The Best Hikes in Munds Mountain Wilderness

450 Triplog Reviews in the Munds Mountain Wilderness
Most recent of 158 deeper Triplog Reviews
19.06 mi • 2,820 ft aeg
Decided to take advantage of a cool-ish weather forecast to do a route that is typically probably very ill-advised during the summer. The warning sign at the trailhead ("NOT A DAY HIKE") was maybe a little exaggerated, but probably some kind of warning was warranted.

Started up Hot Loop, and it was already a bit warm on the climb up to Horse Mesa, but after a few miles some clouds started rolling in, and it was actually quite pleasant with the sun blocked. Trail gets a little hard to follow in places, but I'd say 90% of it was straightforward. The part between about 7 miles in and the climb up the rim, through sandstone and cypress, was quite pretty, and the best 2-ish miles of this loop.

My timing is impeccable so I caught another sunny and hot window just in time for my climb up the rim. Saw a few hunters napping under a tree up top, and this was the only humans I saw all day.

Was pretty tired by the time I got to Jacks Canyon trail, which was pretty in the upper stretches, but very, very overgrown. Evidently this trail gets far more bear traffic than human traffic. I was ready to be done by the time I got to the wilderness boundary, but still had a few miles to go. This was a rough one, but considering it's August, couldn't have hoped for better weather.
5.38 mi • 653 ft aeg
“Can I take a picture of your dog?“ — everyone on Bell Rock today 😂
Trail patrol report:
Hikers - 323
Bikers - 2
Off leash dogs 0
Rock stacks dismantled > 10
Graffiti cleaned > 10
Trash collected - < 5lbs
Engagements - 12

Wildflowers
Verbena, occ Firecracker . Ocotillos haven’t bloomed.
6.4 mi • 2,150 ft aeg
Living near Lee Mtn. for nearly a year, I finally decided to try the Mule deer trails up metate ridge (I named that one) to Lee Mountain top.

Estimated mileage starts at the jacks canyon trailhead staging area. Head NE over the mellow, gently rising jacks canyon trail. I, however cycled to an old staging area near the pine valley mailboxes, about 0.7 mile in. ( keep that in mind when looking at my gps track).
1.5 Miles On the left will be a hill, which could be mistaken for the ridge to lee mtn. I suspect this route would be unwise in terms of pleasure and efficiency. Pass a 200 foot canyon and this next rise is the start of the ridge to Lee. If I do this route again, I may go upcanyon here or along this ridge.But I continued several hundred feet for probably the easiest route up the base of Lee. It is also possible to continue to the tank at 2.5 miles and then turn back SW taking a gentler gradient towards metate ridge.

2.2 mile mark and turn left up through a moderately steep section of alluvial fan laden with paddle cactus, but fear not as it appears dozens of cows have made way at least one week per year for decades and maybe daily for centuries, traffic which could include deer, elk, bear, lions, and horses. There is no one exact spot to make the turn, and no cairns either. As you rise, Continue through the intermittent cow pasture which has variant permanent trails going both at an angle and straight up hill. As you gain elevation, aim uphill and eventually, towards the left (west). As you get higher there will be juniper and now mesquite which must be navigated by skirting around or at times quickly through the thickets of juvenile mesquite, avoiding their spikes as much as possible. This is a good route for wearing pants. Especially in the spring and summer, I would imagine, when brush and rattlesnakes may be in greater number.

2.8 the cow pasture comes to a close as you approach metate ridge and the gate, sitting safely near a rocky ridge opening up to the first westerly view. Use caution on this ridge as there is rapid looking erosion here due to high winds and falling sandstone ledges. Under one of the 8 foot pines, there is a double metate. I picked a nice clump of pine resin off of clean brown needles to make incense at home but unconsciously left it behind along with a rectangular want to be geode and agate looking rock. I'm envious of miners at times. This could be a good spot for some prospecting, I reckon. And there is nothing but space and time and life up here on Lee Mountain.

Continue up the ridge a hundred yards and pass through an old timber framed door highlighting an opening in a barbed wire fence with no gate to open or close. This next section is wonderfully manicured by nature and an occasional hiker.

3.0 make sure to now gain the steep grade turning momentarily East before sharply north up a steep section
for 100 yards.
3.1 Trail now traverses up this mountainside, WNW.
3.5 Now, the steepest section. Veer more to the North following the way a deer might go up to Lee ridge, Towards the final summit and access to Munds Mtn.
3.6 You've made it to the Saddle I continued toward the summit and turned around at a beautiful ridge side juniper. . From hear I hear it is easy to take it down canyon to the Chapel of the holy cross or along the ridge to Munds. I came down the same way. Use care and gravity while decending.
23 mi • 3,950 ft aeg
Sedona Hike
this is the one i couldn't wait for. modified the Bruce/Joe loop by tagging on some excellent additional trail miles and circling around behind cathedral. there was a big storm front moving in that evening so i knew i was on the clock a little bit for this one.

