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Casner Mountain Trail #8, AZ

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Guide 10 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
3.1 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,730 feet
Elevation Gain 2,106 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 14.53
Backpack Yes
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23  2017-03-18
Casner - Cabins - Loy - Robbers Loop
14  2017-03-18
Casner - Cabins - Loy - Robbers Loop
12  2016-07-01
Casner - Taylor Cabin - Sycamore - Dogie Loop
30  2012-04-07
Casner-Taylor-Dutch-Sycamore-Dogie Loop
5  2012-02-14 toddak
46  2009-01-18
Taylor Cabin via Dogie Trail - Sycamore Canyon
Author ridebmxdammit
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 0 map ( 0 miles )
Age 38 Male Gender
Location Corvallis, OR
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:17am - 6:24pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Rather B Ridin'
by ridebmxdammit

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.)

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2003-05-08 ridebmxdammit
  • wilderness related
  • Sedona Trails 2018
    region related
    Sedona Trails 2018

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

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
Casner Mountain Trail #8
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Casner - Cabins - Loy - Robbers Loop
Needed to get to cooler ground...

I had some unfinished business in this area and reused a couple of past hikes to create a loop.

There were two (Turned out to be 3) cabins up in the pines that I had not seen yet, Plus I'd never been to the Sedona version of the Robbers Roost.

In pre-production, I stumbled on a Ruin while trying to minimize the road walk, so that added one more "Destination".

We started a tad south of the Robbers Roost and saved that for the end of the day.

We bushwhacked over to the Ruins and Class 4'd it to the top. A small but interesting perch.

Next it was up the Multi-use Casner Mountain Trail #8. If you start from FR 525C, it's a 2.8 mile steady climb, 2100' to the top. It's an old road, but you do get some tremendous views of the Red Rock-Secret Mountain and Sycamore Canyon Wilderness areas. There have been some rock slides, but most ORV's can still make it.

The first cabin up was Buck Ridge Cabin. This one actually turned out to be two Cabins. The first, a log cabin built long ago, sadly had taken a direct hit from a fallen tree. The roof had caved in. The 2nd cabin was more recent maybe from the 60's or 70's. It had a well that came into the cabin, with a pump, into the sink. It even had a poured concrete floor.

Just outside was one of the nicest tanks I'd see. All nestled in the pines, it almost looked like a swimin' hole.

We bushwhacked over to the area of the next cabin. We stumbled on some old roads that could have made it a bit easier, but I'd never seen them on the Sat. views.

I expected Hidden Cabin to Hidden. But there it was in view from the FR. The WARNING HANTAVIRUS sign on the front of the building was apropos. The rodents had overrun that cabin.

Secret Mountain Trail #109 to Loy Canyon Trail #5, was our way off the mountain. Always spectacular views here. The upper mile of Loy is sun exposed, but after that you are in the pines and a gentler grade for the remaining 5.5 miles.

The next part I was a bit worried about. I could see some houses on the Sat. view. We approached a few closed gates across the FR, and could see larger signs on them. No motorized traffic, respect others property, etc. so we continued through without incident.

For the next off trail section, I tried to pick stuff on the Sat. view that looked "Less Thick". There were only a couple of catclaw sections that wanted to decorate my legs. Somehow I managed not to kick any of the low growing, grass hidden prickly pear.

Finally with darkness coming, we were on an old mining road and with a stop at the Robbers Roost left. Just as we approached the Roost, 3 college aged young ladies emerged saying how they's just finished a Photo Shoot, complete with costume change?? hmmmm.

Robbers Roost smelled like purfume.... much different that the Robbers Roost in the Superstitions.
Casner Mountain Trail #8
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Casner - Cabins - Loy - Robbers Loop
Casner Mountain Trail #8
We enjoyed this one five years ago and it held it's value. It is a high rolling road perched over red rock views. If you remotely like Ord via Slate this easier version with world class views will smack you silly.

Buck Ridge Cabin
After a nice walk through pines this was a great find. Most notable is the nearby tank, lake sized compared to most tanks surrounded by a nice forest.

We walked through a lot of pines with wind wisping above. The hike was a therapeutic recharge. In the summer you get hints of coolness. Today we got hints of scorching radiation. Sure was nice to turn the tables on that badboy.

Hidden Cabin
The "Hidden Cabin" sign in front of it gives away the secret. Another nice setting. Minus a few brownie points for lack of fishing pond.

Secret Mountain Trail #109
Only a short walk on this storybook trail over to Loy #5. The trailhead is remote and in pristine condition.

