Hiking the Incredibly Scenic Fat Man’s Loop in Flagstaff, Arizona
Along the way, you will find many cool looking rock formations, especially the very narrow squeeze pictured below. This rock explains the trail’s name!
More interesting rock formations along the way…
Several scenic overlooks along the way provide dramatic overlooks of the surrounding mountains. Don’t forget your camera – this is a very scenic hike!
Check out some of the fantastic mountain views along the trek!
And great views of the city too!
Surprisingly, the trail was not overly crowded, even on a weekend afternoon. However, this could have been a rare occurrence due to the fact that the temperature was much higher than normal (low 90’s). Whatever the case, the trail was peaceful and mostly secluded (we only saw a handful of other hikers).
The Elden Lookout Trail
If you are physically fit enough and have the extra time, you can continue on another 2 miles or so up the steep 2000 feet climb along the Elden Lookout trail. At 6 miles total (including the 2.5 miles on Fat Man’s Loop) and consisting of a long steep climb, it is considered to be one of the more challenging trails in town. However, the views are supposed to be incredible. Be sure to plan plenty of time, check the weather forecast, bring with lots of water and snacks, and a GPS watch to track your time.
Tips for a great hike
*Plan about 1.5-2 hours to complete the entire loop. Although 2 miles seems pretty short, it is much more time consuming when you add in going uphill/downhill and stopping to take many pictures.
*Brings lots of water. One bottle isn’t going to cut in this dry, warm summer weather. You are also at a higher elevation, so you need to hydrate yourself more. I recommend a camelbak.
*If you are coming from a lower elevation area, give your body time to adjust to the higher altitude before attempting this hike or any others. You will find out that it will take you some time to be able to get up to your normal cardiovascular level, due to the thin air.
*Plan your hike for the early morning hours during the summer season. It can get really hot on the trail, especially after making your way up the steep sections. You will definitely get a workout in, and combining this with heat and high elevation, is not a good idea.
*Bring with a hiking stick. If you do not already have one, you can find one in town for about ten bucks. It will help you keep your balance while completing the downhill portion of the hike.
*Wear a GPS watch. This will help you pace yourself. It always more motivating to know how much longer you have to go.
*Be prepared for random weather. At high elevations, the skies can change very quickly!
*If completing the Elden Lookout trail, be sure to take proper safety precautions such as packing extra water and snacks, leaving yourself plenty of time, and of course, making sure your body is ready for the strenuous journey.
Have fun & enjoy the gorgeous views!