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Bear Sign #59 - 11 members in 15 triplogs have rated this an average 4.2 ( 1 to 5 best )
15 triplogs
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Apr 10 2021
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 Guides 18
 Routes 71
 Photos 466
 Triplogs 50

65 male
 Joined Dec 26 2018
 Phoenix, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Backpack avatar Apr 10 2021
GrangerGuyTriplogs 50
Backpack19.30 Miles 2,179 AEG
Backpack19.30 Miles1 Day   3 Hrs      
2,179 ft AEG27 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
I have had my eye on this area for some time, well before I started my little project to hike and photograph all the designated wilderness areas in Arizona. I am trying to hit these areas in season, not to hot, not too cold, and early April was a great time for this hike. I saw that a guide was needed for Bear Sign Canyon, as well so I added that into this trip.

I debated at length, should I drive to the trailhead, or leave the Cherokee at the end of the pavement. There were so many frightening comments about FR 152, I decided to walk it. It turns out, at least as of this writing, if you can negotiate the rock berm at the end of the pavement, the rest of the road will not give you trouble. Just take it slow. But, who knew? I saw many and varied 4x4s on the road, all the way to the end.

However, I think the Lord wanted me to walk FR152. A couple miles in, I was passed by two hikers while I was taking some pictures, and then I caught up with them a little later. Turns out, they were headed for the Devil's Bridge trail, and had walked right past it. I set them straight and they headed back. Coming out, I ran into a young couple who had no idea where they were, or even how they got there. I invited them to walk back with me to my car, and I would drive them to wherever they had parked. This offer was accepted.

This year in April, there was plenty of water along this route. However, not all water is at the indicated places on the water charts. Sometimes it is significantly up or downstream.

Dry Creek Trail and Bear Sign Trail are positively lovely! A great mix of red rock and various trees. This was my first exposure to the Arizona Cypress. I thought it was a juniper, but the cones got my attention. Same family, different genus. I found Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, Maple, Oak, and something I would swear was salal, but it really doesn't belong here.

On the Bear Sign / David Miller part of this hike, I was surprised to see a couple with their dog. Did not expect to see anyone. They hiked all the way up Bear Sign #59 to the formal end of the trail and continued on. The David Miller Trail is pretty steep on both sides. The soles of my boots are getting worn, so it wasn't that fun.

Once down to the Secret Canyon Trail #121, I saw several backpacking parties. I headed up the canyon to its narrows and a little beyond, before I decided I had had enough. I camped on a nice flat area not far from water.

I finished out the trip on Secret Canyon Trail. That is one of the nicest, easiest to walk trails I have been on recently. At times it felt like walking on a carpet.
Jul 04 2020
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 Routes 22
 Photos 416
 Triplogs 67

39 male
 Joined Apr 18 2009
 Anthem, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 04 2020
LostTriplogs 67
Hiking6.82 Miles 991 AEG
Hiking6.82 Miles   3 Hrs   11 Mns   2.20 mph
991 ft AEG      5 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Started from the Vultee Arch trailhead shortly before 6am to beat the holiday rush and the forecast high approaching 100 degrees. I wish I had found this loop a long time ago! You get a little bit of everything on this hike: wide open red rock views on the Secret Canyon side, and a cool forest walk on the Bear Sign side. Did not see a single person on the hike, just the way I like it.

Secret Canyon trail is in great shape and very easy to follow. The southern turnoff for HS Canyon is signed, but the trail looked faint at best. I completely missed the northern HS canyon junction and have no idea if it's actually there; just like everyone else it looks like. David Miller west of the pass is a little brushy and faint in areas, east of the pass it's better and looks like there's been some very recent trail maintenance. Bear Sign and Dry Creek are in good condition as well.