Loy Canyon Trail #5
We are currently hitting recorded temps for a good week. It was pretty toasty where this one opens up heading down. Ignore the tears as the views are just outstanding. Down into the canyon you get shade relief back to square one.

Off Trail Joy Joy
In order to make this loop work we came nauseously close to a few houses. It all appeared to be on the up and up, not one stay out sign. Just be respectful, no weapons or motor vehicles. Step two was getting across some thick brush. It wasn't terrible since the worst part was a couple hundred yards. A mile plus dodging prickly pair was the balance. The day was cooling off with the sun dropping behind a ridge so it was semi enjoyable.

Robbers Roost - Sedona
We approached this backwards. Latching to the top of an old 4wd road for a mine. We headed down and worked in the roost just as the sun melted away. No cars at the makeshift trailhead. Then three college girls leaving, surprised us rounding the corner to the roost =)

Bruce threw together a shocking winner in ten minutes. With miles of pines up top I could see hitting this in the summer with an early start. Roaming up top more until the heat subsides then drop back into the oven. It would undoubtedly be a water lugging event.

very isolated, two sprigs of paintbrush were the highlight
Casner Mountain Trail #8
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Casner - Taylor Cabin - Sycamore - Dogie Loop
I've wanted to do this loop to Taylor Cabin for the longest time. After a dayhike down Dogie to Sycamore Creek last year and some fooling around on and around Casner this year I did some more homework and opted to do the damn thing from the Casner approach...

After camping near the Casner mountain trailhead, I got an early start just before 6 AM. I opted to drive a little further to the "ROAD CLOSED" gate under the power lines that run up Casner (this is the right of way gate for Casner Mountain). Getting the climb up Casner done first before the heat of the day sets in is recommended. Despite carrying 5L of water the climb wasn't too bad with trekking poles. The views going up are wonderful but the novelty of peeking down into Sycamore Canyon to your left AND the edge of Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness to your right is just fantastic. Pictures won't do it justice...
After spotting Mooney trail snaking up from the edge of RRSM wilderness I came to the junction with both Mooney and Taylor Cabin. The shade of this somewhat overgrown descent was quite appreciated. Taylor Cabin trail is cairned in abundance all the way down to the creek.

I did a dumb thing and boulder hopped ALL THE WAY from Taylor Cabin trail to Dogie trail, stopping at Taylor Cabin with quite a bit of help from Gaia GPS. My entire excursion boulder hopping was exhausting, hot, and dry (I would not recommend) however it did save me the anxiety of bushwhacking and trying to find the cairns marking the trails comings and goings thru Sycamore Canyon. My extra dumb choice was boulder hopping this in running shoes (read: not boots or even trail runners) it would be a hell of a place to slip or twist an ankle... Personally, I can rationalize exhausting and dangerous boulder hopping as "more direct" but ultimately it's just a preference and again, I wouldn't recommend this to another hiker unless as a last resort.

Taylor Cabin was cute. If you go TAKE A COUPLE PENS AND PENCILS. There are no writing implements for the log book. On my visit there was one pan of clear water that had run off the metal roof (about one liter) after the recent light showers in the area. Don't count on seeing water on this loop though, pack enough to safely execute your hike without finding water on the route. I almost packed less water because of the recent showers and I'm so glad I thought better of it. There is a binder with information about Taylor Cabin inside, it's worth flipping through if you like historic details. An intrepid hiker may also find the nearby gravestone of "Jak" (a cattledog I presume), the corral ruins, and adjacent storage cave. During my visit, mice seemed to have set up shop fairly well in the cupboards.

The boulder hop down to the Dogie junction was slow and exhausting. The junction is unsigned and easy to miss as the cairns are spread wide on either side of the wide canyon floor. I set a GPS waypoint on my track for this junction. Dogie trail felt like a moving sidewalk after all the boulder hopping. The trail is in good shape and has plenty of camping spots between the creek and Sycamore Pass tank.
Casner Mountain Trail #8
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Casner-Taylor-Dutch-Sycamore-Dogie Loop
I've had this loop in mind for awhile now. Time to escape the heat in the valley.
The injured Teva said he would join me, but had two requests.
1) No Rock Hopping - Oops
2) No Bushwhacking - Double Oops

We parked at the Trailhead at the end of 525C and started our 1.25 mile Counter Clockwise road walk over to the Casner Mountain Trail. This is the recommended way to go, (You were right)
getting the major climb out of the way in the beginning of a long day (2000' in 2 miles). The 4 mile walk across the top of Casner Mountain, yielded views that gave you a great overall feel for the Sedona landscape. At some points you are walking on a ridge that's 30' across, with views off both sides.

