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Sunset Trail #23 - Flagstaff, AZ

Guide 101 Triplogs  2 Topics
  4.1 of 5 
no permit
572 101 2
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 5.14 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8,000 feet
Elevation Gain 1,302 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,855 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 11.32
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15  2021-06-19
Elden - Oldham - Sunset Loop
4  2021-06-19
Elden - Oldham - Sunset Loop
25  2021-06-05
Elden Loop via Sandy Seep
6  2020-08-01
Mount Elden Loop
13  2020-08-01
13  2020-08-01
Brookbank - Christmas Tree Loop via Sandy Seep
14  2020-06-27
Little Bear Trail #112
17  2020-05-26
Afternoon at the Museum
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Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,866
Routes 17,198
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 25 Male Gender
Location HAZ, TrailDEX
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Apr, May, Sep, Oct
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:31am - 7:34pm
Official Route
24 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2022 Pipeline Fire Jun 15th62.1 mi*
🔥 2019 Museum Fire12.4 mi**
🔥 2010 Schultz Fire15.1k
🔥 1977 Radio Fire4.8k
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥
*perimeter length in miles
**possible voids inflate figure

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.

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2008-06-11 HAZ_Hikebot
  • 2020 Kachina Peaks Map
    area related
    2020 Kachina Peaks Map

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.

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
90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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