It was nice to be back in this area: the Vultee Arch trail was the first "real" trail I hiked in Arizona nearly 20 years ago, and probably what spurred my love of hiking. Then the road turned into what it is today, and there's no way my old 1996 Saturn could make it down here now. High clearance is definitely required, preferably with a short wheelbase. 2WD could probably be done with careful driving and a dry road, but I was definitely a lot more comfortable with 4WD low.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light


dry H S Canyon Dry Dry

dry Secret Canyon Dry Dry
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Nov 23 2019
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 Guides 7
 Routes 160
 Photos 701
 Triplogs 199

39 male
 Joined Nov 30 2015
 Phoenix, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Run/Jog avatar Nov 23 2019
ShatteredArmTriplogs 199
Run/Jog13.28 Miles 1,711 AEG
Run/Jog13.28 Miles   3 Hrs   59 Mns   3.33 mph
1,711 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Made the decision yesterday to head up to Sedona today. Originally I thought of doing Wilson Mountain, but then decided it might be fun to take the Jeep out for a spin... So decided on some combination of Dry Creek, Bear Sign, and whatever else I felt like doing.

Started out with the Dry Creek out-and-back. Despite the rain a few days ago, Dry Creek was mostly dry. Like a lot of the other canyons in the area, a couple miles in, you're treated with nice mature Ponderosa Pine forest. It actually got quite chilly in this section, and despite the nice verdant forest, I had a hostile encounter with a shindagger. No gushing or anything, but a subtle reminder that I should probably start bringing a first aid kit on these sorts of trips.

After 3+ miles, the trail was still going, but I wasn't really sure if this was still the official route. Decided to head back down to Bear Sign.

From the Dry Creek junction to David Miller, Bear Sign is much better maintained and less scratchy than Dry Creek. I found this trail to be more enjoyable overall (although there were so many leaves on the ground in Dry Creek, it may be worth checking out a month or so earlier in the year...). After the David Miller junction, the trail gets a lot harder to follow, and I quickly lost it, along with my interest in continuing up the canyon.

The first quarter mile or so of David Miller was the only steep section of the day, and the saddle granted a nice view to the north and to the south. The original plan was to take a detour through HS canyon, but I wasn't sure where the trail was (my maps indicate that it forms a loop, but who knows if that's accurate). Might be easier to try from the south end.

Was a good day. Once past the Devil's Bridge circus, there was lots of solitude, and I managed to go 12+ miles on a Saturday in Sedona without seeing another human. Chalk that up as a win!
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1 archive
Apr 30 2018
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 Guides 93
 Routes 389
 Photos 4,131
 Triplogs 3,390

47 male
 Joined Jun 20 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 30 2018
fricknaleyTriplogs 3,390
Hiking15.92 Miles 2,073 AEG
Hiking15.92 Miles   6 Hrs   15 Mns   2.62 mph
2,073 ft AEG      10 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
a very much needed mental getaway. always wanted to do the bear sign/secret loop but wanted some extra miles so i started from the jordan trailhead and used brins mesa (thanks for the idea @hikerdw)

brins mesa is always a pleasant trail, imo, and especially coming back down late in the day with the sweet views. predictably saw nobody after the soldier pass cutoff.

quick walk along dry creek road and trail

bear sign is pretty awesome, especially up canyon with some pretty big trees, shade and occasional neat views. poison ivy is ready and raring to go. hated to see it end so soon

david miller...holy smokes. who knew? talk about short and sweet. really great views from the saddle, especially if you climb up the little high point. the wind this day, and especially on the highpoint was :o

secret canyon kind of goes by fast, but held it's charm from what i remembered (last hiked it probably 13 years ago).

the whole way back was very smooth, quiet and pretty relaxing really. i think i saw maybe 4-5 people on brins mesa coming back?. nobody at all on dry creek or the loop. coming down the end of brins mesa late afternoon/early evening is a treat.
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hi
1 archive
Feb 17 2018
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 Guides 84
 Routes 695
 Photos 17,531
 Triplogs 1,704

49 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Backpack avatar Feb 17 2018
chumleyTriplogs 1,704
Backpack18.37 Miles 2,902 AEG
Backpack18.37 Miles2 Days         
2,902 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners partners
John9L
Tough_Boots
We played pedestrian pinball on the way to the trailhead. If it was up to me, the FS should dynamite the bridge and return this place to some level of normalcy. The road condition has deteriorated significantly since last I drove it, and I'm guessing it is probably very much on purpose. It was nice to crawl it in 4-low, and we stopped to help a kid get his jeep back on the road after leaving it dangling off the side of a steep ravine overnight.