Be careful when making the turn off Casner Mountain and on to Taylor Cabin trail. The finely groomed trail appears to go straight and to the left. We wasted 20 minutes after it just dead ended. After back tracking, make the semi-hidden right, once off Casner Mountain.

The Taylor Cabin Trail was gorgeous, and reminded me a bit of how the Grandview trail drops into the GC. For the next hour the prominent feature is unnamed peak 6416. During this time, you make the 3 mile steep decent to Sycamore Creek. You'll pass through both conifer and deciduous trees and pass through smooth red rock narrows, while following the drainage.

Once at the bottom, at Sycamore Creek, the trail goes straight across. Two faded Taylor Cabin signs are the only clue. From here to the 1/4 from the cabin, you'll be skirting Sycamore Creek. The trail is almost gone in many places. This is the one area that it'd would have been nice to have long pants. It's a 2 mile hike to the Cabin from here.

Taylor Cabin is a place that has to be seen to appreciated. There's a lot of history there.
The chimney on that fireplace is something I've never seen before. There are some food stuffs, Water in containers, propane, etc stored about. If you feel like doing some cleanup while you are there, please make use of the Wheel barrow and shovels.

From here you take the 8.5 Mile Dutch Kid Tank / Sycamore / Dogie Roller coaster back to the Start. Yep... there are many more gorgeous views along the way....

We finished up just as we were going to need headlamps. We had two other side trips we were thinking for this day, but they will have to wait for another time.

On the way home, Joe talked about his Contractors.
Thanks for joining me, and I'm glad your foot did not fall off.
Casner Mountain Trail #8
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Casner-Taylor-Dutch-Sycamore-Dogie Loop
This is good loop. Glad I finally got to tackle it after knowing about it for so long. Casner seems under rated to me. The best views of the loop are from the top in my opinion. The sweetest part of the hike is going down Taylor through the thick forest. A lot of dead fall, luckily it's relatively easy to get over. The worst part is from when Taylor enters the creek over to a quarter mile before reaching the cabin. Either friendly or lazy backpackers have left over ten bottles of used coleman fuel in the cabin cabinet. Overall it's a cool little area and well maintained. The most enjoyable part of the loop was on the short Dutch Kid Tank Trail #54.

Believe the only water seen all day was in the creek about a mile ENE of the cabin near-ish 34.996719, -111.973172. Personally I wouldn't count on water down there much ever.

Our temps ranged from 43 to maybe 75. Any warmer at the bottom would have been hot. The rocks radiate the heat back with such little shade.

Wildflowers: one sprig of blue dicks, wallflowers on a couple occasions, indian paintbrush maybe a dozen times and a few other varieties I'm unsure of on the identification

First serious hike now 16 days after the foot injury. At times it wasn't too bad, at times it was quite painful. Obviously not the wisest choice yet I have no regrets.
Casner Mountain Trail #8
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I actually ended up doing a loop hike from Dogie TH, down to Sycamore Canyon, up past Taylor Cabin, to the junction with the Taylor Cabin trail, up this side canyon to the TH on Casner Mountain, south along the 4x4 road & powerlines, and eventually down back to the Dogie TH. My guide book list this loop as 18.8m and another site has it as ~20m and having done the hike I'm thinking it's closer to 20ish than 18ish (the NF map isn't the greatest at listing mileage :lol: ). I day hiked this loop clockwise, but I would recommend doing it counter-clockwise to get the climbing up Casner mountain done early plus better lighting for photos as the sun glides across the sky. Taylor cabin is a pleasant place and would make a great backpacking destination. Most would prefer to backpack this rugged remote loop, esp considering I was barely able to squeak this hike out just after the sun set. It should be noted that the NF map shows the trail sticking to the westside of the canyon down around Taylor cabin, but in reality it jumps sides a few times and you could also just boulder hop right up/down the dry creekbed if you prefer.

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.

Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness
see map for camping restrictions

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
About 48 miles south of Flagstaff (17 miles west of Sedona) on paved and gravelled roads.

Drive 30 miles south from Flagstaff through Sedona on US 89A. Five miles past Sedona turn north on FR 525 and follow the signs to Sycamore Pass. Turn west on FR 525C and continue for seven miles to the trailhead. Watch for the trailhead sign on your right where the power line crosses the road.
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