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Flagstaff Hikes: The Fat Man Loop Trail

Flagstaff Hikes: The Fat Man Loop Trail

Do you want to know what one of the best Flagstaff hikes is? Local resident, Roberta Loufek, takes you hiking on just such a trail – the Fatman’s Loop Trail in Flagstaff, Arizona.

This is one of the most popular Flagstaff hikes, especially since it’s a scenic 2.4 mile hike on the eastern slope of Mt. Elden in the Coconino National Forest.

"Fat Man's Loop entrance"
Fat Man’s Loop entrance
"Starting down the Fat Man's Loop Trail"
Starting down the Fat Man’s Loop Trail
"Along Fat-Man's-Loop"
Along Fat-Man’s-Loop

Flagstaff hikes – information about the Fatman’s Loop Trail

It is so-called because along the trail you’ll pass through huge boulders just a few feet apart at Fatman’s Gap. The Elden Lookout Trailhead parking lot is just off Route 89 on the north side of the road near the Flagstaff Mall.

The starting elevation is 6,900 feet, rising 570 feet over sometimes rugged terrain though it’s considered an easy to moderate hike taking 1-2 hours.

Since it’s a loop you can hike either clockwise or counterclockwise. Clockwise starts out steepest, with the other way being a more gradual climb.

It’s well-marked and maintained, scattered with steps made from branches or rocks. You’ll see oaks, Mountain Juniper, Pinon Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Yucca, and Alligator Juniper with its interesting bark – and possibly squirrels, rabbits, birds, lizards, and deer.

Here’s a look at the scenery along the Fat Man Loop Trail

Flagstaff hikes - a favourite dog walking destination
It’s a favourite dog walking destination
Flagstaff hikes and a tight squeeze between two rocks
Tight squeeze between two rocks
Flagstaff hikes with the view opening up along the trail"
The view opening up along the trail
"Don't forget to look back sometimes
Don’t forget to look back sometimes
"Interesting rocks along the trail"
One of the Flagstaff hikes with interesting rocks along the trail
"View from the half way point"
Great view on one of the top Flagstaff hikes from the half way point 
Flagstaff hikes with another great view along the trail"
Another view along the trail

For more information about Flagstaff visit the official tourism website.

Further reading on things to do in Arizona

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 15 Comments
  1. Flagstaff is an amazing place, I highly recommend it to outdoor lovers. There are tons of great hikes that surround the city in all directions.

  2. Flagstaff is an amazing place, I highly recommend it to outdoor lovers. There are tons of great hikes that surround the city in all directions.

  3. Make sure to pay attention to where you start the loop so you can come back out at the same place. There’s more than one offshoot, we took the wrong one down on the way back, and ended up having to walk through a neighborhood back to the ranger station to get to where we parked. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except the two websites my husband checked said this trail was “easy”; even if I weren’t recovering from having very major surgery less than five months ago the trail isn’t “easy”, and once we got back down to town I had to stop along the way and wait for my husband to go get the car and come back and pick me up.

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