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Twin Buttes Loop via the Hogs, AZ
mini location map2016-05-22
48 by photographer avatartibber
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Twin Buttes Loop via the Hogs, AZ 
Twin Buttes Loop via the Hogs, AZ
Hiking avatar May 22 2016
Hiking10.85 Miles 1,717 AEG
Hiking10.85 Miles   6 Hrs   19 Mns   2.26 mph
1,717 ft AEG   1 Hour   31 Mns Break
1st trip
I had put together a Broken Arrow hike for a day hike last year but it never came to fruition due to weather. After realizing the error in our thoughts that we could handle mid 30s and wind at Camp May south of Mormon Lake, I went back to fine tuning a route for us to take on Sunday. I spent several hours with route manager and on the MTBproject site uploading some of their routes, I put together a map and then decided we would do the southern half this time. That way we could check out some of the other sites along the way.

Two things I learned from my time on Route Manager: it's hard to join routes sometimes as it will join you back to the TH. One thing everyone should know when you fiddle with Route Manager is to save your work as you go. Second I put in way points at both trails when they would intersect so HAZel would go off incessantly when we hit an intersection. So use only one waypoint for the intersection such as at the Broken Arrow and White Line rather than one waypoint at each (as I didn't know which way for sure we would approach an intersection so I wanted to cover my bases ](*,) ). Kelly found HAZel very amusing today. A couple times I was thinking a shotgun might be an appropriate end to her ranting (HAZel that is).

Now onto the hike. All I can say is WOW, WOW, WOW. What an awesome day of hiking! The trails are in wonderful shape everywhere. The Hog Trails are particularly impressive with some of the natural paving stones they did. I'm sure some of this extra fine construction would not have been done if it were just hikers but since they are biking trails, a little extra effort was obviously used which is just fine with us (especially on Hog Heaven).

We started from the Little Horse TH so that way you don't have to go into Sedona. It was a nice morning as we ambled our way toward and onto the Little Horse Trail which goes on the northeast side of Little Horse Park. Your views are of the Two Nuns to the NE and Lee Mountain to the east. While looking at one of the trail map signs a local asked if we had any questions and told us about a little side trail we could take off of from Marg's Draw (that's for next time). Soon you are walking alongside and in a drainage. Sedona has the bestest drainages; Kelly and I are always impressed by them. It started getting windier as we gained elevation and made our way to Chicken Point. We didn't beat the jeeps but that's okay. We took some obligatory pics and then continued on to Broken Arrow Trail.

I knew the White Line was near and then I recall HAZel was babbling but I wasn't listening (it was also very windy and hard to hear). So part way along the Broken Arrow I asked Kelly if we could go back and try to find the White Line and she was game. The White Line is almost immediately at the Broken Arrow/Little Horse intersection behind Chicken Point. You can see the white line in the rock too. So up we went and though we didn't follow the route because I didn't include it on my map, we just kept going vertical.

We missed part of the route that went off to the right and just went straight up. We would see bike tire marks so figured we were close enough. There really aren't any cairns up here so you're on your own. (However, if you add the route to your map, you can follow it). The views over to Munds Mountain are pretty cool up here but it was SUPER windy so we went down. Oh, I heard one of the jeep drivers call the mountain (when you're looking north at it) a camel but I thot it looked more like a snail. Apparently The White Line is notorious for this :o :

We continued on the Broken Arrow north to the Submarine Rock but took a slight detour over to another little formation that I found out is called Mushroom Rock. Of course Kelly climbed up to the top; I just circled it. Other folks came by so we took on our way. It's kind of sad how the tires have turned the red bedrock to black. From here you can make a beeline for Submarine Rock but Kelly and I continued to follow the trail. It intersects with the Hogs but we would come back to that. The trail starts to descend and you cross thru some cypress forest and bedrock before coming to the road. You cross that and go down and up a drainage. Here you make your way around the other side (east) of the submarine. I found the birds to be very active through this forested part of the trail. You eventually end up at what I think is the stern and you climb up on it.

There weren't too many people aboard so we wandered around admiring its enormity. There were great 360 views from here. I got one really awesome photo; well several actually ;) . The agaves had buds but were not blooming yet. They sure were pretty though. We continued north on the sub and went up to the bow. It was super windy and a bit chilly so we went off the side to have our snack and take a quick break. It was nice and cozy in the cubby hole we found. Getting up and down from the bow on the south is just a little tricky.

