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20 triplogs
Jan 10 2010
pbaenzig
avatar

 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Cockscomb Trail - SedonaSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 10 2010
pbaenzig
Hiking3.00 Miles 600 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   1.20 mph
600 ft AEG
 
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Sometime during 2009 the Forest Service built the official Cockscomb Trail starting at the "new" Cockscomb trail head off Aerie Road. It is now easy to follow, a lot easier than the previous ribbon markers. The trail merges with the existing social bike trail and the only trick is to not walk past the turn-off to go up onto Cockscomb proper.

It is now a very pleasant half day or less hike with only a short simple scramble at the very end. The views are incredible.
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Peter B
Jul 25 2008
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Carroll Canyon TrailSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 25 2008
pbaenzig
Hiking3.50 Miles 400 AEG
Hiking3.50 Miles   1 Hour   30 Mns   2.33 mph
400 ft AEG
 
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A short morning hike in Sedona. It starts at the High School (Upper Red Rock Loop Road), near the last traffic light on 89A going towards Cottonwood. At the High School proper starts the Scheurman Mountain trail, on the other side of the road is the beginning of Herkenham Trail. Norm Herkenham, now in his nineties, was instrumental in developing many hikes circumnavigating Sedona.

I hiked down Herkenham Trail until it ended at the marked intersection with Old Post Trail. Even though the trail isn't far from town or from the road, you will be all by yourself as a rule and have great views toward Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Court House Butte. At Old Post Trail, turn left and start climbing up and regaining all the elevation you've just lost on the Herkenham trail. Old Post passes the marked intersection with Carroll Canyon Trail proper, but just continue climbing until you're on top of the rise and near some rather fancy homes. Start looking for a faint use trail which crosses Old Post Trail. Turn left on the use trail towards the fancy house. Once you're close to the home, look for a turn-off to the left. If you find it, use it. If you miss it, no major problem -- both routes lead to the bottom of the little wash on the left. The first turn-off is a bit more comfortable than if you continue going straight.

The use trail continues unambiguously from the bottom of the wash, climbing the other side. Once you're again almost at the top of the climb, you can either continue on the use trail or veer off to the right and start climbing a small hill. After a few hundred feet you'll cross another use trail that leads to the highest point in the Carroll Canyon area and then descends and meanders back to the trail head. You'll see your parked car quite a while before you're back, so there is no danger of getting lost.

The loop takes less than two hours, doesn't require any great skills and makes for a nice short morning or evening walk when you're in the Sedona area. Great views, amazing isolation close in to town and interesting terrain.
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Peter B
Jun 20 2008
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Sterling Pass Trail #46Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 20 2008
pbaenzig
Hiking2.80 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking2.80 Miles   1 Hour   45 Mns   1.60 mph
1,000 ft AEG
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I hiked Sterling Pass for the first time since the fire. Because of the heat (103F at midday), I started around 7 am. Starting even earlier wouldn't have hurt, but since it's a short hike, I was off the trail before it got unbearably hot.

I was amazed at the amount of regrowth in the two years since the Brins fire in June 2006. The ground was covered in green. A fair number of Gambel Oaks survived the fire (I guess at least 30%). The Ponderosa pines had suffered the most with lots of dramatic black trunks reaching into the blue sky.

Lots of flowers everywhere, in spite of the heat. Mostly wall flowers, but many others that I don't recognize.

The views, of course, were better than before the fire. Sterling Pass used to have limited views of the rocks and Oak Creek Canyon because of the dense forest -- Ponderosa at the bottom, Gambel Oak higher up. Now you can really see the thousand foot high cliffs on both sides of the trail. A friend who hiked with me said it reminded him of Zion.

If you haven't hiked this trail since the fire, it's well worth doing. And it's a short enough hike so that you can get the hike done before it gets too hot.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
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Peter B
Nov 29 2007
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Cockscomb Trail - SedonaSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 29 2007
pbaenzig
Hiking4.50 Miles 850 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles   2 Hrs   20 Mns   1.93 mph
850 ft AEG
 
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Late in 2006, if I remember correctly, Boynton Pass Road was improved and paved because of a development called "The Aerie." When the road was improved, new trail heads were put in: Fay Canyon trail head, Doe/Bear Mountain trail head and finally a new trail head designed to access Cockscomb.

This new trail head is past the Doe/Bear Mountain trail head. You turn left (South) when coming from Sedona onto Aerie Road, a new paved road leading to the development. After about half a mile, the road splits -- the left branch leading to the gate of the development and the right branch to the new trail head.

At the far end of the trail head (already trashed, beer bottles everywhere)you can find faint markings of a new trail. A yet non-existent trail that the Forest Service will build when it gets around to it. In the meantime, the route is marked with red paint and fading yellow ribbons. Enough people have hiked the route so that the non-existing trail is relatively easy to follow.

If you do lose the route, not a major problem. The route essentially leads south, following the terrain contours. Your goal, the north end of Cockscomb is always visible. To the left of you is initially the road leading to the Aerie, then the fence circling the property. As you get closer to the Cockscomb, the Forest Service route merges with existing distinct social trails leading to the start of the ascent. The climb up to the top of the mountain is unchanged and I don't know if the Forest Service ever will develop that part of the hike.

