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A map of some mine remains at the Tonopah-Belmont Mine

A map of the Morning Star mine

A map showing the overall 'junction'of the Belmont Mountain Trail

Mount Elden Trail  [3]

The trail straightens for a little while before turning south just after 4.5 miles. After the 4.7 mile mark, the trail continues to climb as the road twists in and out of several gullies. At around 5.4 miles, the road begins to level out as you approach the top. Off to the right at 5.5 is a small, scenic meadow. The trail then turns south again as it straddles the ridge. The road continues in the trees until you come to a clearing and a fork at 6.2 miles.

 

Top of Mount Elden: Continuing left at this fork will take you to the summit of Mount Elden. From the fork, continue 0.4 miles south along the ridge trail to a gate. Park before the gate and hike the rest of the way to get to the top. At the summit, you’ll be surrounded by communications towers but also have a tremendous view of Flagstaff 2,000 feet below you. There is also a lookout tower which may or may not be staffed depending on the time of year. Return to the gate and 0.4 miles back to the fork. Continuing right at the fork will take you along F.R. 557A as it descends for 0.7 miles to another cluster of communication towers and another view of Flagstaff. There are also numerous hiking trails that leave from the top of Mount Elden.

 

 

Summary/Trail Ratings: This trail is only about 7 miles one way (14 round trip). Allow for 1-2 hours to complete the trail and spend a little time at the top. The road is rated a ‘3’ out of 10 because of its steep climb and occasional ruts and washboards. It is not recommended for passenger cars and will require a high clearance vehicle (2WD – okay). This trail is also opened to unlicensed vehicles on the gravel portion of the road which means it is great for OHV’s (off-highway vehicles). According to the Forest Service MVUM Map, this trail is open year ‘round, however because of the heavy snow in the winter, most vehicles should not attempt with snow on the ground. Overall, this trail is a fun and short scenic trip to a great overlook of Flagstaff.

Belmont Mountain Ride (easy)

The Belmont Mountain Trail begins just past the Central Arizona Project. The most easy way to get there is by exiting on 379th ave and turning left onto Indian School road. After this turn right onto 387 ave and than left onto northern. Once at Northern, continue on it until you get to 395th where you will make a right turn. Stay left as 395th crosses over the CAP. To the right lies a nice staging spot. Once unloaded begin riding north. You will come to three 'T's. Take a right at the first, left at the second and a right at the third. This will lead you right to Belmont Mountain. As you approach you can see foundations of mining buildings that once stood there. After this you come to a clearing. Going left then left again leads you to the main entrance of the mine. Going left and then right takes you around the backside of Belmont Mountain and the vertical shaft of the Tonopah-Belmont Mountain. Going right takes you to some more foundations and left takes you to Vulture Mine road (where the Morning Star mine is). Trip should me a good exploration and is up to the rider to decide which way to take. There are so many different trails and all of them are fun but short. We did everything but go north on Vulture Mine Road. *By taking Vulture Mine South, it takes you back to the staging spot.

Climb over 2,000’ along F.R. 557 to near the top of the 9,301’ Mount Elden just outside of Flagstaff. Near the top, you’ll be treated to great views of Flagstaff 2,000 feet below you as well as a peak adorned with communications towers.

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Page last updated: 8/1/2015

Mount Elden Trail

Status: Open / snow possible

Trail Type: Out & back

Length: 14 miles roundtrip

Approx. time: 1-2 hours

Traffic: Moderate

Current Info: Coconino N.F./Flagstaff Ranger District Online Closures 

Elevation: 7142' - 9243'

Nearest City: Flagstaff

How to get there: Like getting to Schultz Pass Trail, from downtown Flagstaff, head west on Historic Route 66. Follow Highway 180 north for 2.6 miles to Schultz Pass Road/F.R. 420. Continue half a mile down the paved road to a fork. Parking/staging is available at the fork where Schultz Pass Trail goes left and Mount Elden Trail goes right.

 

The trail: Stay right at the fork and head east from the parking area along Mount Elden Lookout Road/F.R. 557. The road remains paved as it passes through a residential area. Just after 1.3 miles, the road turns to gravel. The trail gradually climbs it curves and heads northeast up a small ravine. Be extra cautious for walkers, hikers, and bikers that also use this road. Mount Elden will be towering over you to the right at this point. The trail turns east and then reaches a switchback at 3.5 miles. Use caution as the trail quickly climbs the whole time. At 4.0 miles, you’ll come to a sharp right turn.

Best Time: Spring-Fall