Dry Creek :next: Bear Sign :next: David Miller :next: Secret Canyon made a nice alternate on the way up, but we returned on the direct path on Secret Canyon only.

Plenty of water in all the canyons and side drainages, but little to no flow anywhere. It was a little chilly with all the wet ground, but despite ice on some of the pools, it did not drop below freezing overnight.

We went upstream about a mile and a half beyond the end of the trail, and there are a few really picturesque spots. Sometime I'd like to try the entire length of this canyon from up near Hidden Cabin. Who wants to shuttle!? :lol:

The poison ivy hadn't leafed out yet, so we pretended it wasn't there. :pray: :oops:

If you're looking to hook up with an instagram model, I recommend hiking Dry Creek Road on a weekend.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Bear Sign Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout No flow but plenty of clear pools in bedrock

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Secret Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
Plenty of pools the entire length of canyon, probably from recent rains. Trickles in most side canyons
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two scoops!
2 archives
Feb 17 2018
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 Routes 67
 Photos 2,708
 Triplogs 755

17 male
 Joined Mar 28 2008
 Phoenix, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Backpack avatar Feb 17 2018
Tough_BootsTriplogs 755
Backpack14.00 Miles 1,957 AEG
Backpack14.00 Miles2 Days         
1,957 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
chumley
John9L
Nice easy backpacking trip though a little cold and damp. I'd do this again though maybe in a different season.
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Nov 25 2017
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 Routes 98
 Photos 6,093
 Triplogs 1,148

54 male
 Joined Apr 25 2011
 Goodyear, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 25 2017
NightstalkerTriplogs 1,148
Hiking7.70 Miles 131 AEG
Hiking7.70 Miles   4 Hrs   15 Mns   2.41 mph
131 ft AEG   1 Hour   3 Mns Break13 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Yolanda, Carey, and Maria joined me for a ride up to Sedona to do the Bear Sign / Secret Canyon Loop. The dirt road in was worse than I remember from last year when I drove up to Brins Mesa Trailhead. We parked at Secret Canyon and then hiked up the road to Dry Creek / Bear Sign Trailhead to start the loop in a counter clockwise direction. Tall trees lined the canyons up to the saddle of David Miller trail. We explored north from the saddle to find a nice panoramic view above the thick manzanita and a fire ring. Returning on Secret Canyon Trail there were few trees, mostly manzanita. Great loop!
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Light
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Aug 23 2017
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 Guides 260
 Routes 841
 Photos 13,090
 Triplogs 5,291

52 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 23 2017
joebartelsTriplogs 5,291
Hiking6.65 Miles 1,047 AEG
Hiking6.65 Miles   3 Hrs   7 Mns   2.25 mph
1,047 ft AEG      10 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 
no photosets
1st trip
Partners partners
JuanJaimeiii
After getting in a longer easy tread hike last Sat I wanted something less mental blah. This was the first hike of the day. If I felt okay we could tag on Devil's Bridge afterwards to fit in with the hip social tourists.

FR 152 was the shock of the day. Once upon a time I scraped a Ford Escort down it, that would be difficult now with a tow truck. Apparently when they made the berm at the start years ago they stopped all maintenance and the jeep tour$ rejoiced. 4wd and good clearance now or 4wd and pray. There are some good sized steps now.

Tread of the loop was easier than anticipated. On the bright side the scenery was stellar throughout. More shade from pines than anticipated. Lots of Arizona Cypress on Bear Sign, which is my favorite tree.

