Elden Pueblo

Round Trip Distance: 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6922 - 6948 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Elden Pueblo
Fee: none
Attractions: Ancestral Puebloan ruins

The Elden Pueblo ruins are located in Flagstaff, Arizona just off of Highway 89 at the foot of Mt. Elden from which the ruins get their name. The land the ruins occupy is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The Elden site was occupied between 1070 - 1275 AD by Sinagua (Sin ah' wa) people. The name Sinagua is derived from that given to the San Francisco Peaks by the Spaniards, 'Sierra Sin Agua', which means 'mountain without water'. There is an aquifer within the caldera of the mountain that supplies Flagstaff with water but there are no perennial rivers or streams like the Spanish were used to in Spain.

A Forest Service sign marks the turnoff to the ruins if you are coming from the north. From the south the turnoff is about 1 mile north of the mall. The parking area is right next to the highway.

The partially gravel and partially hard packed dirt trail is considered to be ADA accessible although designated handicap parking spots aren't apparent.

The path through the site is a self guided interpretive trail with brochures available at the trailhead.

The trail forms a loop through the area with the highest concentration of rooms.

With approximately 60-70 rooms the site was home to 200-300 people. When the American anthropologist and archaeologist Jesse Walter Fewks excavated the site in 1926 he created quite the stir by sending all of his finds off to the Smithsonian. The resulting uproar helped spur the passage of the Arizona Antiquities Act of 1927. Besides all of the fuss Fewks was still pretty popular and well thought of by many for his hard work in helping to preserve the heritage of the southwest for future generations.

Here is a picture of a sharpening stone next to one of the rooms.

Numerous fragments of pottery are scattered about the site.

Several Archaeology Days are held every year at the Elden Pueblo through a partnership of the Arizona Natural History Association and the Forest Service. Some areas of the pueblo show sings of active digging. There are also a few rubble piles that hint that there is yet more work to be done in the future. Findings of macaw bones from Mexico and shell jewelry from California indicate that the Sinagua engaged in trade with far away places. Elden Pueblo is another example of the extent to which this continent was populated prior to the arrival of the current inhabitants. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.