Fatmans Loop Hiking Trail
★★★★☆ Easy / Flagstaff Area:
Kids, big and small, will have a blast exploring oversized rock-formations and their fun-filled nooks-and-crannies on the easy Fatmans Loop Hiking Trail. Whether it is scooching between the immense rounded boulders of Fatmans Pass or scrambling over curvilinear trailside boulders, this short hike offers a plethora of natural wonders and inviting views of the Flagstaff area.
TRAILHEAD: US 89, about 0.5 miles north of the I-40 S turnoff • DIFFICULTY: EASY (with some moderate spots) • DISTANCE: 2.5 MILE loop • APPROX. TIME: 1.5-2 HOURS • ELEVATION GAIN: 690 FEET (49 STORIES) • APPROX. CALORIES BURNED: 325-375 • BEST TIME OF YEAR: MARCH – NOV. • PETS: yes • KID FRIENDLY: bring them! • FACILITIES: none • FEES: NONE
Named for a spot that might challenge a very fat man to squeeze between two immense trailside boulders, Flagstaff’s Fatmans Loop Hiking trail is popular with families and others looking for a short engaging hike. Located at the base of the San Francisco Peak’s Elden Mountain this pine-lined hike provides beautiful upward views of the mountain’s slopes and rocky canyons as well as expansive views over the Flagstaff plains.
After parking at the Elden and Fatman Trailhead parking lot, a short access trail leads across a field and through a fence to the start of this and a number of other area trails. Take Fatmans Loop Hiking Trail in either direction to enjoy its entertaining trailside boulders, canyon walls and passes. Both directions are easy to traverse, and contain only a few areas that are slightly steeper and contain well maintained stone steps.
Hikers are immediately rewarded with lovely views of Elden Mountain’s canyons as they move forwards across the mountain base. These views get progressively better as the path gently climbs to its center point (near the juncture of the difficult Elden Lookout Trail). From these higher points along Fatmans Loop Hiking Trail, expansive views over the Flagstaff plains readily appear between trees and boulders.
Along the full length of the trail gigantic boulders (some with perfectly kid-sized crevices) beckon hikers to explore. The trail does get a fair amount of sun exposure, so pack water and apply sunscreen. And be sure to enjoy a quick break under the shade of the adjacent Pines.
Early settler, John Eldon, built a homestead at the base of Mount Elden and grazed his sheep on the pastures that can be seen from the high points along Fatman Loop Trail.
Directions From the intersection of US-89 and I-180 (in Flagstaff), drive 7.5 miles northeast on US 89. The parking lot for Fatmans Loop Hiking Trail is located on the left /north side of US 89. It is two left turns beyond the turnoff for I-40 S (on the right) and the Peaks Ranger station (on the left).
- Dayhike, Easy, Family Friendly, Flagstaff, Mountains, San Francisco Mountains
- June 28, 2015