Last Saturday I was suffering energywise. I've lost quite a bit of weight since the accident and obviously don't have the reserves of the good ol' days. Nobody loves eating more than this cowboy. Since it turned into an olympic sport taking 3-4 times longer to chew I eat a lot less. Granted this wasn't a big hike but it was killing me early on last time. So I ate breakfast, which is not something I ever do. It made a world of difference. Just one ten minute break was plenty and only because I can't multitask yet.

I haven't seen much scenery since starting back hiking as I have to concentrate on the footing constantly. This loop is so scenic it screams at you even with your head down. This little loop exceeded my expectations, the road is not for everybody.
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- joe
Aug 23 2017
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 Routes 577
 Photos 8,597
 Triplogs 1,940

55 male
 Joined Jan 30 2011
 Chandler, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 23 2017
JuanJaimeiiiTriplogs 1,940
Hiking6.65 Miles 1,047 AEG
Hiking6.65 Miles   3 Hrs   7 Mns   2.25 mph
1,047 ft AEG      10 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
joebartels
First hike of the day and it was an enjoyable one. I was telling Joe I don't know why I don't get to Sedona more often. The views are always spectacular in every direction and this trail certainly didn't disappoint.

Joe had originally thrown out doing Humphrey's today however weather concerns put us here. It was just as well but I felt bad driving down 152 and watching Joe bounce around. The road is really rough now. I rarely if ever drive under 10 mph but today had me minding my manners. :lol:
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May 02 2014
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 Routes 165
 Photos 2,907
 Triplogs 514

63 male
 Joined Aug 16 2009
 Mesa,AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar May 02 2014
hikerdwTriplogs 514
Hiking15.90 Miles 2,071 AEG
Hiking15.90 Miles   6 Hrs   40 Mns   2.77 mph
2,071 ft AEG      55 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Did a lollipop loop hike starting from the Jordan Road Trailhead. Hiked Brins Mesa, 152c, then the official Bear Sign / Secret Loop, returning back the same way. Bear Sign Canyon and the short David Miller Trails were the highlight IMO. Lots of flying insects the entire hike but it is that time of the year for them. Afterwards we had pizza at the Sedona Pizza Company and then stopped in at Oak Creek Brewery for a cold one.
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Expect to self rescue
Sep 23 2012
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 Guides 4
 Photos 2,750
 Triplogs 400

57 male
 Joined Nov 13 2005
 Cave Creek, AZ
Bear Sign #59Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 23 2012
cabelTriplogs 400
Hiking6.00 Miles 600 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   2.40 mph
600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Great trail. Easy and all to myself. Beautiful forest and views of the red rocks.
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All who wander are not lost...just me.
Aug 12 2012
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 Guides 11
 Routes 88
 Photos 2,645
 Triplogs 242

90 male
 Joined May 16 2005
 Scottsdale, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 12 2012
Al_HikesAZTriplogs 242
Hiking6.80 Miles 2,015 AEG
Hiking6.80 Miles   2 Hrs   45 Mns   2.47 mph
2,015 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Nice little hike. Added this on after hiking Vultee Arch. Left my truck at the Vultee TH and did this hike clockwise to get the road out of the way first. That Davey Miller mile really kicks the cardio. Steep switchbacks going up and coming down. Nice views from the top of the David Miller trail. Dry Creek Road 152 was a lot rougher than I remembered. Taking it fast will definitely knock a few fillings loose. Wildflowers - Some penstemon, geraniums, white composites, and yellow composites.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
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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
2 archives
May 24 2012
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 Guides 6
 Routes 174
 Photos 5,442
 Triplogs 1,640

male
 Joined Mar 12 2004
 Scottsdale, AZ
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Backpack avatar May 24 2012
John9LTriplogs 1,640
Backpack6.75 Miles 1,027 AEG
Backpack6.75 Miles2 Days         
1,027 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I started my Memorial Day weekend a little early and headed up to Sedona for a night. My plan was to do a short backpack and then hike a variety of trails. I picked this loop because I wanted to camp at the Secret-David Miller trail junction. I remember there being a campsite there from a Secret trip last year. It is a short and easy two mile hike that I knew I could do in the dark.

