Hike in Sedona to Deadmans Pass Trail

Hike in Sedona to Deadmans Pass Trail

Deadman’s Pass is a splendid, easy hiking trail that provides excellent views as you pass between Boynton and Mescal Mountain. This trail also serves as an excellent “connector” trail between Boynton Canyon, Long Canyon and Mescal Trail. While most will begin the trail at the Boynton Canyon Road trailhead, there is an option of parking on Long Canyon Road and taking either the Long Canyon Trail to Deadman’s Pass or my preference is taking Mescal Trail to Deadman’s Pass. During the busy times of the year it can be difficult to find parking at Boynton since that trailhead is parking for multiple trails.

Deadman’s Pass Trail is a 2.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

The route is fairly flat from the Boynton Canyon trailhead and climbs gradually past the intersection with Mescal. The trail is wider and mostly sand with some rocky and short climbs before it descends to Long Canyon Trail.



Sedona Hiking Cowpies Trail

Sedona Hiking Cowpies Trail

Cow Pies Trail is one of the oldest hiking trails in the Sedona Red Rock Country used by early settlers (late 1800’s and 1900’s) to transport produce and livestock to market in Flagstaff. The trail drops down into Bear Wallow Canyon and traverses the creek several times. You will find that the creek is often dry throughout the summer months but springs to life with numerous waterfalls during summer monsoons and late spring snow melts off the Mogollon Rim.

As you make your way up 2/3 of the canyon you will come upon Cow Pies Trail. Cow Pies is considered a major vortex site in the area and gives you the impression that you have just landed on Mars. Continue along the ridge into the Mitten Ridge Saddle for spectacular views of Oak Creek Canyon and Midgley Bridge.

Cow Pies and Hangover Loop Trail is a 8.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

The trailhead is across the road from the parking area. You’ll pass through an area of small black rocks, which are pieces of lava. Sometimes you’ll find these rocks placed in the shape of a medicine wheel. You’ll make a left turn to go to the cow pies. If you go straight, you’ll be hiking the Hangver Trail. As you continue to the left, you’ll hike up on the “cow pies” which are very large circular red rock formations. There isn’t a defined trail so you’ll be free to explore the “cowpies.” Some believe this area has an abundance of vortex energy.


Sedona Hike to Palatki Heritage Site

Sedona Hike to Palatki Heritage Site

Palatki is one of the two largest cliff dwelling sites in the Red Rock Country belonging to the Sinagua. The Sinaguaare thought to be connected to the Hopi Indian Tribe who took advantage of the south facing cliffs when they built their shelters. (In the summer they a shaded for the sun overhead and in the winter are warmed by the sun low on the horizon) While there is much evidence of the Sinagua civilization (pottery, pictographs, farming) from 1150-1300 A.D., there is also evidence (abstract drawings and symbols) from Archaic cultures dating back 3000-6000 years earlier.

Palatki Heritage Site is a 0.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

Palatki Heritage Site is located in Red Rock Country and is protected by the U.S. Forest Service. This site offers GUIDED TOURS of cliff dwellings left behind by the Sinagua Culture as well as magnificent petroglyphs and pictographs. Visitors will be accompanied on site by trained volunteer tour guides.

Visitors are strongly encouraged to call ahead to make reservations. Due to site limitations, entrance can not guaranteed without a reservation.The number for reservations is: 928-282-3854. Palatki Heritage Site hours are as follows: 9:30AM-3:00PM, every day of the week. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are the only regularly scheduled closing days. Admission is by: Red Rock Pass, National Park Pass, or Golden Age Pass.

Since the roads to Palatki are unpaved, extreme weather might dictate closing of the site. Visitors would be wise to be aware of the weather conditions and if doubtful, to call ahead and confirm.

Sedona Hiking Soldiers Pass Trail

Sedona Hiking Soldiers Pass Trail

Soldiers Pass Trail is a moderate trail that offers a back country feel yet is almost located in the middle of town. Sandwiched between Brins Ridge and Capitol Butte (a.k.a. Thunder Mountain), this trail offers everything you would expect from a great trail. The trail rolls through a number of arroyos, past the area’s largest sinkhole (Devils Kitchen), along the “Seven Sacred Pools,” then up 509 feet atop Brins Mesa. The highlight of the trail (according to my children) is the impressive sinkhole which was reported as a major collapse event in the 1880’s (retold by Albert E. Thompson in 1968) and then a secondary event in 1989 increased the size of the sinkhole by 1/3 (large block on the northern wall).

