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 Mescal Mountain, AZ
Description 10 Triplogs 0 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
 Sedona NW
Difficulty 2.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,517 feet
Elevation Gain 530 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.65
Author pbaenzig
Descriptions 9
Routes 28
Photos 211
Trips 20 map ( 96 miles )
Age 77
Location Sedona, AZ
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
7  2014-05-03
Long Canyon Trail #122 -
10  2014-03-16 Uncharted
5  2014-02-02 trekkin gecko
7  2013-02-18
Deadmans Pass
trekkin gecko
7  2012-11-13 boneboyj
4  2012-04-14 boneboyj
5  2010-02-24 hippiepunkpirate
8  2003-08-16 pbaenzig
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Map - Beartooth Sedona
Forest Coconino
Wilderness Red Rock-Secret Mountain
Backpack - No
Seasons - Spring to Autumn
Alternative Routes
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
0.3  Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
0.9  Devil's Bridge Trail #120
1.1  Lost Canyon
1.1  Arizona Cypress Trail
1.2  Deadmans Pass
1.2  Dawa Trail - Sedona
[ View More! ]
     Blackfoot Daisy
     Sand Verbena
     Coconino Sandstone
     Schnebly Hill Formation

A short version of long
by pbaenzig

Overview: This hike to the top of Mescal Mountain is a good side trip with Long Canyon. I find it rewarding enough to be considered a hike by itself. The minimum hiking distance is about three miles round trip, but you can easily add a mile or two exploring the top.

Mescal Mountain is a mesa with a reasonably flat top. It is a bit like nearby Doe Mountain -- a smallish mesa separated from the main mountain group by a pass. Boynton Pass separates Doe Mountain from Bear Mountain, Deadman Pass separates Mescal Mountain from the nameless-on-maps mountain between Boynton Canyon and Long Canyon. Both mesas stand about 500 feet above the surrounding terrain.

Summary: The hike to Mescal Mountain starts at the Long Canyon #122 Trailhead on Long Canyon Road, about 0.6 miles after the stop sign where Boynton Pass Road branches off to the left (SW) and Long Canyon Road to the right (NE). The trailhead is on the left side of the road as you come around a curve. There are spaces for a half dozen cars and one of those tri-part information panels with usually incomplete trail information.

The trail is obvious, a wide, sandy old jeep road. It heads through open terrain in a northwesterly direction. You're walking near the edge of a golf course on the right. It seems to be a pretty noisy place; there always are mechanical devices operating there, pumps and mowers and construction equipment. This aural pollution will follow you all the way to the top of Mescal Mountain.

After about 0.6 miles you come to an an old fence where the trail seems to split: two trails straight and a bit to the right (the Long Canyon trail), one less prominent trail to the left (W). This is the trail to Mescal Mountain. It's an unofficial trail, but it's generally quite obvious and has lots of hiker made cairns. You also see the cliffs of the main body of Mescal Mountain ahead and to your left as you hike along and slowly gain height. The trail is working its way to the base of an outlying arm of the mountain (on your right) with some impressive redrock cliffs and overhangs. In about a quarter mile you start climbing up to a saddle. Just before you get to the top of the saddle, you have to do some light scrambling over slickrock and you'll also see a small ruin which, I'm told, is a vandalized Indian ruin. Once on top of the saddle you already have a great view down to Deadman Pass. You also have the questionable pleasure of admiring the large, green golf course at Long Canyon and the expensive ticky-tack boxes of the Enchantment Resort at the head of Boynton Canyon.

Several trails lead from the saddle; at least two of them seem to to merge later on and get you to the top. Look for the foundations of a stone ruin, then pick one of the trails that leads south and up; if you come to a unclear part of the trail, always pick the branch that leads up. You're hiking a moderately steep scrub and rock slope up to the bottom of the actual cliffs. Once you arrive at the bottom of the cliffs (and I mean really close to the bottom, you touch the cliffs with your shoulders as you walk), turn to your left and follow the cliffs until the trail leads you to the spot where you will have to do a bit of climbing. It's easy climbing, even for a total wuss like me with a pronounced fear of heights. You're climbing up a crack in the cliff for about ten or fifteen feet, with lots of foot and handholds in firm, grippy sandstone. You then come to a relatively flat area, hike for a few feet, and climb another ten or so feet. After the second climb, you're now on top of the mesa. The spot where you come over the edge is marked with a cairn -- try to remember its exact location or you might find it difficult to get back down. I didn't pay attention and had a hard time finding the spot.

Spend some time exploring the top of the mountain; I found it more dramatic than Doe Mountain because the mesa is more broken up. I did my hike on a hot August morning and it was bearable, but you're exposed to the sun all the way. I decided that next time I'd do it in the afternoon or evening: you should have more shade and the light might be more dramatic for photographs.
Originally posted 08-16-03 as a Trip Log

  • Map

Directions Preferred Months Feb Mar Sep Oct
Water / Source:none
Preferred Start8 AM Cell Phone SignalNo Sunrise6:19am Sunset6:46pm
Road / VehiclePaved - Car Okay
Fees / Permit
Red Rock Pass - may or may not be required. The "more" link within the FS website does not work so it is confusing. If you have questions contact the Coconino forest service.

To hike
From the Sedona 'Y' go Southwest on 89A for 3 miles to Dry Creek Road. Turn Right on to Dry Creek Road and follow 2.8 miles to the stop sign. Take a right and follow 0.6 miles to the trailhead parking on the left.

Location: About 32 miles south of Flagstaff (2 miles west of Sedona) on paved roads. The elevation ranges from 4517 to 5047 feet.

Access: Drive 27 miles south from Flagstaff on US 89A through Sedona to Dry Creek Road. Turn north (right) about a mile and a half to Long Canyon Road (FR 152D) and north (right) again about 0.5 miles to the Long Canyon trailhead on left.
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