley, who was running the 39K race. :app:

The besterest of the yellow Aspens we saw were on the short climb from the Sunset Trail intersection to the Fire Tower.

A road walk from the tower to regain the Sunset trail and we made our way over to Schultz tank. The water here looked pretty darn good.

Up Little Gnarly, past the Dry Lakes Hill Tank, we made our way downhill to hit the Oldham Trail. This one has a steady climb back up to the Sunset Trail.

From here it was mainly downhill back to the truck.

This is a great sampler hike for what the City of Flagstaff has to offer in Hiking and outdoor activities!

A great day in the cool weather of Flagstaff, finished off with Pizza at NiMarco's. :DANCE:
Fatmans Loop Trail #25
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Somehow convinced my casual hiking friends to go from the "easy two mile loop" to the top of the lookout trail and back. No matter how much flack they gave me afterwards… hey, I didn't hold a gun to their heads! :) Nice day, beautiful views. Some snow and ice on trail but overall very passable. Which is probably somewhat concerning seeing how little snow Flagstaff has gotten so far this winter.
Fatmans Loop Trail #25
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Didn't do the whole loop. Turned back and went back on the unnamed trails. This was a pleasant change. I have new shoes, Salomon trail runners. I'm doubtful if they are going to work for serious hiking, but I'll keep them because they'll be useful as sneakers.

This fall sunlight is depressing to me. Although the weather was hot the slant of the sun tells me that the cold winter is coming to this mountain. It's looming, right around the corner.

Usually this little bit of depression about the coming of fall, the intense sadness about loss of yet another glorious summer in the mountains, will stay with me if I have to live on the mountain all winter. But if I move down to the desert by October or November I'm miraculously cured. I hate the snow and the below-zero temperatures that follow a snowstorm. Last winter I was fine in SoCal, and I expect I'll be fine at the place I've rented on the banks of the Colorado River this coming winter. Can't wait!

Meanwhile I need to buck up and enjoy the lovely early fall weather, and not be depressed about the winter, since after all, I don't have to be up here then.
Fatmans Loop Trail #25
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coffee and coffee cake for breakfast at macy's this morning
love that place
much lighter fare than yesterday
i've been up elden twice that i know of, but probably at least ten years ago
not too crowded at 8:30 on a weekday
thought i would push a bit to see how long it took me to summit
without the scenery and views of the past two days, it was more of a workout hike
still great atmosphere with ponderosa, aspen up higher, and a mountain to hike
made it to the base of the tower in just over 1:04
an hour is doable but that would require some practice and no pack
it's a great workout hike
tower was unoccupied
thought about climbing over the railing but that would be wrong ;)
on the way down, took a left turn to finish the entire fatmans' loop
very cool boulders along the way
nice morning and a nice weekend trip
wish i had more time up there to enjoy the break in the monsoon
Fatmans Loop Trail #25
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A lovely, sunny day, very warm but still seems like fall, due to the slant of the sunlight, I suppose.

I went up to where my newer GPS says I've climbed 1,000 vertical feet, where I had left a small rock about 3 years ago, marking the spot. My small rock is still there, and my new GPS agrees with my old one! (See photos.)

Just so Jim_H will be happy I took a couple of photos of his favorite views including the aromatic dogfood factory.

I didn't want to go any further, partly because I figured my feet would hurt on the way down. They did, but it wasn't a huge problem. I completed the Fatman's Loop on the way back.
Fatmans Loop Trail #25
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Family Camp-out at Mt Eldon
We did a family campout on the west side of MT Elden. As we drove into Flagstaff, the sky was dark with smoke from the Slide Rock fire. The smoke did clear out that night. We did a couple of hikes that included parts of Christmas Tree, Fatman’s loop, Mt. Eldon trail , Pipeline and meanderings along fence lines.
Nate originally wanted to hike to the lookout tower, but he changed his mind once we got to the Pipeline trail. We saw about 4 deer’s.
Fatmans Loop Trail #25
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Arizona has is one of the most diverse state I have lived in, ecologically and geologically speaking. This trail offers several different types of ecosystems and geological formations. It is a steep climb (especially if you are not prepared for it) but in the end completely worth the time spent to get to the top of the trail where you can see the entire Coconino valley looking south, north west.
Fatmans Loop Trail #25
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Elden Loop
If you want to go up Elden - this is a beautiful loop that gives you a good work out, panoramic views of the San Fransisco Volcanic Fields ( you ascend up Heart Trail. The combination of trails make for a good introduction to the area's geology and plants.

We got of to a rather late start @ 9:15 am ( since I drove up from PHX that day).

I did this with Angela and we sure had a wonderful time ....especially on the upper reaches of Heart Trail & Sunset Trail where the flowers were going crazy! I could have counted at least 20 different flowers on this loop...hopefully Angela got a pic of all of them! I know I missed a few ....

The descent down Elden was a tad tedious with the deep steps,pebbly trail surface and abrupt trail surface changes -- you just could not get a good pace going. The lower end was just fine other than looking down into the shopping plaza and homes. We did the detour thru Fat Man's Loop and wrapped up with the long walk down Christmas Tree Trail ( nice flat walk if you are looking for one! - but I do think Buffalo Park is prettier!)

Good hike and the watermelon at the end :y:. Angela hurried back to HAZFest and I to Bonito Park where I was treated to a fabulous sunset. The sunflowers were not quite there but it was beautiful none the less.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Follow Santa Fe Avenue past the entrance to the Flagstaff Mall and the Peaks Ranger District Office to a trailhead parking lot just off the north side of the street.

From Flagstaff Go East on Highway 89. At 5.2 miles, just beyond Flagstaff Mall,(MP 419.5) you will see sign for "Mt Elden Trailhead" and a paved driveway to your left into a parking lot bounded by pole fence.
This is a popular trail, so parking may be limited. Go through 2 maze-type gates and you will be headed right upto Mt.Elden. Watch for signs to get on Fatman's Loop Trail
$17 3L Hydration Bladder
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