Soldier Pass Trail is a 4.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

There are two trailheads that you can use to get there. Both are accessed by 89A. To get to the closest trailhead to Soldier Pass trail is by turning North on Soldier Pass Road to its conclusion. At the other trailhead you will need to take Jordan Road to its end, then hike either Jordan trail or Brins Mesa to get to Soldiers Pass. Both trailheads require a Red Rocks Pass. There are machines to buy a pass at both places.

This very short trail is maintained by Red Rock Jeep Tours in conjunction with the Coconino National Forest, and you can expect to meet some of the tour jeeps along the trail as well as private vehicles. The trail does not go all the way to Soldier Pass but stops a short distance before it. It is suitable for high-clearance 4WD vehicles, because it is rough and sandy for most of the way. The main trail is rated a 4 for difficulty, but the short spur to the Devils Kitchen sinkhole rates a 5 because of the rough slickrock and short, steep sections. Special Attractions: Devils Kitchen—a natural sinkhole; Popular, short rugged trail used by 4WD tour companies; Natural rock tanks of Seven Sacred Ponds. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions.



Sedona Hiking Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock Trail

Sedona Hiking Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock Trail

Courthouse Butte Loop Trail is a great moderate hike for the whole family. Do not let the “carnival” at Bell Rock discourage you from doing this trail. While many come to “play” on Bell Rock, they are truly missing the best part of the area. The real gem of this area is in doing the entire loop. You will have a choice on the southern side of Courthouse of doing the Courthouse Loop or taking the Big Park Loop (preferred). As you loop around the eastern and northern side of this great butte, you will unlock the most scenic, tranquil and upclose views of the trail. As you come around the northern side of Courthouse, do not miss the cluster of Ocotillo just below the smaller butte that my daughter affectionately calls “Pancake Rock.”

The Hike around Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte is an enjoyable easy to moderate 4.5 mile hike with some rock stair stepping.

There are two parking lots which you can use to hike this trail. One is South of Bell Rock, next to Oak Creek Village, the other is just north of Bell Rock (towards Sedona). (Bell Rock is shown on the right) Be sure to use the Kiosk to obtain a day use park permit.

Courthouse Butte Loop: To get to this wonderful trail, take the wide Bell Rock Pathway from the kiosk toward Bell Rock. It climbs gently and at ½ mile there is a signed intersection with the Courthouse Butte Loop Trail. Continue ahead on the wide trail (this description is for taking the loop clockwise). The trail continues a gentle climb circling to the left of Bell Rock. It levels out at 1 mile and curves to the right below the slopes of Bell Rock. Follow the large cairns to the 1½ mile point where the wide Pathway turns north (left) and a sign shows the Courthouse Butte Loop Trail branching to the right. Go right. This narrower trail passes to the left of Courthouse Butte heading toward Lee Mountain. At 2¼ miles, the trail passes to the right of a prominent dome-shaped outcrop, and then gradually descends, entering Wilderness. It enters a dry wash at 3 miles, circles to the right over bare rock and climbs out onto level ground as it leaves the Wilderness area and continues to circle Courthouse Butte. Approaching Bell Rock, the trail meets the pathway once again at 3¾ miles. Go left, retracing the entry route for ½ mile to return to the kiosk. The loop is mostly unshaded and can be hot in summer.


Sedona Hiking Fay Canyon Trail

Sedona Hiking Fay Canyon Trail

Fay Canyon is a great trail for the whole family. Unlike many trails that require you to go “down, across and up” numerous arroyos (dry creeks), Fay Canyon is actually relatively flat. It is one of those trails that starts out good and keeps getter better that further you make your way back into this box canyon. The high red rock cliff walls coupled with the large oak and juniper trees make this a great trail year-round.

Fay Canyon is a favorite hike for many who prefer a shorter hike with minimal elevation gain or who enjoy the grandeur of red sandstone walls towering overhead. Some people visit Fay Canyon to see the natural arch located just under a half mile up the trail. Those who don’t know about it usually walk right past. Though the Fay Canyon Arch is by no means small, it looks so much like an ordinary rock overhang, it’s easy to glance right at it and not realize what you’ve seen. If you keep watching the rock wall to the north (right) side of the trail sooner or later you’ll spot it.

