This trail was officially dedicated in the summer of 1998. 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 pad 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.
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.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.