started off messing around up on the beautiful bell rock. went up the lower chute and decided in the interest of time (ie storm) to call it there, for this trip. i will be back for the top one day. scrambled down and around on courthouse butte. took a minute to figure out the unmarked loop out to the rabbit ears. the way out is a bit of a rocky slog, but once you hit the high point, loop around to magnificent view of the rabbit ears and bring it home on the much more entertaining northern leg, this becomes a much more worthwhile excursion!

scenic traverse on llama and little horse over to chicken point for the next high yield part of the hike. views from chicken point are always wonderful. broken arrow is great, then the absolutely fantastic high on the hog and hog heaven trails. man i love these two trails. completed the loop around the mountains on hog wash, mystic and chapel trails. headed back to 179 then crossed under it on little horse and the surprisingly nice HT trails.

next up was probably my most anticipated part of the day looping over to, up/down, then around cathedral. the templeton trail is underrated in my opinion and the segment from HT to cathedral junction, i found to be lovely. this is when the weather really moved in. i contemplated bailing on going up/down cathedral since i've done it numerous times. instead i decided to just put on my bobby rockets and blast up and down. more templeton awesomeness to the creek, then short but sweet crossover on baldwin to the Hiline trail. Folks, we have another sedona winner with the Hiline Trail. completely awesome trail, with sections remniscent of the hogs/hangover. the weather was pretty crazy at this point so i had to keep it moving, but this was really outstanding. i had earlier notions of adding a few extra miles at the end with looping made in the shade and slim shady, but it was pretty clear it was time to call it a day. and i was getting sick of the wind at this point too. ha

outstanding big day out there, without that many people all things considered. my gps screwed up on me for a while on the little horse and broken arrow trails, so the numbers associated with my gps route are not right (a little too low, especially the elevation). for those interested, the route is good though.
16.75 mi • 3,908 ft aeg
Rocked the Casner & Munds Mountain
Casner Canyon Trail #11
No bridge over Oak Creek, nearby World Class red rock hikes and no selfie destination keep all but the curious adventures out. We didn't pass a single hiker on #11 in either direction. If this hike was in the San Tans, cars would be lined up for miles on nice weekends.

Schnebly Hill Trail #158
Fan for life. The upper end sports pines and killer views.

Munds Mountain Trail #77
Typical experience. Low spirits over the sarin getty stretch are all but forgotten when Bear Wallow blows your mind. Fittingly I've hiked Munds with some of my favorite peeps.

Synopsis
Packs a lot of punch being one of the shorter drives from the valley.

Wildflowers
one nice area of phlox
16.87 mi • 3,895 ft aeg
Casner Canyon with Munds Mountain
We drove the 6 miles in from I-17 on Schnebly Hill Road in to get to our starting point. Unless you are driving a rental car, the last mile would be best in HC 2WD.

We saw frost on the way up, 38 degrees at the start felt great.

Down Casner Canyon Trail #11, it's 2.5 miles to Oak Creek. The trail is in much better condition than I expected. The upper 2/3 yield some pretty nice views on Wilson Mountain and the Mitten Ridge area, but the magic happens the closer you get to Oak Creek. The riparian area and the geology, well... rocks.

If you plan on continuing to the Alens Bend Trail #111, plan on getting wet crossing Oak Creek. We turned around and headed back up.

Back at the Vista Overlook, we took the FR153A to meet up with The Schnebly Hill Trail #158. A nice trail with more good views of Sedona.

Munds Mountain Trail #77, starts with a bit of a climb. We opted to take some use trails to get to the top of this mountain. There are plenty of use trails, as it seems to support quite a few elk. Up top, traveling North to South, follow any of these to the views that you really came for. The views on the Southwest section, are hard to beat. We had some lunch here and then decided to try to and get access to a ridge for some more views.

Views from the SW end of Munds Mountain :next: [ youtube video ]

On the return, we also opted to take some use trails to meet up with the trail again. It worked out, but some would not like the last .1 mile.

Safety First..ish


6.53 mi • 1,136 ft aeg
Snoopy's Belly Loop
We had planned this double (Snoopy and the Airport Loops - apropos since Snoopy was a dog pilot :lol: ) a few months back but the temps were too chilly and we did Bluff Springs Mountain instead. This time Kelly originally had other plans that didn't happen and I was more than glad to do this vs a very early morning city hike.

We started from Munds Wagon/Huckaby TH after paying our permit fee. The trail is pretty nice and gives you instant views as you come in and out of the trees You go over some drainages and before you know it, you're at the Broken Wheel TH. Wasn't quite what I had in mind but oh well. We checked it out and then headed back keeping an eye on HAZel for our off trail point. It took us a couple times but we finally found the correct exit. Don't do this at home; just do the out and back from the east side of Marg's Draw Trail.

We more or less found our way until the Witch took over for a short spell. It took us a bit to sweep her out of the picture and continue our way on this non-trail route altho we would see footsteps from time to time; could have been the Witch's as we would soon be walking thru stickery plants. After about 1/4 mile we thot, this is ridiculous but felt it would be just as brutal to go back to the trail so we kept going as surely this wouldn't last much longer. Needless to say we were grateful when we finally got to a big slap of bedrock with great 360 views. Whew! The route takes you to the southeast end of that bedrock before u-turning back north and closer to the foothills. Now this is more like it!

