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Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona, AZ

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Guide 54 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
3.4 of 5 by 24
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,517 feet
Elevation Gain 828 feet
Accumulated Gain 829 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.15
Backpack No
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24  2019-06-23
Mescal Mountain Loop
8  2019-05-05
Deadmans Pass
11  2019-04-20
Chuckwagon - Mescal - Deadman's pass - Long Ca
15  2019-02-06 caragruey
30  2018-06-16
Mescal Mountain - Long Canyon
15  2018-06-16
Mescal Mountain - Long Canyon
15  2018-06-16
Mescal Mountain - Long Canyon
43  2018-05-19 Nightstalker
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,257 map ( 21,432 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:11am - 6:32pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Against the Twisted Grain
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
Long Canyon is one of the many alluring escapes within the Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness. It's situated to the east and northeast of extremely popular Boynton Canyon. Which brought to mind the obvious question. How does Long Canyon compare with Boynton? I'll give my thoughts in a moment.

Bug spray proved to be invaluable on this outing. I always carry a little bottle in my pack. I haven't pin pointed the exact conditions. Though April and May seem to be the bug months in my experiences. In this case four applications kept me alive.

The trailhead for Long Canyon Trail #122 is well marked. Ample parking for most hikes. It likely gets overcrowded for this Red Rocks getaway. From the trailhead check out the map and available information. It's a no brainer where the trail takes off. A now closed jeep road makes up the first section of this trail. Sections of the trail are fine grain sand. Teva sandal users like myself might opt for boots in the hotter months. Sand burns! Having suffered a recent foot injury I was "lucky" enough to be on this trail in boots.

I read in several books the beginning of this trail was on the drab side. Folks, the top of South Mountain in Phoenix is drab. It's pretty tough to find a drab area anywhere close to Sedona in my opinion. Okay so the trail is wide. Yeah it's an old jeep road, go figure. The real controversy is the city closing in on the wilderness. This is true. A golf course is being constructed alongside the first mile. The trail doesn't actually cross into the wilderness until a mile into the hike. I'm wondering how they plan to keep those little white balls from pounding us hikers in the head. Cause I know of one hiker that'll be pounding ye golfer with el' fisto in such case. I'm just kidding, but I do wonder how they intend to keep it safe. Big tall fences or walls do seem out of character with the area. At any rate... Okay it's not the best first mile but it isn't the worst either. Mescal Mountain first comes into play on your left. There are trails tempting you over to a quick Red Rock fix. I was lured into such. I'm happy to report there's nothing exciting over there! One good photo opportunity was about it. There are several tiny alcoves along the east side of Mescal Mountain. I didn't see any evidence of ruins in the two I checked out.

Disregard any print prior to 2001 about which fork of the trail to take. There's really only one confusing junction. The far left goes to Mescal Mountain as described above. The far right is your ticket. Here's an easy way to remember. There are two thick diameter fence post with a slanting brace. The slanting brace log points "right" DOWN to the correct trail. A little further in you come to the trail log. Which contained strong superlatives. Most in disapproval of the neighboring golf course. A mile into the trail comes the wilderness boundary. If you're mountain biking it's time to turn around or hide the bike.

Butterflies played tag from this point on. I guess they were well aware of the wilderness boundary. Don't get too excited. These are Sedona camouflaged butterflies and fairly tiny. Quick little buggers too. Tough to photograph. At this point I'm thinking this is a decent Sedona hike. But nothing is wowing me as of yet. However, a front section of Maroon Mountain is flaunting it's pearly white cap in the near distance.

As you proceed further into Long Canyon the forest begins to take over. Nice red rocks are fairly close. Although not many good viewing opportunities are presented along the trail. One such spot early on is your best bet. I didn't pay much attention thinking it'd only get better.

So far the going has been pretty straight forward. Gaining 270 unnoticeable feet of elevation gain thus far. The trail is protected from the sun. I imagine a fair share of folks turning around here after two miles. There doesn't seem to be much hope of the canyon opening up like Boynton does at the end. Nevertheless I continued on. At this point I had passed enough groups to account for the seven cars at the trailhead. Then came the beautiful fields of poison ivy. Hey, they are pleasing to look at in healthy large quantities. Basically, if it has three leaves don't touch it or brush up against it. This isn't gonna save you from poison sumac with seven plus leaves but it's a good start.

Man I'm itching just writing about it. There was poison ivy in small patches alongside the trail. To date I've only seen worse cases in Devils Canyon near Superior. For the record this is no match. It's canyon wall to wall and four feet high in Devils Canyon. I'm proud to report Long Canyon didn't rub me the wrong way.