After hiking Devil's Bridge, I arrived at the Secret trailhead around 7:30pm. I spent the next few minutes packing up all my gear and then headed in. There was still light in the sky as I made the hike in. It quickly got darker as I progressed. After a mile or so I turned on my headlamp and continued. It was a lot different hiking in the dark. Especially from being solo.

Before long I arrived at the David Miller junction and started making my camp. There was a fire ring at the site but unfortunately the entire state is under fire restrictions. Luckily I brought two sets of LED lights. I set them up and started setting up my tent. The lights made a big difference! After everything was setup, I sat down and enjoyed a couple of millers I brought along. :D

I woke the next morning and noticed all the red rock around me. This is a beautiful spot! I spent a few minutes relaxing and then packed up my gear. I was ready to start my day.

The David Miller trail heads up hill to a saddle. I made steady progress and had to remind myself to stop so I could enjoy the views. They only got better as I made my way uphill. I arrived at the pass and then the trail immediately heads down hill. In a few minutes you arrive at the Bear Sign trail. I headed right.

The Bear Sign is a nice trail. You follow along side of a wash and cross it a few times. It was easy going heading through a forested area. I noticed numerous patches of poison ivy along the hike. I went to great lengths to avoid it. After an hour or so I was back on Dry Creek Rd which I followed back to my jeep at the Secret Trailhead.

This was a nice backpack. Once back at my jeep, I got loaded up and then headed back the way I came to the Vultee Arch trail. That was next on the list.
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Nov 05 2011
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 Guides 9
 Routes 818
 Photos 10,980
 Triplogs 1,941

66 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 05 2011
The_EagleTriplogs 1,941
Hiking8.30 Miles 1,200 AEG
Hiking8.30 Miles   3 Hrs   50 Mns   3.32 mph
1,200 ft AEG   1 Hour   20 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Scrapped one hike with forecast highs of 32 and snow, for another with 47 for a high and snow.

The hardest part of this hike was the road in. On normal days, High clearance is all that's needed. The snow had stopped well before the hike started, but the wet slick mud meant I'd have to change things up a bit. I decided not to chance it anymore, and parked on 152, about 2/3's of a mile from the Secret Canyon TH, 3 miles from the pavement.

I Started at the Wet Creek Trail and did a Counter clockwise loop on:
Dry Creek Trail > Bear Sign Canyon Trail > David Miller Trail > Secret Canyon Trail.

This entire trek was gorgeous, with the smattering of snow on the red peaks. The hike down Bear Sign Canyon proved to be a bit interesting, with melting snow bombarding you as you walked under the over taxed limbs.

This is a relatively easy hike, with the only real elevation gain on the David Miller Trail. The views from the saddle at the apex of this trail are breathtaking. I ate some lunch close to the top here, on a dry spot in the sun, and soaked in the views.

If you can make the trip on FR152, I recommend this loop!
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
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There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry 🦅
Dec 13 2008
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 Guides 8
 Routes 12
 Photos 1,317
 Triplogs 491

57 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Jackson, CA
Bear Sign / Secret LoopSedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 13 2008
toddakTriplogs 491
Hiking15.00 Miles 622 AEG
Hiking15.00 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   2.31 mph
622 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Outstanding loop hike (I went clockwise from the Secret Canyon TH), with numerous fine side trails to explore. Of these, Secret Canyon is the most popular, but HS Canyon is also very nice. I especially enjoyed continuing up-canyon on the Bear Sign trail after the intersection with the David Miller Trail - narrow, in lovely forest. Went up the Dry Creek Trail a ways - OK but not especially interesting. And of course its worth the trip over to see Vultee Arch. Will have to return in the Spring when the many creeks are running.
Geology
Geology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ] Coconino Sandstone
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average hiking speed 2.41 mph

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.

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