If you hike from the new trail head to the top of Cockscomb, it's about 3 miles RT and maybe 600 ft CEC. We extended the hike a bit by making a counter clockwise loop around Cockscomb before going up to the top. The little hill almost due SW from the trail head gives you some great views. The seemingly flat grass land between you and the Cockscomb is anything but flat; it crisscrossed with deep gullies. As you hike around the Cockscomb you'll come across many stretches of social trail, so the hiking is quite easy.

Overall, a pleasant half-day hike even when looping around.

The old description is now obsolete.
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Peter B
Nov 21 2007
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Taylor Cabin Trail #35Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 21 2007
pbaenzig
Hiking5.00 Miles 2,100 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles   6 Hrs      0.83 mph
2,100 ft AEG
 
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We left Sedona around 8am and drove two hours mostly on dirt roads to the trail head. The views were spectacular even at the start: we could look over the Verde Valley and at the same time deep into Sycamore Canyon. The trail descends steeply (but with some switch backs)at the beginning, then levels off a bit as it follows the rocky wash in the side canyon. You pass through several dramatic narrow passages and quite suddenly come to the wide open Sycamore Canyon bottom proper. Cross the wash to pick up the continuation of the trail -- left towards Taylor Cabin, right towards Winter Cabin. The trail crosses the river bed several times and is at times a bit hard to follow. Taylor Cabin is a beautifully maintained stone cabin built (according to inscription in the stone) in 1931. The cabin is very tidy, immaculately clean. Unlike many unattended places, there wasn't any trash.

We had reached the cabin around 1 pm, so we just had a quick snack and started back. We were back up at the trail head shortly after four. On the drive back, it got dark. All forest roads look alike in the dark!

The round trip hiking distance is around ten miles with a CEC of about 2,400 feet. A lot of the hiking is on river rocks. There isn't any water anywhere on the trail. (Taylor cabin had a few plastic containers with water) Long stretches of the trail are shaded, but about half the distance down in the bottom of Sycamore Canyon is in full sun.

We all decided that we wanted to return, but also thought it might be more enjoyable as a two day backpack, with an overnight stay at Taylor Cabin.

The cabin can also be reached from the south via Dogie Trail and Sycamore Basin Trail. Or even longer, from the Parsons Trail trail head via Packard Mesa Trail and Sycamore Basin Trail.
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Peter B
Apr 26 2007
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Packard Trail #66Prescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 26 2007
pbaenzig
Hiking14.00 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking14.00 Miles
1,200 ft AEG
 
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Tom, Linda and I started at the Parsons Spring trail head and followed the Parsons Spring Trail down to the bottom of Sycamore Canyon. Once at the bottom, the Packard Mesa Trail #66 turns off to the left. Unfortunately the sign that used to be there is missing, there's just a pole. But the turn-off is pretty obvious. You cross the round river rocks, making your way to the creek. The actual creek crossing we found is a wet crossing, designed for horses and not for humans. In other words, no stepping stones and knee-deep still water. We used sandals and sticks (Yes, even I use sticks at times!). After crossing, the trail continues for a very short distance along the creek to the left to a sign and the "real" trail starts, going uphill on the right.

The trail is totally obvious until you hit the top of the mesa. Even there it's mostly obvious. However, at times there are paralleling cattle trails. Look for the many cairns/ducks and you can't go wrong. Once you come to Sycamore Tank with the big cottowood and probably lots of cattle, you continue on on trail #66 in the same direction. There are several signs, moderately confusing because the trail is labeled both Packard Mesa Trail and Sycamore Basin Trail #63. Don't worry about it. Keep on going until you come to the fence at the Wilderness border. A jeep track crosses the trail at this point, coming from a place called Henderson Flat. You follow the jeep road to the right until the road ends, again very obvious. Follow the trail going off to the right. It's a fairly clear trail, climbing up towards the first saddle and then towards one of the left buttes to another saddle. That saddle has a spectacular view into Sycamore Canyon. The trail then goes down (steep) a bit and swings to the left. Follow it until you see the ruins above you to the left. These main ruins are a bit like a small Montezuma's Castle, red ruins in good repair (some reconstruction I'm told)nestled in dark lava rock.

There is a smaller ruin on the right side of the trail. We only saw it on the way back.
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Peter B
Jul 14 2006
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Airport Loop TrailSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 14 2006
pbaenzig
Hiking5.20 Miles 300 AEG
Hiking5.20 Miles   2 Hrs      2.60 mph
300 ft AEG
 
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Early this morning I hiked what I call "Airport Loop Plus:" it's the standard Airport Loop with an excursion to Oak Creek added, plus a hike out and back on Table Top Trail. The main Airport Loop trail head is on Airport Road, at the "Vortex" parking area. The loop is easier to find if you're hiking it clockwise; there are sign posts showing you which way to go. Going counterclockwise the beginning is hard to find. You have to go to the uphill end of the parking lot and cross the road in an potentially dangerous curve and climb over a beat-up guard rail.

Anyway, going clockwise is easier. The trail is easy to follow and affords great views of all the iconic rocks of Sedona. After less than half a mile, at 34 51.021N 111 46.909W, you come to the turn-off leading down to Oak Creek. The turn-off is pretty hard to spot; it's initially a rather faint trail. If you come to where the trail is on a caliche covered red rock ledge for a few feet, you've gone a bit too far. You can see the trail leading down just below you.

