Easy Flagstaff hike is a gateway to endless options on Mount Elden. Here’s how to try it.

Arizona Republic (June 9, 2021) by Mare Czinar

Short, easy and scenic, the Sandy Seep Trail offers quick access to a network of routes on the east flanks of Mount Elden in northeast Flagstaff. While the 1.5-mile path makes for a sweet standalone hike, it also serves as an on-ramp for the 42-mile, city-circling Flagstaff Loop Trail and the 800-plus-mile, state-traversing Arizona National Scenic Trail.

In addition, the route can be used to access two heart-pumping trails — Little Bear and Heart — that climb steep slopes to the ridgelines of Elden Mountain.

Located just a few clicks north of downtown Flagstaff off U.S. 89, the old standard Sandy Seep Trail has been a pillar of the Mount Elden/Dry Lakes Hills trail system in Coconino National Forest.

Having survived several devastating wildfires, including the 1977 Radio Fire and the 2010 Schultz Fire, the trail is also within the scope of proposed changes that will improve forest health and enhance user experience in the popular recreation hub. You can weigh in on how the changes might roll out.

Coconino National Forest is asking for public input regarding proposed improvements to nonmotorized trails in the Mount Elden/Dry Lake Hills area. Popular hiking, biking and equestrian trails in the heavily used area have been deteriorating and a maze of unauthorized paths has resulted in environmental damage, trail-user confusion and safety concerns.

The proposed project includes plans for sustainable new trail construction, reroutes of existing trails, trailhead improvements and closure of some wildcat paths.

The public may comment online or at scheduled in-person events through July 1.


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