Doe's little brother
Late in 2006, if I remember correctly, Boynton Pass Road was improved and paved because of a development called "The Aerie." When the road was improved, new trail heads were put in: Fay Canyon trail head, Doe/Bear Mountain trail head and finally a new trail head designed to access Cockscomb.
This new trail head is past the Doe/Bear Mountain trail head. You turn left (South) when coming from Sedona onto Aerie Road, a new paved road leading to the development. After about half a mile, the road splits -- the left branch leading to the gate of the development and the right branch to the new trail head.
At the far end of the trail head (already trashed, beer bottles everywhere)you can find faint markings of a new trail. A yet non-existent trail that the Forest Service will build when it gets around to it. In the meantime, the route is marked with red paint and fading yellow ribbons. Enough people have hiked the route so that the non-existing trail is relatively easy to follow.
If you do lose the route, not a major problem. The route essentially leads south, following the terrain contours. Your goal, the north end of Cockscomb is always visible. To the left of you is initially the road leading to the Aerie, then the fence circling the property. As you get closer to the Cockscomb, the Forest Service route merges with existing distinct social trails leading to the start of the ascent. The climb up to the top of the mountain is unchanged and I don't know if the Forest Service ever will develop that part of the hike.
If you hike from the new trail head to the top of Cockscomb, it's about 3 miles RT and maybe 600 ft CEC. We extended the hike a bit by making a counter clockwise loop around Cockscomb before going up to the top. The little hill almost due SW from the trail head gives you some great views. The seemingly flat grass land between you and the Cockscomb is anything but flat; it crisscrossed with deep gullies. As you hike around the Cockscomb you'll come across many stretches of social trail, so the hiking is quite easy.
Overall, a pleasant half-day hike even when looping around.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
Coconino FS Reports The Cockscomb Trail goes south from its trailhead along a jeep road for .3 miles, bends west for .2 miles, then goes southeast along a closed jeep road skirting the face of Doe Mountain. It intersects the Dawa Trail at 1 mile, turns to the southwest, and ends at 1.8 miles near the Cockscomb.
From here, the Cockscomb Trail continues along the old road as the Rupp Trail. It bends to the east and there are nice views all around as it crosses a broad, open expanse before ending at 1.2 miles as it drops down into the Dry Creek drainage and meets the Girdner Trail.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.