The little side trail continues in the same direction as the main trail except it tends to go down. After a while it turns left and goes down a bit more steeply. The trail is fairly easy to follow. Only in one spot is there a faint, incorrect side trail going off to the right. The trail lead to what I call Picnic Rock: a picturesque rock at the top of the cliff overlooking Oak Creek with its cottonwoods and sycamores. You can scramble down all the way to Oak Creek and the follow Oak Creek of a ways in both directions, but unfortunately you're ultimately stopped by private property.

Just before you came to Picnic Rock, the trail joined another more distinct trail. This is the trail you use to hike back up to the main Airport Loop trail. The trail is very nicely laid out, steadily gaining elevation without ever being too steep. At the end where the hillside is steep the trail goes through three wide switchbacks before it joins the main trail.

The main trail continues southwest, slowly climbing up onto the Airport Mesa. While walking across the mesa you're passing close by to the end of the runway of the Sedona Airport. Planes at times fly really, really low over your head! Still on the mesa, you'll come to the signed intersection with Table Top Trail, a less than one mile round trip hike out to a great view point. You have an almost 360 degree view of all the sights of Sedona. Two or three social trails connect Table Top Trail with Ridge Trail down in the Carroll Canyon area. But if you're staying on official trails, you have to hike back and continue on with Airport Loop.

Shortly after the Table Top junction Airport Loop leaves the mesa and descends about two thirds down. At the signed junction with Bandit Trail you continue right (northeast). After a good mile or so, you'll be back at the trail head. Be very careful crossing the road!
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Peter B
Jul 12 2006
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Long Canyon Trail #122 - SedonaSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 12 2006
pbaenzig
Hiking6.50 Miles 975 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles
975 ft AEG
 
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Long Canyon Lollipop is a nice variation on the standard Long Canyon hike. Instead of hiking into the canyon as far as you can go and then turn back, you hike to a turn-off and scramble up on a wide ledge. You follow it back and look over the trail you just hiked up. Ultimately, you come back off the ledge and hike back on the main trail.

You start the hike as usual, at the trail head on the left side of the road just after coming around a corner. You hike in past the abomination that is Seven Canyon, smelling the freshly cut golf course grass and listening to the buzz of the mowers and the back-up beeping of construction equipment. At around a mile in you come to the wilderness border and slowly civilization stays behind you. At pretty exactly two miles you come to turn-off number one. Its location is 34 55.691N 111 50.340W. Even knowing the coordinates, you'll be hard pressed to spot it. Currently there are two tiny ducks on both sides of the side trail, about a fifty feet from the main trail, down on the other side of the dry wash. If you find this turn-off and would like to hike the loop part in the other direction, start on the trail, follow it into the tiny gully, scramble over the big dead tree trunk and then don't continue to follow the gully. Start hiking of the slick rock nose. The trail is a bit spotty at times, there are a few minor scramble spots, but as long as you stay on the highest part you're ok. After one of the minor scrambles, you come to a pretty overhanging rock ledge, follow it to the left, scramble some more and you're at the intersection of two trails (34 55.836N 111 50.316W). Go to the left.

But I would recommend that you continue on the main trail for another three-quarter mile. Once you come to a interesting rock formation on the left with a small trail going towards it (it leads to the top of the rock, great views), you're almost at the turn-off you're looking for. It's rather obvious, on the right, "blocked" with branches and debris. You'll see the trail meandering off. The turn-off location is 34 56.007N 111 50.898W. The trail winds its way through the forest, starting to climb a bit almost immediately. The footing is quite slipper from all the Arizona White Oak leaves on the ground. After a short walk, you come to a small cliff and the trail goes on until it comes to a place where you can get up easily. Now you're on top of a ledge. The trail is a bit indistinct here, I generally take the left branch but if I remember right you can also get to the same place going right. The general direction is east. You follow some slick rock on your left, at times you have to walk on it to avoid brush. As you come around a corner, the slick rock starts to develop an overhang. Here there are several alcoves, some with stone work in it. At one spot you see a pile of old rusty hoops and sheet metal; the remnants of some whiskey barrels maybe and a bootlegger's still. The trail continues essentially north, following the drop-off to the side canyon on the right. Gorgeous Ponderosa pines are growing in this shaded canyon.

At the first spot where it is possible, at the head of a pour off, the trail crosses the canyon. If you all of a sudden find yourself battle manzanita brush, you've gone off trail and should back up. The trail is really quite distinct, except there are some sudden turns. And the trail is the only realistic way to get through the dense growth. You're climbing out of the little side canyon onto the slick rock ledge on the other side. The actual spot where you come up is at 34 56.119N 111 50.764W. This is of no great concern to you if you hike in the direction I describe. But if you've decided to hike the other way, the side canyon crossing is hard to spot without the coordinates.

At the start, you have to hike across a lot of slick rock, always generally drifting down a bit to a lower level of ledge. None of the hiking is particularly challenging, but the trail is quite spotty around here. But since you're on a ledge, you really can't go too wrong unless you decide to jump off the ledge. The trail follows the contours of the land, generally heading southeast. After about three-quarter miles you come to the junction mentioned above. I've walked past the junction often; the trail heading up is easy to spot, but the down trail at this point is a small scramble and just looks like a small rock cliff. Once you find this junction, just hike down the nose of the slick rock, look for the dead tree in the small gully at the bottom and follow the trail back to the main trail.