Oh and we finally remembered we're supposed to be looking for Snoopy's Belly (what it's called on the map but it's really Snoopy Rock I think). As we're heading along here we see a couple people up on a large ledge next to a boulder. We wonder what they're doing up there and how they got there. Soon enough we find a use trail; discuss whether or not to save it for another time and decided this was another time. So up we went and were pleasantly surprised to find a couple switchbacks and some short level parts that would eventually takes us out to that bench ledge where the boulder was. The other people were gone. We don't know how they hiked out from this area as we didn't see them. So there must be another access point.

The UP wasn't quite done yet so after a couple pictures we proceeded on; Kelly running point. Soon enough I hear a little yelp so I figure it must be pretty cool so I'm anxious to get to where she is altho I had to stop for one photo op. As I came to the top of the saddle and looked past the boulders I was pretty impressed but I didn't fully look over the boulders until I got the camera into movie mode so that when I turned, I think I swore at what I saw as it was unexpected :y: . And on top of that, you still had the views to each side of you so needless to say, a worthy destination.

We tried to see if there was a route somewhere around rather than the one we used to get here. I feared the route down would be a bit slippery. Well we couldn't find any other path from here when we were on the other side of the tall red rock formation (Snoopy) as it just dead-ended. So we went down the same way we came up and it wasn't as bad as I thot it would be. Whoever laid this out did a very good job considering the terrain.

Back at the main trail you hit some bedrock again and it eventually runs out so you end up more on a trail. As you get closer to Marg's Draw it's nice to look back at where you were and the rock outcroppings we had seen earlier this morning as now it was past noon as our excursion ended being longer than I thot. HAZel also decided to add two long lines so I ended up doing 11 miles in about 4 hours. I cleaned up the route the best I could. So glad that we decided next time was this time. And of course, we never realized we were at Snoopy's Belly (Snoopy Rock) until I got back and looked at the pictures. We both agreed it's a bit of a reach.

[ youtube video ] Part 1
[ youtube video ] Part 2
[ youtube video ] finally make it to Snoopy's Rock altho we have no idea

Wildflowers
about 6 flowers including 3 itsy poppies.
11.7 mi • 1,900 ft aeg
Snoopy & Airport Loops Sedona
angela found a route posted by @pbaenzig from years ago that made a loop off margs draw trail, going along the south side of the snoopy rock formation
we thought we could combine that loop with airport loop for a decent scenic day in sedona
got going around 0900 just as parking was filling up at munds wagon trailhead
took margs draw to the end, then found our use trail on the way back
this segment was quite overgrown with sticker bushes for a good half mile
we also got off trail crossing a wash, resulting in a blair witch circle :lol:
eventually we came to a nice flat bedrock area, similar to the cow pies trail bench
quick snack break at the east end of it, then headed west along the base of the rock formations
much of the trail was on nice red rock and reminded us of the hangover trail
we saw some guys up on a high bench and then found another use trail that switchbacked up to it
the trail continued to a saddle above that offered fantastic views of chimney rock, thunder mountain and wilson mountain
we dropped down and linked up with margs draw to finish the loop
great views the entire hike
would recommend a simple out and back on the most scenic parts [ gps route ]
can't think of any reason to do the lower leg of the loop
never did see the snoopy resemblance until angela texted me a photo sunday night
took an appetizer break at the olde sedona bar & grill
drove over to airport mesa
no parking below, so paid $3 to park at the overlook, adding a half mile each way to airport loop
this included a nice climb back out at the end :sweat:
went to the overlook points first, then clockwise on the loop
nice views to the southeast of cathedral rock, courthouse butte and bell rock, along with oak creek
angela knew i wanted to hit table top, so she generously waited for me while i did the out and back
the west side isn't as scenic, but we had a good breeze and eventual views of doe, bear, chimney rock, thunder and wilson mountains as we circled back to the start
i had done this hike a few years ago, and enjoyed seeing it again
airport mesa is an interesting high point
we saw a few small planes taking off, some of them pretty close
finished uphill then set off for the valley, making good time without much traffic
always a good day in tibber mode; it had been awhile since our last hike and we both like sedona
thanks for driving, angela
we even hit double digits for the day :)
8.76 mi • 2,041 ft aeg
Since neither one of us had a desire to hike South Mountain again, we opted for Sedona. This lasso loop has great reviews from some veteran Hazers. Cow Pies and Hangover are the highlight of the hike. Fun hiking and outstanding views. We detoured off trail up to what looked like a small ruin but no dice. Excellent day. Thanks JJ. :)
8.76 mi • 2,041 ft aeg
Hadn't hiked with JohnLP in quite some time. We set out this morning to do South Mountain and somehow ended up in Sedona doing the Hangover Trail. Glad we did too because the hike was great and the views were even better. On the way home afterwards we stopped at The Tee Pee down by the ballpark for some Mexican Food. As we were leaving John noticed one of the cars in the lot had a HAZ sticker! :y: What are the odds?
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