Alligator junipers are always interesting. One in particular appears to be ripped open by a bolt of lighting near the base. There's a couple getting pretty large too. Not to mention one huge pine tree. You'll undoubtedly spot the huge pine as the trail passes to the left. Light lavender wildflowers blanket sections of the trail. By this time you've completely forgotten about any golf course. Though the ending of this trail was perplexing my mind.

When I was assuming the trail should be ending soon it just intensified. Dropping into ravines followed by thick forest strolls. Then whammy. A wall, an overhang more precisely turned out to be the end of this journey. There's only one little tiny view of a nice wall through the foliage. Surely this wasn't gonna cure my appetite. Either side of this wall was a full fledged scramble up to who knows what. I opted for the right side. The left proved easier coming down for the record.

It's a short and well earned scramble to a center pivot point. You won't have any problems finding it. It's pretty much straight up beyond the overhang. Taking only five minutes to conquer. This is the spot to catch a whopping 360 degree view. It's pretty incredible. Now to answer the question. How does it compare with Boynton. It doesn't. It's very different. Boynton is very Sedona with it's soft curves and extended views. This is Sedona twisted in with Canyon de Chelly among everything else. I was sweating up a storm, limping from a foot wound and these views eased the pain.

Oh my, I wanted to continue. I forged on through terrible bushwhacking conditions. We're talkin' prickly pair and that kind of stuff. A trail does fad in and out. If only I'd started earlier! I'm sorry... I can't say after this one trip if it's possible to make it up to trail #109 which runs atop Secret Mountain. It would definitely be a push and a grunt if possible. Notice the smooth tan walls. Perfect for painting. Not YOU, I'm talking Indians 700-1500 years ago. The forest service says "small Indian ruins and some primitive rock pictographs" can be found... Enjoy the bone!

Note: Trail data including mileage is to the pivot rock with the 360 degree views. Camping is not permitted in Long Canyon. Near the 0.6 mile mark by the trail log Deadmans Trail takes off to the west. This connects with Boynton Canyon in a half mile or so.

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2001-05-16 joebartels
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    Long Canyon #122
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    Sedona Trails 2018

Coconino FS Details
Wide and nearly level, Long Canyon Trail provides easy access into Sedona's scenic red rock backcountry. For the first mile or so, the route follows an old jeep trail up an ephemeral streambed. Though this drainage is usually dry, it still supports a community of riparian or water-loving vegetation. Along the trail you'll even find a number of cypress trees, Arizona cypress, which are easily recognizable by their shaggy bark and round, gum ball-size seeds.

Providing a scenic setting for this unique habitat are a sampling of the picturesque buttes and cliffs for which the Sedona area is so famous. Steamboat Rock, Wilson Mountain, Maroon Mountain, and a number of unnamed cliffs, spires, windows and arches are visible from this trail. The trail ends at a red sandstone cliff where there are a few small Indian ruins and some primitive rock pictographs. Please don't disturb them.
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 of 18 deeper Triplog Reviews
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
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Mescal Mountain - Long Canyon
Mescal Trail
Semi dreaded this one heading in. Turned out to be a winner. Red rock views galore over a red rock course that holds your interest. Overcast and sprinkles are the ticket in June.

Deadmans Pass
Once again better than anticipated. The views, weather & company synced well.

Long Canyon Trail #122
Like Fay Canyon the forest alone has merit. Just a good hike if you follow the trail. Any scramble you survive will probably net a better experience. Ruins will be the main attraction for most. Looked similar to other rock pueblos but the approach was an impressive short adventure. Scratched a 17 year itch just enough to rekindle a quicker return. Speaking of which, there is some trophy poison ivy in this canyon.

Mescal Mountain
Heading in this intrigued me slightly more than the mountain bike trail around the perimeter. The pitch up albeit different than the scree chute to Brown's Peak rates a similar effort. Serious class 3 but not really class 4. Which means most will tackle it without hemming and hawing. The views up top are good. That said the perimeter trail is just as impressive in my opinion.

Sedona was a big piece of getting me interested in this despicably boring activity. Three previously traveled areas this year alone have netted unexpected new views and interest.
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
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Mescal Mountain - Long Canyon
The break in the June weather, moved this hike up on my list. Temps 70's and light to medium drizzle for a good portion of the day, made for some interesting cloud formations.

All of these trails were new to me and Long Canyon's been on the list for awhile. Starting at the Mescal TH, on the Mescal Trail, we were all surprised by how nice this trail and views were.

Deadmans Pass Trail is all about the views. The entrance to Boynton Canyon, Dutchwoman, Mescal Mountain and the entrance to our first set of adventures, Long Canyon.

I had a set of ruins and a 70' tall ladder on the agenda to find, with a few other ruins and a trip past the end of trail as options.