Total length of the hike is about 6.5 miles. I hiked it a few days ago in the morning on a day when the high reach 100. It was comfortable because you're either in shade (at the bottom) or there generally is a bit of breeze on the ledges.
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Peter B
Apr 08 2005
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Mescal MountainSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 08 2005
pbaenzig
Hiking3.50 Miles 530 AEG
Hiking3.50 Miles   1 Hour   45 Mns   2.00 mph
530 ft AEG
 
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The Forest Service has rerouted the initial Long Canyon trail away from the golf course. The trail is much nicer this way. The turn-off to Mescal Mountain has been "renaturalized" by the Forest Service, too; so the turn-off is a bit harder to spot.
Once you've reached the saddle, you can proceed to the summit by going left as described in the hike description.
Or you can turn right and follow the lower part of Mescal Mountain going east. The trail is quite faint at times, but really -- you're hiking on top of a ridge: As long as you follow the ridge and don't jump of the vertical drop-offs, you'll get back on trail. At the end of the ridge, the trail goes off the ridge a bit to the left, then swings to the right at the bottom of the cliff and drops down steeply until it crosses the telephone line maintainance trail. Turn right and in a few steps you'll be on Deadman's Pass Trail, a popular bike trail. Turn right again and you'll joint Long Canyon trail after a few hundred yards. Right one more time on Long Canyon Trail gets you back to the trailhead.
The Forest Service in its wisdom has removed the name signs at the intersection of Deadman's Pass trail and Long Canyon Trail. Go figure.
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Peter B
Aug 21 2004
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Telephone Trail #72 - SedonaSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 21 2004
pbaenzig
Hiking2.60 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking2.60 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
 
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From the top of Telephone Trail, you can connect to Harding Spring Trail (as described in an earlier triplog) or you can connect to Thomas Point Trail, as I'll describe below. Since the upper end of Telephone Trail is not very well marked, I suggest that you hike these connecting hikes at least once starting at Telephone Trail. Once you're familiar with the land, you should be able to find your way in the opposite direction. While not absolutely essential, a compass or a GPS with compass comes in handy.

There are several ways to get from Telephone Trail to Thomas Point Trail. The easiest (and the longest) follows some old logging roads. Following the roads takes you quite a bit inland. You can shorten the hike by cutting across the forest. It's easy cross-country hiking, but you do need a compass. The forest is fairly featureless and you can easily get turned around or at least get off track.

As you arrive at the top of Telephone Trail, where it crosses the edge of the rim, you follow the faint trail heading straight east. The main trail is heading southwest parallel to the rim towards a vista point. The faint trail starts at what used to be a big cairn, now just a pile of rubble. The trail is so faint and so ambiguous that you might as well ignore it and just hike due east. Occasionally you may see small hiker made cairns, but they are small and blend in the rocky terrain. As long as you head east and don't veer to the north (veering a bit to the south is ok), you'll intersect with a Forest Service logging road after about 0.18 miles. If you've been successful in following the cairns, you'll be coming down a slight rocky incline into a flattish dry wash. The cairns continue up on the other side, but if you look to your left, a hundred yards or so, you should see some tree trunks on the ground. If you head for those, you'll intersect with the logging road as it makes a sharp bend and turns north. If you miss the logs and continue following the cairns you'll wind up at the same logging road a bit further south.

Regardless of where you intersect with the logging road, you should turn right (south east) on the road to get to Thomas Point Trail. The rough logging road curves around a bit, but basically heads southeast. The is at least one short stub road branching off, but the main road is obvious. After about half a mile, you come to a major intersection where two logging roads continue to head southeast. You should always take the right branch and first head south for a short bit, then after the second road splits off, go on in a westerly direction. Follow this road for a bit over a mile as it meanders west, southwest and even northwest and it will end at the top of Thomas Point Trail.

If you look at the uploaded GPS track, you'll see that following the logging roads gets you quite a bit inland. You can shorten the hike by about a three-quarter mile by heading straight south at about 111° 43.750'W (UTM 125 4334450). You'll clear the rim easily, you won't have to cross any major gullies and accuracy in navigations isn't essential -- you intersect with the logging road that leads to the Thomas Point Trail.

You can make a loop hike by climbing to the top on Telephone Trail, hiking across the plateau to Thomas Point Trail, descending Thomas Point Trail (much easier, not as steep as Telephone) and finally hike for about half a mile on 89A back to where you left the car. The total loop is just under five miles, for a nice morning or afternoon hike.
_____________________
Peter B
Jul 27 2004
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Loy Canyon Trail #5Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 27 2004
pbaenzig
Hiking10.00 Miles 1,744 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   2.22 mph
1,744 ft AEG
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Today I hiked to the end of Loy Canyon Trail for the first time. I had never climbed out of the canyon before, because the Mangum guide book "Sedona Hikes" warned how strenuous the ascent was. I had always stayed down in the canyon.

As far as I'm concerned, the guide book is WRONG! The climb up the switchbacks to the first view point got you breathing alright, but what great views. And then the long, flat traverse along the canyon side leading you to the end of the canyon -- relaxing, beautiful, and gorgeous views. The final climb to the intersection with Secret Mountain Trail got me breathing again, but nothing really tough.

I found the first two miles of the trail a lot more tiring -- you hike on soft beach sand. The constant slipping in the sand with every step was more unpleasant than the climb later on.