This small, hidden canyon supports a diverse community of desert plants and provides good views of the surrounding cliffs. It dead ends at a red Supai sandstone cliff. Throughout Fay Canyon you can marvel at the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you.


Hiking in Sedona at Boynton Canyon Trail

Hiking in Sedona at Boynton Canyon Trail

Boynton Canyon Trail is a stunning hike through a picturesque canyon that moves you through a varied landscape. Make no mistake the real gem of this trail is found in the final 1/3 of the hike as you enter a high forest with large pines, oaks and even alligator junipers. The first 2/3 of the trail are really just a “means to the end” as you make your way through low growth scrub forest and along the east side of Enchantment Resort. As you hike this trail you will notice a stark contrast in temperatures as you leave the low growth, open red rocks in the first 2/3 and enter “the forest” and rise in elevation. The trail ends in grand fashion as it rises up and crescendos onto a quasi-plateau above tree tops.

Boynton Canyon Trail is a 6.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Boynton Canyon is one of the popular trails in Sedona. If you like red rocks this would be one of the perfect hikes. Great views!

The trail is great for hiking and normally takes a half day.

One of the “votex” points in Sedona, Boynton Canyon is popular for both locals and visitors.

Boynton Canyon is one of the most scenic of the box canyons that make Arizona Red Rock Country so famous. This particular trail enjoys the additional advantage of being conveniently accessible to nearby towns on well paved roads. As you might suspect, that is both good and bad news for those who choose to come here. The good news is you don’t have to bounce down a dusty jeep track to get to the trailhead. The bad news is you may have more company than you hoped for when you arrive.

Boynton Canyon always has been popular for its outstanding scenery. Lately it has become even more so, since it developed a reputation as a site of a spiritual energy vortex. Whether or not you follow this belief, you’ll no doubt agree the beauty found among these towering buttes, crimson cliffs, and natural desert gardens is divine.

The trail starts out by skirting a luxury resort that was recently built here. It quickly returns to the canyon floor where the walking is pleasant and easy. As you hike, take note of the variety of plants that live in this rather harsh environment, and keep an eye out for the area’s plentiful wildlife which includes everything from colorful songbirds to bristling, shy whitetail deer.


The Best Jerky in Sedona

The Best Jerky in Sedona

Buck Thornton’s World of Jerky

THE COWBOY and the BEAUTY QUEEN: In 2003 Buck and Kitty (AKA Gary and Sheri) opened Buck Thornton’s World of Jerky in Sedona, Arizona after falling in love with the town and being tourists there themselves for many years. Buck, “The Cowboy” an outdoorsman began making Jerky as a kid growing up in the Sierras in California. He began making jerky to take along with him on hikes and camping trips. Jerky was his preferred choice over instant oatmeal – NOT Buck’s favorite! Kitty, more a City Girl is the former “Beauty Queen” part of the duo, having been selected as one of seven girls out of over 66,000 nationwide to participate in the “1968 Miss Teenage America” Pageant. Later, in 1970 she won the title “Miss Nevada Universe” where she was also selected as Second Runner-Up to “Miss USA ” that year. Kitty knew nothing about Jerky when she first met Buck on the 91 Freeway in California 1986. So, Buck introduced her to “The World of Jerky” and all its goodness.

Today, The World of Jerky truly is a world of many Jerkies offering Buck’s Award-Winning Beef Jerky to the Game Jerkies that they first started out with, to the much more Exotic Jerkies they now offer along with other tasty food treats. Kitty and Buck invite you to visit their store when in Sedona located in Uptown in the Matterhorn Shoppes to sample all their many styles and flavors of Jerkies. Of course, if you can’t make it in, you can always do this, and order online.

