After camping at Dead Horse Ranch State Park and breakfast in Old Town Cottonwood, Cindy and I headed up to Sedona to hike. I have only done two hikes in the area, so I brought a copy of Cosmic Ray's book along and told Cindy to pick something that interested her. Since it is still chilly with probable lingering snow up at the 6000 feet plus level, we were looking for something lower down. She picked the Cockscomb hike and we proceeded to the Dawa Trailhead, parked along the road and headed in. We didn't know which was Cockscomb or Doe Mountain, and since there are a maze of trails there, it made for a fun little adventure. After about a mile we hit the intersection with the Cockscomb Trail. Had we turned left here we would have headed straight for Cockscomb, but we went right and hiked to end of the trail at the large parking area across from the Fay Canyon Trail. Here we were able to look at the map on the info board and see that we were next to Doe Mountain. We decided to make a loop out of it, and backtracked a short distance and took the Aerie Trail around the mountain. Gaining some elevation the views became outstanding. As we rounded the mountain, we passed the side trail to the summit, then crossed a road by the newer parking lot for the hike to Cockscomb. Soon thereafter we got a good view of the Cockscomb, as the trail skirted some private land and headed for a saddle on its north side. Cindy really wanted to climb it, but by this time I didn't feel like bushwhacking the 600 feet or so up the thing, so we just went down a side trail along the northeast side to see if we could spot a route up for perhaps another time. I heard voices and sure enough, there were some folks working their way up. We found the faint unmarked spot where they departed the trail. We backtracked to the main trail and soon came to the junction for the Rupp and Cockscomb Trails. I wasn't sure which way to go, so we started out on the Rupp, but within about half mile we realized we needed to go back and take the Cockscomb. No problem, as it is all easy hiking. Once back on the Cockscomb we continued on to the junction with the Dawa Trail and then back to the truck.
We encountered very few hikers, but lots of mountain bikers, as these trails are perfect for that. The trails are very good and junctions signed, but mileage and other info is not given. However, someone has taken the time to post some handwritten mileage and added details on many of the signposts at junctions, which is very helpful.
Then it was off to the Oak Creek Brewery for a cold one, before Mexican food in Oak Creek Village and the drive back to Tucson.
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