So, in my opinion -- the best part of the Loy Canyon Trail is the final climb!
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Peter B
Jul 17 2004
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Cockscomb Trail - SedonaSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 17 2004
pbaenzig
Hiking5.50 Miles 600 AEG
Hiking5.50 Miles   3 Hrs      1.83 mph
600 ft AEG
 
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The following served as the Hike Summary from 07/24/04 to 11/29/07

The official Cockscomb Trail and the social trail leading to the top of Cockscomb have changed a bit since Joe's original description more than four years ago. I think Joe hiked what I call the back entrance to the Cockscomb Butte, following initially FR 9583. This is also the route outlined in Mangum's book, "Sedona Hikes."

I followed the newly refurbished Cockscomb Trail. Upto two years ago the first mile or so of the trail was torn up by off-road vehicles. The area is now blocked off by heavy rocks and the Forest Service started to renaturalize all the vehicle damage. The trail is easy to follow, heading initially mostly south, then turning to the right (south west) until you get to a really squeaky gate. The distance to the gate is about half a mile. After the gate, you'll soon come to a powerline and underground telephone track. Cockscomb trail follows the straight power line heading southeast, crossing lots of erosion gullies. This is the most ugliest part of the trail, particularly since I think the powerline is a non-functional powerline and really should be removed. The powerline stretch is a bit longer than half a mile.

The Cockscomb Trail leaves the powerline when the marked Dawa trail joins it and starts going in a southwesterly direction. The Dawa Trail leaves the Cockscomb Trail a scant hundred yards further on. The trail continues to work its way around Doe Mountain on the right, crossing some dry washes and climbing over some rolling terrain. The trail is always clear and unambiguous, meandering through the low Juniper - Pinyon scrub. After a while, you'll see cockscomb ahead of you -- not the dramatic sides that gave it its name, but the dull north side. Unless you're a mountain climber, you really want a dull side to make your way to the top. It'll be plenty steep as it is.

This part of the trail is a bit less than a mile long. You'll soon see a rickety fence on your right and the trail veers to the south east. Don't cross the fence; beyond is private property, one of the many enclaves in National Forest land. As of today, the private land has not been developed, but I'm sure it'll be only a matter of a few years before we'll have another golf course and resort. The official Cockscomb trail ends abruptly where there are some Cottonwoods and a sign "Rupp Trail." Rupp Trail keeps on going in the same direction as Cockscomb Trail, but don't follow it.

The private property fence veers off to the right, follow it on the outside, going through a gate in a fence perpendicular to the private property fence. The trail now is a social trail, not an approved Forest Service Trail. I find it a bit hard to follow for the first few yards, but then it becomes well trodden and starts to climb a small incline heading south west. Once on top, the trail turns west, even a bit north west until you encounter the private land fence again. Here things get tricky. For the next couple of hundred yards, there are lots of trails and a Jeep road with the "No Trespassing" gate barring it. Basically follow the fence line until you see a sign "Public Trail," cross the Jeep track, always heading towards Cockscomb. This first part of the social trail, from the end of the Cockscomb Trail, is less than half a mile long.

As you route-find your way, just make sure you're heading about south towards Cockscomb. Don't follow any of the trails going in other directions. Try to remember the lay of the land here; I've had some problems coming back picking up the right trail. You should be picking up the first of many cairns soon. They generally are clear, but at times there seem to be alternate routes. As long as the trail goes up, first moderately, then steeply, you're on the right trail. The trail switch-backs in places, but generally trends up and a bit to the left (east) as you really start climbing.

Once you reach the vertical ledge just below the top, the trail flattens out, following the bottom of the rocks. You'll turn a corner around the rocks and there the trail seems to end: from now on you have to scramble and climb rocks. Nothing difficult, nothing scary, but you will have to use your hands and think about where to place your feet. The climb is in three short sections and the elevation gain is less than fifty feet. The last small ledge has hiker made steps. By the way, I find the climb down easier than the way up.

As you step on the top of the Cockscomb Butte, mark where you came up. From what I understand, there is only one easy way up and down. You do want to remember where that way is. The top isn't particularly large and quite broken up, but it's fun to explore a bit, take a break, and admire the spectacular views in all directions. You're at about the same elevation as the top of Doe Mountain to the north or Mescal Mountain to the north east. The big mountain to the north, behind Doe Mountain, is Bear Mountain.
_____________________
Peter B
Jul 13 2004
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Soldier Pass Trail #66 - SedonaSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 13 2004
pbaenzig
Hiking4.40 Miles 480 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles
480 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
Peter B
Jul 13 2004
pbaenzig
avatar

 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Soldier Pass Trail #66 - SedonaSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 13 2004
pbaenzig
Hiking4.40 Miles 480 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles   2 Hrs      2.20 mph
480 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A few days ago, I hiked the Soldier Pass trail as part of a loop hike and noticed a change at the place where the trail split. The Forest Service in its wisdom closed off with small rocks the trail to the Soldier Pass Arch. They also obliterated the hiker made sign showing which way to go to the Arch (straight ahead) or on the main Soldier Pass trail (left). In its place they put one of their standard carved signs just indicating the main trail.

The actual trail to the arch still exists, but the turn-off is harder to spot unless you're familiar with the trail. Once you get on the slick rock area, they also destroyed the hiker made rock ducks, marking the trail across the slick rock.

Since I was hiking down from the arch (I'd gotten there taking a short cut from the Brins Mesa trail), I only noticed these changes when coming down from the arch.

The turn-off to the arch is where you enter the Wilderness area. There still is a sign, but it doesn't indicate the arch anymore. Just go straight or bear slightly right and you'll get on the arch trail.

