Elden Trails Bed and Breakfast is named for the Flagstaff area’s Elden Mountain — and for the numerous Coconino National Forest hiking routes that lead to it from Steve Dix and Marnie Vail’s one-room B&B on the east side of town. But there’s so much to love about the B&B itself that some guests don’t realize “Elden Trails” is more than just a name. “We’ve had people say, ‘Wait, there are trails out there?’ ” Steve says.
In their past lives in Flagstaff, Marnie was a doctor in family practice, while Steve worked as a radio announcer and pilot. For a change of scenery, they lived in Vermont for three years. “Our neighbors around the corner had a B&B and started sending us their overflow guests,” Marnie says. “That was where we learned about doing a B&B.”
The couple returned to their Flagstaff home, which had a spare building that had been used as a workshop and office space. They added a bathroom and a bedroom to make it a 450-foot suite, and in late 2011, Elden Trails was born.
The suite sleeps up to four people via the queen bed in the bedroom and the sofa bed in the living room. The accommodations are rustic and simple, but the care Steve and Marnie have put into their guests’ satisfaction and privacy is evident in everything from the comfortable mattresses to the insulated blinds on the windows. All the guests have to do is fall asleep to the sound of wind rushing through the towering ponderosa pines just outside.
During the warmer months, breakfast is served on the plant-filled patio and might include eggs from the adjacent chicken coop or fresh greens from the garden, along with yogurt or kombucha (both homemade). The owners use a greenhouse to grow much of their own food, and they pride themselves on accommodating any diet. Their signature dish is a gluten-free seed cake, which Marnie modified from a recipe by Jeff Smedstad — Steve’s son-in-law, and the chef and owner of Elote Café in Sedona.
You’ll be forgiven if all you want to do after a hearty, delicious breakfast is relax on the rocking bench and stare at the fish pond, but some of Steve and Marnie’s guests use Elden Trails as a base for exploring the Grand Canyon or nearby Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki national monuments. And, of course, there are the trails just out the back gate. Every guest is different, and for Elden Trails’ owners, that’s what keeps things interesting.
“A lot of people comment that this is like home — that they feel like guests of our home,” Marnie says. “Which is what we like.”
6073 N. Snowflake Drive