Friday, March 6, 2009

A good hike in Sedona, Arizona

It was a beautiful day in Sedona, so we decided a longish hike would be in order. After stopping at the Forest Service visitor center, we learned about quite a few trails and decided on a 5-6 mile loop of interconnecting trails off of Jordan Road near Uptown. (The north end of Sedona is called “uptown”.) We started on Brins Mesa Trail which began with a meandering path on red dirt among beautiful green trees. (We’ve missed green trees being in southern Arizona desert for so long.) Within about a mile or so, the trail begins its ascent and incredible views of the famous Sedona Red Rocks come into sight. The trail remains open so hikers can enjoy this unique landscape, and eventually climbs the mesa where panoramic views of the mesa and red rocks can be enjoyed. (Seems as if there was a fairly recent forest fire here, by the looks of the charred trees.) At this point Brins Mesa Trail can loop back to the trailhead, or you can continue along the mesa for perhaps a mile or so, and pick-up Soldier Pass (which is what we did).
Soldier Pass begins the descent through more Sedona red rock, trees, washes and at this time of year, flowering bushes. This is a shorter trail which connects to the Jordan Trailhead. (Jordan Trail is a moderate 2 mile round trip hike.) Bearing left at the Jordan Trailhead, we continued along the hike which was now less red dirt below our feet, and more of the hard rock we saw from the start of the hike (and what you see in the pictures). Soldier Pass eventually intersects Jordan Trail at a huge sinkhole that seemed to be a popular destination since we saw lots of people there. Jordan Trail then continues along a path with many cairns, eventually taking us back to Brins Mesa Trail where we kept to the left and were back at the trailhead in about one mile.
Overall, this was a good moderate hike and took us 3 ½ hours, of which about 30-40 minutes was spent taking pictures! To do the same hike, you start at the Brins Mesa Trailhead – take Jordan road to the end, through the Jordan Park subdivision and continue on the dirt road to the very end and park. You need to walk back down the road a bit and catch the trailhead on the right (there is a sign).

To park at the trailhead, you’ll need a Red Rock Pass from the Forest Service – the cost is $5/day or $15 for a week. If you have an America the Beautiful Pass, then simply go to one of the forest service stations and show them your pass – they’ll give you a hanging pass for your rearview mirror.

One final note – be sure you have a good trail map – the trails were difficult to follow, signs were not good, and cairns were never there when we needed one.

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