Not that the arch is anything great to write home about.
_____________________
Peter B
Apr 15 2004
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Damifino TrailSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2004
pbaenzig
Hiking2.30 Miles 600 AEG
Hiking2.30 Miles   4 Hrs      0.58 mph
600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Just hiked the full 9.5 mile loop, starting at Grasshopper Point, continuing on Huckaby Trail, Munds Wagon Trail, Mitten Ridge Saddle Trail, Damifino Trail and Allens Bend Trail back to Grasshopper Point. Total time was a bit over four hours, moving consistently by not rushing at all.

There were some changes on the Mitten Ridge Saddle Trail: many trail branches were intentionally blocked off with branches and rocks. Somebody spent a fair amount of effort on making sure that you hike on slick rock ledges whereever possible. The idea, I guess, is to minimize erosion and damage to the flora.

The final climb up to the saddle just next to the slick rock is blocked off for most of the way. You'll have to scramble up the slick rock. Only the last stretch bypassing a vertical ledge is still open.
_____________________
Peter B
Aug 16 2003
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Mescal MountainSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 16 2003
pbaenzig
Hiking3.00 Miles 530 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   1.20 mph
530 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Geology
Geology
Schnebly Hill Formation
_____________________
Peter B
Aug 11 2003
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Telephone Trail #72 - SedonaSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 11 2003
pbaenzig
Hiking4.60 Miles 1,000 AEG
Hiking4.60 Miles
1,000 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I rehiked Telephone Trail #72 a few days ago. I still think it's probably the most interesting trail among the four upper Oak Creek Canyon east side trails. But like all the other trails, it's a rather short trail. So I decided to look for a connecting route to either Harding Spring Trail to the north or Thomas Point Trail to the south. I'm glad to report that I found one. It isn't as well marked or as heavily used as HC Trail, the trail connecting Harding Spring with Cookstove.

As I arrived at the top of Telephone Trail, where it crosses the edge of the rim, I decided to follow the faint trail heading straight east. The main trail is heading southwest parallel to the rim towards a vista point. The faint trail starts at the big cairn, but as I found out as I tried following the trail, it is very faint. There are hiker made cairns, but they are small and the terrain is littered with rocks. As it turned out, it's not a major problem if you lose the trail. As long as you head east and don't veer to the north, you'll intersect with a Forest Service logging road after about 0.18 miles. If you've been successful in following the cairns, you'll be coming down a slight rocky incline to a forested flat low spot. The cairns continue up on the other side, but if you look to your left, a hundred yards or so, you should see some tree trunks on the ground. If you head for those, you'll intersect with the logging road as it makes a sharp bend and turns north, northeast and then east. If you miss the logs and continue following the cairns you'll wind up at the same logging road a bit further back.

Regardless of where you intersect with the logging road, you should turn left on the road. Follow the logging road as it meanders ultimately in a northeast direction. After maybe 0.15 miles the road ends. The trail continues down into a little wash. The trail is fairly clear here, with numerous cairns. You're in a pleasant pine forest. Once you're near the usually dry creek, the trail turns north and slowly works its way up the opposite slope in a northwest direction. In a short while you will come to another logging road. The total distance from where you joined the first road to where you intersect the second road is 0.25 miles.

Again, turn left on the logging road. The road first heads in a northwesterly direction, but then turns northeast. After about 0.2 miles start looking carefully on the left side for a cairn and a very, very faint trail leading down into another shallow gully. If you come to the end of the road, you've missed the turn-off and you'll have to backtrack a hundred yards or so. The trail leads down to the wash where a number of tree trunks lie on the ground and block the trail. Work your way around the rotting logs and look for the faint trail heading up the other side of the wash in a northwesterly direction. The trail becomes clearer after a while. You're walking variously in forest or on open lands, roughly paralleling the rim. As you approach Harding Spring Trail after about 0.5 miles, the trail becomes faint again in open rocky terrain. As long a you keep on going in the same direction, you should intersect with the part of Harding Spring Trail going to the vista point or if you've drifted too far to the north, with HC Trail. If you've managed to stay on trail, you should join Harding Spring trail where there is an unmarked post and where HC trail branches off to the northeast.

I've uploaded a map of the connecting route along with some additional pictures of under the Telephone Trail #72 heading. The map also shows the GPS coordinates of the "trailhead" at the Telephone Trail and the corresponding spot at the Harding Trail.

The walk of slightly more than a mile is mostly in pleasant forest. I have never seen anybody else in the two times that I've hiked Telephone Trail and the connecting route. Of course, I was hiking in the heat of August -- early in the morning to escape the worst of the heat. I generally made it down to my car by 11 am, so I never found the heat unbearable.
_____________________
Peter B
Aug 06 2003
pbaenzig
avatar

 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Telephone Trail #72, AZ 
Telephone Trail #72, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 06 2003
pbaenzig
Hiking1.30 Miles
Hiking1.30 Miles   1 Hour   45 Mns   0.74 mph
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Telephone Trail #72 is a short, steep and very beautiful trail in the upper Oak Creek Canyon leading to the East Rim. It's a trail for hikers, not for wimps or flip-flop walkers, but the views more than offset the roughness of the trail.