Well that was fun. So we walked back to the stern and took our trail back to Broken Arrow where we headed south from the intersection to get to the Hog Trails (I think these are new as of 2014?). There were some pretty cactus blooming along the way and a person-sized agave that distracted us. The Hog intersection is slightly up from the Broken Arrow on some bedrock. The view from this intersection is pretty nice as well. So now it was time to see what High on the Hog was all about as it took us toward Hog Heaven (FYI these are one way trails for bikers E to W). I found this interesting when researching:
High on the Hog and Hog Heaven are rated double black diamond for bikers. This is the international symbol to make sure your affairs are in order before you start.

High on the Hog trail continues back to the northwest and almost immediately reminded us of the Hangover Trail. The views of the Munds Wilderness are simply outstanding :y: . The trail hugs the side of the butte as it contours very nicely to join you up with Hog Heaven in 1/3rd of a mile. There is also the intersection with the Twin Buttes Trail.

You now are heading west on Hog Heaven. The slick rock along a couple sections of this trail are pretty cool and as you look to the north you can see the Crimson Cliffs and Wilson Mountain. A little further along as you get closer to the pass we were enamored with the pools of water and the cliffs across the way with their geographic horizontal lines and varnished vertical lines. Soon you reach the saddle which puts you between the Twin Buttes to your south. You contour around the side as you make your way slightly down Hog Heaven. Here is where some of that fancy paver construction came into play that even included banking. Kelly and I were duly impressed by these. As you unwrapped around the other side the views to the NE mountains opened up. After getting distracted by cute lizard pics, we stared in amazement as more and more of those mountains appeared. It was the most beautiful rock outcropping (a finger of Munds Mountain where Marg's Draw is). But wait it gets better cuz as you continue along you can now see the Capitol Butte area too.

In slightly under a mile you reach the intersection with Hog Wash Trail (yes HAZel, we heard you the first two times). You can take the Hog Wash east back to Broken Arrow if you choose but our loop continues winding around the west side of the Twin Buttes. After walking thru a little more of the forest we came to Pig Tail Trail. As we were hiking on this I had found an old route from the Twin Buttes Loop hike desc GPS one could take instead of dropping onto Mystic. Well that route doesn't exist anymore as it's been blocked off so we ended up having to take Mystic. Once we were down to the floor level of course the terrain changed from the trees to the bushes and prickly pear. We took a break before turning south; across the way was Airport Butte.

We intersected up with the Mystic Trail and took it south to Chapel Road. We ran into a family just starting their hike for the day. You do have views of Cathedral Rock but the lighting was not the best at this time of day. Once at the road, you do gotta pay attention to the traffic as there isn't much space to walk. I did find where the old trail came out. On the way to the Chapel I found it easier walking on the south side and I'm sure glad I did as the house with the telescope dome had an incredible garden 8) to spy on. The driveways were quite impressive too.

The Chapel parking area was very crowded. The picketpost gate to the trail is off to the east side of the parking lot. From here you head east below the Twin Butte on the Chapel Trail. It climbs a bit but has lots to show you along the way including views of Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock to the south. The trail is a little rockier in sections. We passed what we think was an intersection to a climbing trail. We did encounter a small hiking group during this part of the hike before reaching the intersection of Little Horse in about 3/4 mile from the Chapel area.

With a mile and 1/2 left and a beer calling my name, I pretty much tucked my camera away :o to finish off this hike for the day. It ended up being a little longer than I had planned but that's okay as it was a more than awesome day of hiking in Red Rock Country. The trails are great and the views outstanding.

As we made our left turn on the highway, Kelly's friends happened to be in the vehicle right in front of us. We had texted them on our last break to see if we could meet up (they had been climbing). Well they usually go to the Pizza Place across from the Blue Moon (where I normally go) so we went to Famous Pizza. It was nice to meet up with them (altho I had met Fletch at the johnr1 service).

I have to say some of my pics are beautiful. The video, unfortunately, has the dust on the lens issue; hopefully that's temporary. Panasonic sent me a survey to complete about my last service. Needless to say they got a polite earful as I used every word count they allowed.

Bell Rock Pathyway, Little Horse Trail - ... ME_M
Little Horse Trail Part 2 - ... mbOI
White Line and Broken Arrow - ... TNa0
Broken Arrow to the Sub - ... BwQo
The Submarine - ... bDwE
Sub to Hog Trails - ... sox4
High on the Hog - ... UbtE
Hog Heaven - ... jM7A
Hog Heaven Part 2 - ... M7kI
Hog Wash to Chapel Hill - ... VxIo
Chapel Trail - ... 1moE
For me, sometimes it's just as much about the journey as the destination.
Oh, and once in awhile, don't forget to look back at the trail you've traveled.
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