Elden Lookout Trail A Site to Behold
November 6, 2015
by Nora Hofmans
What an amazing hike to Mountain Elden Summit I had with the Sedona Westerner Rough Riders! It was my first time hiking in Flagstaff with the Sedona Westerners. As we traveled up to Flagstaff I saw glimpses of the Radio Tower, we were hiking to, in the distance. As we got closer to the trailhead I was very excited to discover we were heading up to the top of Mountain Elden Summit. I then learned from fellow hikers that the elevation we would climb was at 6,900 feet and would be standing on overlapping slopes of dacite Lava.
Before we began our journey we saw a sign posted that gave a history of the Elden Lookout trail. As we read we learned there once were fire lookout towers on top of the mountain, but they were lost in the Radio fire on June 17, 1977. The towers we saw at the top were part of radio network system. The trail map also posted showed the Elden Lookout Trail connected to Fatman Loop Trail near Christmas Tree trail. As we started our hike, that delightful morning, we were surrounded by Ancient Alligator Juniper Trees and were treated to the songs of the beautiful birds in the trees.
We marched up the trail, lead by Mike Holmes the hike leader with Cathy Lutz as the tailgater. Our hike leader had us moving at an easy medium pace that allowed me to enjoy the cool breezes, gaze up at the mixed pinion pines and juniper trees, and meet other hikers as well. There was one Sedona Westerner couple who was camping in Flagstaff that met us at the trailhead to join us for a wonderful day of hiking. Once I heard their story I felt as though they enjoyed Flagstaff as much as me. As we climbed the hill I saw how many trees died from fire. It truly broke my heart to see the large number of acres destroyed, but it still didn’t take away the beauty of Arizona.
The view that awaited the Sedona Westerners RoughRiders hiking group as they reached the summit of Mount Elden
Then finally, I saw what I was waiting for. The entire valley view of Flagstaff! I took those final stone stairs with a full burst of energy and reached the top of this awesome mountain. I was thrilled to take pictures of the great rear view of the valley. I sent them to family and friends to share the great beauty I was seeing. Without the Sedona Westerners, I would not have experienced this, believed how capable I was to make this climb and most of all how blessed I was to be an Arizona resident.
As the group started back down the trail, the weather was perfect and the views even better. We headed down Elden Lookout trail and turned on to The Fatman Trail loop to finish our hike. A great time was had by all hiking with the Sedona Westerners Rough Rider group.