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Cockscomb Trail - Sedona, AZ

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Guide 19 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
3.2 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,400 feet
Elevation Gain 344 feet
Accumulated Gain 382 feet
Avg Time One Way 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.77
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
16  2015-05-03 rrshort
24  2012-03-25
Doe Mountain Loop
12  2012-03-25
Doe Mountain Loop
16  2009-04-27 hippiepunkpirate
10  2008-04-11 slegal
7  2008-03-26 slegal
14  2007-02-18 slegal
4  2000-04-13 joebartels
Author pbaenzig
author avatar Guides 9
Routes 28
Photos 211
Trips 20 map ( 96 miles )
Age 82 Male Gender
Location Sedona, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb → 9 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:12am - 6:32pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Doe's little brother
by pbaenzig

04/13/00 Summary
07/24/04 Summary

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.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2007-11-30 pbaenzig
  • Cockscomb Area Trails
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    Cockscomb Area Trails
  • Sedona Trails 2018
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    Sedona Trails 2018

Coconino FS Details
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.

One-Way Notice
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.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Cockscomb Trail - Sedona
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Judy and I are in Sedona for 3 days of hiking. We have been using the paperback book 'Sedona Hikes' by Richard & Sherry Mangum as our guide when we are in the area. We are meeting some friends for an afternoon hike so selected an easy one for the AM trek. We parked at the Fay Canyon Trail lot on 152C just past the Boynton Canyon Rd turn off. The TH is marked but it is about 50 feet up the road on the left. The trail is easy to follow and well marked except when you near the end. Here you follow the trail along the Cockscomb hill until you see you are by it and headed west. Here we turned around and went back the same way. You can add more miles by taking sections of Dawa Trail or Rupp Trail that you pass along your way.
Cockscomb Trail - Sedona
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An early morning haze cast gloom over the 7 canyons, as well as Capitol Butte, so I opted out of doing Devil's Bridge early, which paid off in the end. I hit the trailhead for the Cockscomb at 7:30, and it was already warm outside. I set out cross-country toward the monument, and had to negotiate the arroyos, cactus and fragile desert soil to reach it. The scramble up the north face was a blast, and the views of Bear Mountain and Doe Mountain behind me were sweet. I rounded the east face of the Cockscomb, and eventually I found the final climb up to the top! By then the haze was clearing off of Capitol, which allowed me to do Devil's Bridge afterward. Heading back I took the trail that parallels the fenceline with "The Aerie." When I hit the road, I decided to bushwack back to the car was more trouble than it was worth because I walked right by the trailhead and wasted a good 20 minutes that I could have spent at Devil's Bridge. Oh well, it was a great climb anyway!
Cockscomb Trail - Sedona
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The following served as the Hike Summary from 04/13/00 to 07/23/04

The Cockscomb is yet another landmark in the Sedona area. Notice the Cockscomb with Doe Mountain to your left while driving along Dry Creek Road. I recommend taking a good look. This hike can be a route finding challenge!

From the fence follow the jeep track. Signs on the fence stating no motorized vehicles obviously mean nothing to some idiots. The area looks like a monster truck course with recent activity. Your goal here is to head on over to Doe Mountain then go over to the Cockscomb. I didn't have any problems finding the way. Just stay on the main track and head out. About 0.8 miles in you will reach a small power line pole marked 4Z 36. Follow the power lines to the left. Almost immediately the jeep track continues off to your right. If you come to a second power pole you totally missed it.

Up until now you were heading towards Doe Mountain. Now you will be going around and away Doe Mountain towards the Cockscomb. Still on a jeep track the area is less used. Continue just over a mile to what appears to be a mini Blair Witch forest. There is a large opening in the fence with large boulders to keep out the unwanted. Pass through and head on to what becomes a well defined single track. Soon you should pass a road with a sign indicating "Public Trail". The trail crosses the road just after the sign. There is a gate here on the road with no less than a million signs stating no trespassing. Not that anyone would care to as the Cockscomb is just ahead. Upon reaching the base of the Cockscomb, look for cairns. Find one of the many cairned trails to ascend the monument.

The ascent is steep and dangerous. Be careful and go slow. It's very likely you will need to scramble the final third of the way up. A trail reappears about 15 feet below the top and skirts the upper plate. If you are looking to top out go left. At the end is a short tricky scramble, not intended for armatures. You can save your nerves and head to the right instead. A small alcove shows off the sandstone beauty. Peek around the other side and check out the spires of the Cockscomb!

Permit $$
Red Rock Pass - may or may not be required. Go to Red Rock Pass then check "When is a Red Rock Pass Required?". If you have questions contact the Coconino forest service.

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From the junction of Routes 89A and 179, take 89A west 3.2 miles to Dry Creek Road on the right. Go north 2.9 miles to a "T". Turn left and go 1.6 miles to another "T". Turn left again and go for .6 miles and turn left on FR 9586 (100 feet beyond the turnoff road for Fay Canyon parking on the right). Go .1 mile to trailhead parking.

Old Trailhead: The trailhead is off FR 152C, a bumpy gravel road. From the Sedona "Y" ( 179/89A ), follow 89A towards Cottonwood to Dry Creek Road and turn right onto it. Follow the paved road, always turning to the left when you come to one of the two "T" intersections. The last left turn gets you onto FR 152C. Follow it for about half a mile -- you'll see the large, well marked Fay Canyon trailhead on your right. Just a few yards beyond the Fay turn-off, there is a small, inconspicuous sign "Cockscomb Trail" pointing to a Jeep trail going off to the left. Follow the Jeep trail for a couple of hundred feet (a regular car can handle it if you drive slowly) and you'll come to a large, usually empty parking area.

Directions to Fay: From the 'Y' in Sedona ( 179/89A ) follow 89A 3.1 miles Southwest to Dry Creek Road. Turn Right and go 2.8 miles to Boynton PASS Road. Turn Left and go 2.7 miles, look for a parking area on the Right. There is(perhaps was) a rusty metal sign designating Fay Canyon Trail #53

Old Back Entrance: From the 'Y' in Sedona ( 179/89A ) follow 89A 3.1 miles Southwest to Dry Creek Road. Turn Right and continue 2.9 miles to the three way intersection with stop sign. Turn left and follow 0.6 miles. There is very narrow pullout on the left side to park. No trailhead sign exist. There is a fence marked no motorized vehicles allowed beyond this point. There is a gateless opening in the fence just wide enough to walk through.
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