|Hiking||8.75 Miles|| 4 Hrs ||2.19 mph|
|1,075 ft AEG|
|Brins Mesa Trail - Soldier Pass Trail Loop. I started from the Dry Creek Road TH. I hadn't been up here since the fire in 2006. It wasn't as bad as I feared. From the Dry Creek TH you start with a riparian area and drainage for a while until you get out on the mesa. Pleasant hike across the mesa with views of Mount Wilson to the east. Great views of Sedona at the south end of the mesa as you start the descent into the Sedona TH. Went down the road 100yds and took the Cibola Trail west as the connector to Soldier Pass Trail. The Sinkhole is interesting. I missed the Soldier Pass hiking trail and ended up on the Soldier Pass 4x4 Parkway. At the end of the Parkway, I found a trail heading south toward the Sinkhole and met a couple who had hiked this trail from the Sinkhole. I wasn't lost, I was just going the wrong way. So I went back to the end of the Parkway and found the gap in the fence where the Soldier Trail heads up a wash. Pleasant little climb up to Soldier Pass then a short hike across the mesa to the junction with the Brins Mesa Trail. Turned north to the Dry Creek TH.
Arizona Highways - Hike of the Month
March 2001: Brins Mesa Trail
'Rock Stars' Highlight the Stellar Views From
Brins Mesa Trail, a Spectacular Trek in the Sedona Area
by Kathleen Bryant | photograph by Larry Lindahl
The Brins Mesa Trail begins mere blocks from Uptown Sedona, climbing 1.5 miles to a tabletop aerie sandwiched between Brins Ridge and Wilson Mountain. The highlight of this hike is the view, and Sedona's red rock landmarks play starring roles. The 1-mile point - where the real climb begins - offers an ideal turnaround for novices, while the strong of lung might take on the steep half mile to the mesa's edge.
The trail, which begins at the gate to the old shooting range, winds through fresh-scented cypress and piñon. Manzanita bushes line the route; their entwined maroon-and-silver branches hang with delicate pink-and-white bells in spring, becoming tiny rust-colored "apples" by fall. Despite the lush vegetation, the wide trail conveys an open feeling.
Dominating to the north and east are Shiprock, with its triangular "sail" of cream-colored Coconino sandstone; Steamboat, whose "smokestacks" tower above a sandstone prow of reddish orange; and the long ridge called The Fin. As the trail meanders toward the mesa (a flat expanse sloping up to the north), the Cibola Mitten and Brins Ridge guard the western flank.
At a low spot, about three-quarters of a mile along, the trail forks. The left fork continues the climb to Brins Mesa, named in memory of a wily brindle-colored bull that evaded roundup on the mesa's high pastures. As the story goes, a pair of cowboys finally roped Old Brin, but he dragged them into the brush. Rather than continue the struggle, they shot him.
After about 25 minutes at a good clip, hikers reach a series of natural red rock steps leading up to a broad bench in the Schnebly Hill formation, a perfect spot to pause, catch their breath and identify more of Sedona's "rock stars."
Snoopy and Camel Head overlook Uptown Sedona and sycamore tree-studded Oak Creek Canyon. Farther south loom the mirror-image Twin Buttes. Sharp-eyed hikers may spot Gibraltar, Courthouse and Bell Rock peeking out from behind them. To the southeast rises Mitten Ridge, incorporating Giant's Thumb and Teapot Rock.
Closer, at the base of the highest peak in Sedona - 7,122-foot basalt-crowned Wilson Mountain - stand several red rock spires. One of the largest, Earth Angel, appears with wings folded and hands in a prayerful position.
Those who want a short hike should turn around here. For others, who share Old Brin's love of heights and open spaces, the rocky trail ascends steeply but rewards with stunning views in every direction. The grassy mesa spreads out and invites exploration, a pleasant surprise after the hard climb. From there I once watched a misty ephemeral waterfall dancing in the wind, a rare but stirring sight created by spring melt plunging from high on Wilson Mountain.
With a good map and a car shuttle, experienced hikers can plan variations with connecting trails or simply return to the original trailhead. Surrounded by the stars in Sedona's fantasy landscape, it's easy to understand why even a grumpy old bull wouldn't want to leave.
|Anybody can make a hike harder. The real skill comes in making the hike easier. |
life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. Andy Rooney