There are four similar trails climbing up to the East Rim within a few miles from each other. The southernmost trail is Thomas Point trail, starting at the Call O'The Canyon parking area ($7 fee!), which is also the trailhead for the much more famous West Fork Trail. Going north in sequence are Telephone Trail #72 (.55 miles from Call O'The Canyon), Harding Spring Trail (1.2 miles from Call O'The Canyon and opposite Cave Spring Campground ) and finally, just before the switch-backs, Cookstove Trail ( 2.35 miles from Call O'The Canyon and opposite Pine Flat Campground). All four trails are around a mile long and gain about 900 feet in elevation. In my opinion, Telephone Trail #72 is the most interesting trail of the four albeit the most demanding, followed by Thomas Point Trail, Harding Spring Trail and finally, Cookstove Trail (which I call a 900 foot staircase with 6 landings).

You get to Telephone Trail #72 by walking a few hundred feet on the right side of 89A (harrowing) after you've parked your car on the wide shoulder at the foot a cliff. You'll find the typical heavy, rusty iron sign to you right. Initially the trail is very faint in the pine needles; it roughly parallels the road. It's leading through an open Ponderosa pine forest with some spectacular specimens, both live and dead. The trail becomes more obivous, but also much steeper and rougher as you start climbing the side of a ridge jutting out from the Rim. The trail leads through gorgeous white Coconino sandstone cliffs, with Alligator Junipers and Ponderosa Pines. As you gain height you'll have great views south, down Oak Creek Canyon and across towards West Fork.

Once you reach the first high point of the ridge, the hiking becomes easier -- for a while. In fact the sandstone is flat enough to give the impression of a primitive road. (It's not a road though, it just looks like it). You're now following the ridge, enjoying great views in all directions. You're partially in the sun, but there are plenty of trees to provide some shade on a hot day. You're going to be following this ridge all the way to the top, just dropping down in a few spots where the ridge top becomes impassable. The trail is easy to follow, well marked with hiker made cairns, but is fairly treacherous at times.

While hiking on the flat area of the ridge, you'll come to the "Peep Holes," windows in a reef of white sandstone. This little feature alone is worth the entire hike.

After the Peep Holes, the trail gets rougher again. It still mostly follows the ridge, but it's getting quite steep. And after a while, the ridge merges in the generally very steep mountainside and you're scrambling up a steep forest floor. It's not so steep that you must use your hands, but it requires care when placing your feet. When you're coming back down, you'd find walking sticks very helpful (I didn't bring mine and walked down VERY slowly). A short distance further and you're on top of the Rim, marked by a larger than normal cairn. If you turn right, following the Rim, you come to a good view point in less than .1 miles. You have views up and down Oak Creek Canyon and all the way to the San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff.

From the large cairn, there is a faint trail going east. It might conceivably connect with one of the two adjoining trails (Thomas Point or Harding Spring trails). I didn't have a map with me, so I decided to leave this investigation for another day.

It took me about 1 1/4 hours to get to the top, with a fair number of stops for catching my breath and picture taking. The GPS measured the trail as being 1.3 miles long, one way, and showed an elevation gain of just short of 1000 feet. Time down was a bit more than half an hour, moving right along.

The parking area for this hike is on 89A, 10.9 miles north from the Sedona "Y", the intersection of highways 179 and 89A. From the "Y" you drive north, towards uptown Sedona and Flagstaff.
_____________________
Peter B
Jul 01 2003
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Brins Mesa Trail #119Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 01 2003
pbaenzig
Hiking3.00 Miles 600 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles   2 Hrs   20 Mns   1.29 mph
600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The July/August issue of the freebie "Sedona Monthly" featured a hike to the "Lost Canyon." The photos showed gorgeous red rock along with cool indian ruins. While the article didn't indicate it, the trail is not an "official" Forest Service trail. The article described the trail as starting about 200 feet from the Brins Mesa (West) trail parking area.

This morning, around 6 am I drove my little VW cabrio down the very bumpy Forest Road 152, Vultee Arch Road. A good two miles after leaving the paved Dry Creek Road I arrived at the parking area. I decided, if I didn't find the Lost Canyon Trail, I'd just hike the Brins Mesa trail across to the Jordan Road trail head where my wife could pick me up and shuttle me back to my car.

About 200 feet from the parking area, I found an obvious trail veering off to the right. The junction wasn't marked in any way, but the trail showed clear signs of frequent use. The trail went in a south-easterly direction, through low brush. It started out pretty level, but after crossing a dry wash, the trail started climbing and meandering a bit. After a third of a mile, the trail became very steep. No fancy switch backs for this trail; it just went straight up a pretty steep hillside towards a mesa at the foot of a red rock cliff. alltogether the climb wasn't more than about 300 feet, but it certainly seemed more.

The trail started crossing the little juniper and manzanita covered mesa, working its way closer to the shaded cliff rising into the morning sky. Quite abruptly, you're there: your on the northeast ledge leading into Lost Canyon. To your left rise vertical red rock cliffs for several hundred feet, to your right is a drop off of a couple of hundred feet into the canyon bottom. You can look up to the head of this very short canyon and also across to the southwest side with its matching ledge and cliff.

The trail now is level, often on slick rock and often quite close to the precipice. Objectively no danger, but I do have a deeply seated fear of heights -- so I continued walking on the hill side of the trail. About halfway to the head of the canyon ledge, you can see the first indian ruin under a huge overhang. It's easy to scramble up there and the view is spectacular, but be very gentle with the ruins, they're in pretty bad shape.