Located at 333 AZ-89A, Sedona, AZ 86336

Explore the Sedona Arts Center in Sedona

Explore the Sedona Arts Center in Sedona

Sedona Arts Center is one of Northern Arizona’s most well-established cultural organizations and serves as the creative heart of Sedona. Founded in 1958, the nonprofit organization is based in Uptown, Sedona and offers year-round classes, exhibitions, festivals, and cultural events that enhance the creative life of the Verde Valley. The Center’s Fine Art Gallery, open daily from 10am to 5pm, promotes the original works of over 100 local artists and regularly offers special assistance for collectors and art buyers, offers private studio visits, and fosters hundreds of arts education opportunities each year.

The School of the Arts at the Sedona Arts Center offers: Workshops, Ongoing Classes and Field Expeditions to (other) special locations. Workshops bring artists from all over the country to teach specialized techniques in a wide range of mediums and styles. Ongoing Classes are taught by locals in a variety of formats from a one-day experience to 6-week ceramic courses.

The Sedona Arts Center is located at 15 Art Barn Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336

West Fork Trail Hike in Sedona

West Fork Trail Hike in Sedona

West Fork Trail in scenic Oak Creek Canyon is possibly the number one Sedona hiking trail in popularity, and certainly her most famous. During most days out of the year, the only fork flowing into Oak Creek is a gentle stream meandering beneath towering ponderosa pine and Douglas fir, and steep red rock and cream colored sandstone canyon walls. The forest is a cooling respite during the heat of summer, a calming wonderland of wildflowers, birds, and butterflies during the spring, and of course, a spectacular pageant of autumnal colors in the fall.

West Fork Trailhead

Approximately 11 miles from Uptown, the West Fork Trail parking lot is on the left. There’s a Call of the Canyon sign post evoking memories of Zane Grey’s famous western of the same name and the time of a different era. Grey is said to have written the novel in one of the historic cabins that eventually evolved into the Mayhew Oak Creek Lodge and the 1923 movie was filmed here.

This is a special fee location that is not part of the Red Rock Pass program and parking is limited, an unfortunate circumstance for many would-be visitors. It’s advisable to plan your trip early or late in the day, and weekdays are better than weekends, especially during the prime months in spring and fall.

There’s a brief walk, part of it paved, to and across the bridge spanning Oak Creek. Not too many years back, the hike began with a scramble down and up the creek’s embankment, and the “new bridge” is a nice enhancement that increases accessibility. After crossing the bridge, a dirt path follows a small, historic orchard of fruit trees, and an introduction to the canyon’s magnificent red rock and sandstone façade.

About a quarter of a mile in are the ruins of what was once Mayhew’s Oak Creek Lodge, known for its celebrity, good food, and generous hospitality. Very little remains: a few crumbling walls and the old fireplace. The chicken coop remains standing, though in a state of disrepair. Above it is a niche in the cliff wall that was used for cold storage; the historic lodge for many years of operation had no plumbing or electricity. (Clark Gable is said to have been especially fond of the place.)

Just past the ruins, the West Fork Trail begins at the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness sign post and sign-in box. The trail veers to the right as the canyon walls narrow and the scent of pine wafts on the cool mountain breeze. Unlike the upper desert climate found in Sedona and the Verde Valley, Oak Creek Canyon is a wonderous forest, dense with pine and fir.

Creek Crossings On The West Fork Trail

The trail is three miles one way and the first of 13 creek crossings is straight ahead. There’s little elevation change as the trail crosses the gentle turns in the water’s course, in places undercutting the cliffs into stunning grottos and shifting into wide green pools of water. There’s plenty of opportunity to find a ledge or boulder close to the water to enjoy a picnic and contemplate the simple, yet spectacular beauty of Mother Nature.

The wild flowers bring birds, bees, and butterflies, all seasonal visitors to the canyon, and much appreciated by human visitors bringing with them these special interests. High water during flooding season brings with it drift wood mosaics, downed trees, and other debris, somehow fitting into the perfection of a forest hike almost any day of the year. Some guides caution against hiking during winter months when icy conditions may exist, but this hike is accessible most days out of the year and beautiful throughout each season.

Rocks have been positioned across the creek at the wider crossings. Stepping stones can be slippery and loose. The 13 creek crossings deter some area hikers but the beautiful forest setting and riparian habitat is well worth the effort.

The return trip allows time to notice some of the trail’s features other than its spectacular scenery and awesome foliage; in particular the birding opportunities that abound in this rich, riparian environment. People come from all over the world to hike the West Fork Trail just to see the painted redstarts in this locale.