Rather B Ridin'
We drove down to Sedona from Corvallis, Oregon originally intending to do the Casner Mountain/Taylor Cabin/Sycamore Canyon/Dogie Trail loop, which is apparently about 20 miles from what I've read. However, it didn't quite turn out that way, mostly because the rangers in the area were incredibly unhelpful and gave us this horrific excuse for a map. The road there was pretty straight forward and not too difficult; I have a Subaru Outback and it did everything just fine. A small subcompact car might have difficulties, but I think a reasonable driver in a mid- or full-size car could do it alright.
At any rate, the hike itself is pretty strenuous for the first few miles until you top out the mountain. The first mile, maybe a little more, is a moderate incline, but then it gets into some steep switchbacks which take you directly up the side of the mountain. You're hiking along power lines the entire way, which isn't exactly enjoyable; you can hear them buzzing and whatnot, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be.
The trail itself is actually this old sketchy road that's really wide and very easy to hike on. The views are pretty excellent. Once you get into the switchbacks, you get some really nice views of Sycamore Canyon on one side and the Sedona area on the other, which is fantastic. On the top of the mountain it's boring until you hit the edge at which point you get Loy Canyon on one side and Sycamore Canyon on the other. We ended up turning around about 1/2 down the trail out of frustration because we thought we missed Taylor Cabin Trail and also because we were much more out of shape than we thought (hiking much too slow).
I've heard the loop is amazing, and I'd like to go back and complete it one day, but keep in mind that it's one hell of a hike up that freakin' mountain (imagine planning this online thinking it's a 250 ft. climb, driving 25 hours straight to get there, and realizing that the trail goes straight up the side of the mountain...combine that with 60 hours without sleeping and a setting sun, and that was our situation. Joy.)
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
Coconino FS Details
Originally built to maintain power lines, Casner Mountain trail offers spectacular views of the Sycamore Canyon and Red Rock/Secret Mountain Wildernesses and the Verde Valley. The trail follows an old jeep road which still provides access to the power lines.
The trail begins in high desert vegetation and switchbacks up the side of Casner Mountain. Once on top of the mesa, Pinyon/Juniper with open grasslands are the norm. The ascent is very strenuous and accounts for about 2 miles of the total length. However, once on top the hike is really quite easy to moderate. Take lots of water especially during the Summer months.
Wildlife is abundant, particularilly in the winter months. Watch for Elk and Deer. An occassional Bear and even Mountain Lion are spotted.
USGS Map: Loy Butte