Continuing the hike towards the head of the canyon, you constantly have new vistas. As you get to the head, all of a sudden you see some more ruins, under an overhang below you on the opposite side of the canyon. Unless you're a mountain climber, those ruins aren't accessible from this trail. I guess you could bushwhack and scramble your way up to them on the bottom of the canyon.

The trail continues on the ledge on the other side of the canyon, leading out of it and around a whitish cliff into the next canyon -- the Devil's Bridge canyon. You can hike on this trail for at least another mile, always on a high ledge above the canyon bottom. I turned around after a while, because many passages were just too close to a drop-off for my comfort. If I hadn't been hiking alone, I probably would have continued. The trail really looked easy and interesting.

On the way back, many views had changed very much, because the sun now was higher in the sky. Early morning in summer is comfortable for hiking, but it isn't ideal for photography. Both ruins were in deep shadow. Ideally, I think an afternoon hike in fall or spring might be the best time to photograph the scenery.

I found this a very rewarding 3.3 mile round trip hike, full of spectacular views. I was back at the parking area around 9am.
_____________________
Peter B
Jun 30 2003
pbaenzig
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 Guides 9
 Routes 28
 Photos 211
 Triplogs 20

83 male
 Joined Mar 10 2002
 Sedona, AZ
Long Canyon Trail #122 - SedonaSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 30 2003
pbaenzig
Hiking6.50 Miles 975 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles   2 Hrs   50 Mns   2.29 mph
975 ft AEG
 
no photosets
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I started the hike early in the morning, before 7am, trying to avoid the heat of this hot summer day. Long Canyon trail #122 promised to be in a canyon and therefore I assumed in the shade. So I started hiking, but was a bit suspicious because no canyon was in sight anywhere. The land was flat, manzanita covered. The trail was wide, more like a promenade or an old road than a hiking trail. And of course so far no shade anywhere. That wasn't too bad because it still was early.

I kept on hiking on this plain, with mountains about as far away as they ever are in the Sedona area. After a while I heard motorized equipment at work and the promenade came upon a golf course being mowed. The trail followed the golf course for a bit, but soon we were back in the manzanitas until, with the next meander, I caught sight of the golf course one more time. You could actually smell the course before you saw it: it was watering time and the huge shoots of water on the grass filled the desert air with fresh rain smell.

I had hiked almost a mile so far. While the trail had progressed from a six-abreast promenade to a four-abreast path, I was still crossing a fairly flat area, climbing very slightly. The cliffs had come a bit closer, but calling it a canyon would be a wild exaggeration. I was wondering if it was called Long Canyon because it took so long to get to the canyon. At least it looked as if I'd ultimately get to a canyon, unlike the other Long Canyon trail in the Sedona area (#63, east of I-17) where you never get to a canyon.

Deadman Pass trail peeled off to the left and with it went all the bike tracks. A sign promised the wilderness boundary in a quarter mile. There I found a sign in sheet (nobody had signed in for the last three days -- too hot I guess) and had a last chance to admire this inappropriate golf course.

At about the one and a half mile point, the real canyon began. Arizona Cypress became more common and grew larger, with colorful trunks. For quite a while I was hiking on what seemed fine beach sand, often deep enough to remind of of hiking on dunes in Michigan. From what I understand, the sandstone here in Sedona was originally beach sand, so when it decomposes it goes back to what it started out as. The cypress forest really was quite lovely, with some very large specimens here and there. Even some shade.

The canyon grew closer and closer, the red rock and white cliffs rose higher and higher. The first large Alligator Bark Cypress was followed a bit later by the first Ponderosa Pine. As the canyon grew narrower (and more shaded and cooler), the trees grew bigger. The path continued to climb comfortably, now at times with some rocks among the sand and dust. Cardinal flowers were still blooming in this cool secluded spot, even though they were long gone most everywhere else in Sedona. Even though there wasn't any water in the creek bed, the vegetation looked lusher, almost rain forest like. (BTW, don't hike this trail when the water is high, you're crossing the creek a lot)

I was hiking through one of the most beautiful mixed forests I'd ever had hiked in, on a comfortable trail, in the cool shade, in perfect solitude. Almost perfect. Almost, except for the gnats. What Montezumaswell calls knats (killer gnats?) and I call mozzies. As soon as you stopped, they were all over you. And I'm normally ignored by flying insects, but not here.

At about the 3.2 mile mark, the trail came to a cliff. While it's possible to scramble up the cliff and go a bit further, I decided against it, since I was by myself and I hadn't seen anybody else on the entire hike.

On the way back, going down, I realized how much height I had gained: the trail was so smooth (except for the last quarter mile or so) that I hadn't realized that I was climbing steadily. from 4500 feet at the trail head to 5300 feet when I stopped. The views were different when hiking back, still mostly in the shade, still nice and cool. The cliffs glowed in the morning sunlight through the dense foliage of the pines and the oaks.

Shortly before the wilderness boundary I came back out in the sun. Ok, it was warm, the sun hot even though it only was 9 am. But somehow that long boring slog in through the manzanita and along the golf course (still watering) was much shorter going back.

Overall a great hike: the truly spectacular second half more than outweighs the boring beginning. As in many canyon hikes in the Sedona area (Boynton, Jack's and lower Woods Canyon come to mind), you first have to hike across a fairly boring flat plain, skirt developments or both before you get to where you really want to be.
_____________________
Peter B
average hiking speed 1.66 mph

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