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Fatman's Loop Professional Review and Guide
"This is a scenic hike through rugged terrain on the east slopes of Elden Mountain. This loop trail is accessible via paved roads. Because of its southeast exposure it dries out earlier than other trails at the same elevation. This is not a wilderness trail, but it traverses some rugged volcanic terrain with some nice views. Follow the trail past the information sign. Turn left at the first signed junction. This is the start of Fatman’s Loop; you’ll return on the trail that forked right. The trail climbs west toward the 2,000-foot east face of Elden Mountain. It passes through another gate where an unsigned trail joins from the right. Next, you’ll pass the Pipeline Trail, which goes left. The Fatman’s Trail turns north and climbs the lower slopes of the mountain through Gambel oak and ponderosa pine forest."
--Bruce Grubbs, Hiking Northern Arizona (Falcon Guides).
Don't be fooled by the name of this loop. I thought it was called Fatman's Loop because even a fat man could walk the loop. It's not a long loop or even particularly difficult, but it's not easy, and it does climb sufficiently to give you nice views of Flagstaff. The plants (lots of yucca, cacti, cliff roses, and more) and the multitude of large and often oddly-shaped boulders made this trail seem rather exotic to me and considerably different from those more foresty walks on the west side of town. Depending on how you get to the trailhead (I took Pipeline), you'll also get nice views of Mt. Elden from below and fields of sunflowers. Definitely worth it.
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