We took Long Canyon Trail to "Butt Rock" and started the 700' climb past the three sisters. The views got better the higher we got. The ruins are a pretty well preserved 3 room structure. There are corn cobs, hemp and shards in the area. They sure picked a sweet spot. The best part of this spot is it's echo. I've never heard a location that echoed like this one. [ youtube video ]

Next up, was to look for the ladder. I'd seen photos of it, and a cryptic idea of the location. The area we searched was a bust. I need to do some more research.

We skipped the search for more ruins to go past the "End of Trail" and look for a way up and out of the canyon. There is a well worn path for a good portion. There is a steep climb, head through a subway, up again and go.

We retreated from Long Canyon and decided we'd finish the day with trip to the top of Mescal Mountain on the way back. The initial climb from Deadmans Trail, was more of a matter of finding a way through the brush. After the initial climb, we made our way across the ridge to the final climb. Looking at it quickly from afar, it did not look like it was going to happen. We got up to the edge and Karl found a path up. Good views for sure up top. Getting down was surprisingly much easier than getting [ youtube video ]

We saw only a handful of people all day.
Good times in Sedona
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
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Made a day trip up to Sedona to do some hiking, decided on Long Canyon as we hadn't been up that way before. Got to the trailhead at about 10:45am, no rain yet but cloudy skies. Started off at the Mescal trailhead (parking wasn't an issue) and linked up with the old jeep trail to Long Canyon Trail. Once we got past the end of the old jeep trail we didn't see anyone else until getting to the very end of the trail, and saw several people on our way out. Nice trail with very gradual elevation gain, no issue picking up the trail as it goes in and out of the creek several times. Not much in the way of vistas but that's not what you hike in a canyon for, instead you get towering red rock walls on either side and nice creek side vegetation. On our way out of the canyon the drizzling started to pick up, but didn't need to pull out the rain jacket. Made a little detour to Mescal Mountain Trail before turning back to our parking spot. Overall great day for a light-rain hike.
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
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Mescal Mountain Loop with Chuckwagon
Time to see how the knee would do so I found this hike, even though Kelly had done part of it before. I made a bigger loop with little ups and downs through Sedona's beautiful redrock country. My knee did well but I gave out at about the seven mile mark; plus it got a little warm. We drove up the back way via Cottonwood and took one of the last few spots at the Boynton TH.

We headed up in the very cool shade of Deadmans Pass Trail with great views to our north. We encountered about 6 other hiker/bikers on this stretch. As we came toward Long Canyon we got to see some yellowing tall trees where we hooked up with the Chuckwagon Trail. This trail is only a few years old.

We continued east as we stayed high above Dry Creek below but had nice vistas every which way with the main one being Lost Wilson and Wilson Mountains. We spotted Devil's Bridge so I did some zooming altho you wouldn't know it was the Bridge unless you knew it was the bridge if you know what I mean. We saw some houses just before we dropped down into the creek bed. What a great backyard they have :) . It was interesting terrain down here before we climbed back up to once again see our vistas and eventually start heading west.

We had lunch at a scenic overpour with views toward Maroon Mountain. As we continued further it almost felt we were on a bit of a ridge/plateau. We could see Doe Mountain in the distance as well before we hooked up with the Mescal Trail and started heading north and west. Coming up from the drainage at the Mescal TH is when the sun started getting to me and I began losing my mojo. We were nearing the seven mile mark and agreed to take a break when we reached that mark but ended going a little farther and taking advantage of the last shade before you head around Mescal Mountain.

Oh Mescal Mountain, you are a beauty. Not only the mountain itself but the views along the way continue to dazzle; especially as you round the long corner and head north. And that's when it really dawned on me why Kelly didn't object to doing this trail again. The trail around the mountain is nice and only has a couple pay attention to your footing moments. We saw a rather large cave that looks like it might be fun to check out and of course Kelly does want to summit it one day.

It got a little warm as we finished off so I was glad we were done. Plus I'm still a bit weak after nearly a month of any good solid physical activity. (A note, it does seem the bikers go counterclockwise.) We both enjoyed our beer. We were presented with two rock hearts by a gentleman walking around the parking lot. It's supposed to bring us something but I can't remember what. Anyway, it was a thoughtful gesture.

Thanks again Kelly for a great hike and your patience. At least with the slower pace you have lots of great stuff to look at.
Later we headed to That Brewery in Cottonwood but they don't serve food and with it being Sunday, other options were closed. We ended up eating at the Black Bear Diner and come to find out, they have a few other franchises here in the Valley. The drive back was not bad except for going up the hill as it was backed up clear to the intersection we came out on. Fortunately, it stayed steady and we made it back with only one other minor slowdown.

