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Views of the San Francisco Peaks, the volcanic fields east of Flagstaff, Sunset Crater, and even the Painted Desert are yours to enjoy along this high country trail. The route starts near Schultz Tank, a rare water body here in these mountains Spanish explorers called sin agua (without water). It then climbs gradually to a high ridge where you'll find good views of Arizona's tallest mountain before continuing to the east edge of Mount Elden's summit plateau. From this high perspective, you can look down on Sunset Crater and the vast Bonito Lava Flow that borders it.
As you hike along this trail, take time out to check for black bear tracks in the dust. A few of these shy animals live in this area, but usually, all you see is their tracks. You have a much better chance of seeing elk and mule deer, which are more plentiful and much less shy.
Along its highest reaches, the Sunset Trail traverses an area devastated by a fierce wildfire in 1977. At one point, there was concern that the city of Flagstaff might even be consumed by this campfire gone wild. Here, among the burned-out hulks of a once-thriving forest, you can see how nature recovers from such an all-consuming disaster. Pioneer plants such as aspen and Gambel oaks are already well established in the burned-over area.
Sunset Trail provides a connecting route to Schultz Creek, Brookbank, Little Bear Trail, Upper Oldham, and Elden Lookout Trails.
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.