Video 1 - Deadman's Pass onto Chuckwagon Trail via Long Canyon
Video 2 - Chuckwagon Trail
Video 3 - Chuckwagon Trail onto Mescal Trail
Video 4 - Mescal Trail and Mountain
Leaves shimmering 21 second video -
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
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Dead Long Chuck Mescal
angela's knee was healed enough to try this scenic sedona combo
criteria was eight to ten miles, not much elevation gain
deadman's pass, long canyon, chuckwagon and mescal for a clockwise loop
i've done the mescal mountain loop a couple times, but angela added a big chunk of chuckwagon for some extra mileage
got going around 0930, in cool temps and not much breeze
not as many hiking these trails as there might have been on Boynton canyon
we did see some hikers and mountain bikers later on
took a lunch break in a little pouroff/amphitheater with comfy seating in the shade, then another snack break along mescal
angela's knee held up well
had some early dinner at black bear diner in cottonwood, then headed back down I-17 with one slowdown going up the hill from camp verde - not bad
thanks for driving, angela
nice getting out with you again :)
next time will have to take a look at summiting mescal mountain
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
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Judy and I up in Sedona for 3 days. Did the Mescal, Long Canyon, Deadman's Pass, Mescal loop counter clockwise. Nice easy hike with great views and easy up's and down's. Great for your friends that don't hike much as there's little elevation change. Well marked off of Long Canyon Rd.
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
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On day two of our Sedona hiking we parked at the Mescal Trailhead and headed over to Devil's Bridge via the Chuckwagon Trail which I got the idea from trekking gecko's trip log, thanks! To our surprise we were able to enjoy the destination to ourselves which was very nice. From there we hiked back to the trailhead and then crossed Long Canyon road and headed over to the Long Canyon Trailhead and up Long Canyon trail. Really enjoyed this canyon once we actually got into it. Stopped and had a quick snack, changed the socks, and returned the same way. The morning was heating up pretty good, my phone showed 81 with a realfeel of 93.

Note to self, time to switch out of the goretex boots for the year, man they were hot. Glad I brought a change of socks on both hikes.
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
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up early sunday morning to do this loop
deadman's pass to long canyon to mescal trail
took a side trip up vista trail
think there's a vortex up there
23 degrees to start with, maybe upper 30s when i finished
no wind, so it was fine
no people until i got back on deadman's pass
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
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Despite a late start on a busy weekend, I was determined to hike something, and Sedona seemed like a good choice. I walked quickly, my goal to make it to the end of Long Canyon Trail. In an hour I was beyond what seemed like the end of the official trail beneath towering douglas firs. I followed a social trail a bit further to its end at the base of some sandstone bluffs, where I had a decent view back down the canyon.

The sun had set and darkness was arriving quickly under overcast skies. I started back, deciding to navigate as long as possible without my headlamp. Like an errant sasquatch, I sped through the dark forest, my world of color having been replaced by black vegetation and a light gray dirt path. At one point my rapid, heavy footfalls spooked a lone backpacker, who nervously illuminated me with his headlamp. I shouted "hello" and kept going.

Darkness always makes a trail seem longer in my opinion, but I arrived back at the trailhead in just over an hour, never having had to use my headlamp (and only falling once ;) ). Surprisingly, my black truck was easy to find in the dark. A fun evening and a great hike, even though I only "saw" the first half of it. :lol:
Long Canyon Trail #122 - Sedona
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great morning hike with my mom and my brother
deadman's pass, long canyon trail to the road, then mescal trail along the base of mescal mountain and back on deadman's pass
there is a connector trail that skips the road, but we didn't realize it at the time
mescal trail must be relatively new, and there are several other newer trails in that area
if anyone know how long it is, chime in, as i am just guessing at the mileage on this loop
one stretch of mescal follows a ledge halfway up the mountain and it was super cool
my mom did pretty well on that part, even though she doesn't care for slanted slickrock with a dropoff :o
the mountain is definitely climbable, too
a nice hike capping a great weekend in sedona with family :)
had lunch at the mesa grill on airport mesa - cool spot

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
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From the Sedona 'Y' ( 179/89A ) go Southwest on 89A for 3 miles to Dry Creek Road. Turn Right on to Dry Creek Road and follow 2.8 miles to the stop sign. Take a right and follow 0.6 miles to the trailhead parking on the left.

Location: About 32 miles south of Flagstaff (2 miles west of Sedona) on paved roads. The elevation ranges from 4560 to 5000 feet.

Access: Drive 27 miles south from Flagstaff on US 89A through Sedona to Dry Creek Road. Turn north (right) about a mile and a half to Long Canyon Road (FR 152D) and north (right) again about 0.5 miles to the Long Canyon trailhead on left.
3 pack - loud whistle
go prepared
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