Just want to thank everyone on this board for all the help you gave me when preparing for our trip to Sedona. We had a wonderful trip and with all the great advise we were able to do hikes that we really enjoyed and were at our fitness level. We are planning to return when the weather is cooler. This trip was in combination with a business trip so we didn't have a choice in the timing.
We flew southwest airlines to Phoenix on Saturday Aug. 11, 2012 and arrived about 2PM. We rented a jeep liberty at the airport. First we had to stop at an In and Out Hamburger for lunch. We arrived in Sedona about 6PM, drove up Airport road and checked in at Sky Ranch Lodge. What a beautiful view from up there. Sky Ranch has a lovely patio overlooking Sedona. The rooms are very nice but a little worn. We were in room 217 which was a garden view. It was late for us since the time difference was 3 hours so we went to Safeway for a snack before turning in for the night.
Sunday we were up early and went back to Safeway to get breakfast and picnic supplies. We bought a Styrofoam cooler, sliced ham, bread, chips, fruit, case of water and cookies. Since the weather is so hot we decided to do our hiking in the morning. On our first hike we went to the Little Horse Trail. The trail is just under 2 miles one way and not too much elevation. The trail has some shade and ends at Chicken Point. When we got to Chicken Point there was a Pink Jeep tour there with people all over but after a few minutes they left and we had the place to ourselves. The views were beautiful and we were able to take some very nice pictures. The hike took us 2 hours but we spent a lot of time taking pictures.
We next headed to the Ranger Station in the Village Oak Creek. We got some maps and advise and drove to V-V to see the petro glyphs. It’s a short hike from the visitor’s center to the wall where the petro glyphs were drawn. There was a guide there to explain the calendar the Indians set up. We then had lunch in the car as it was too hot outside. We passed a local swimming hole on the way to V-V and because it was the weekend it was very crowded. We next headed to Montezuma’s Well National Monument. It was hot but it wasn’t a long walk up to the overlook. We also walked down into the sink hole where the Sinagua Indians built cliff dwellings. We continued to circle back to Sedona through Page Springs where we stopped at the fish hatchery. We ate dinner at Pedros and went for a stroll in downtown Sedona.
Monday morning we went up Schnebly Drive. We were going to hike to the Cow Pies but we missed the trail head. The road was very rough and slow going. We did a small climb to the Merry go round for some great views. We also stopped at the view point. After the view point the road levels out a lot so the last few miles were easy. We continued to I-17 and drove to 89A and came back through Oak Creek Canyon. We stopped at the view point and bought some jewelry from the native craftsmen. Since we didn’t get to hike to the Cow Pies we decided to hike the West Fork Trail. It is $9 to park which really seems like a rip off since there are only vault toilets and no water. The hike was OK but a bit disappointing after all the great reviews. There were too many dogs not on leashes. We did enjoy the river crossings and the rock formations. Before dinner we stopped at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. We ate at Red Rock BBQ and really enjoyed it. After dinner we drove to Verde Valley School Rd and hiked the Baldwin trail to Red Rock Crossing just before sunset. I think we found it but we weren’t sure. We got some great pictures where ever we were.
Tuesday morning we got up early again and drove to Devil’s Bridge. We were only able to drive about ¼ mile down the dirt road before we had to park and walk the rest of the way. The walk seemed longer than we thought but there were other people also trying to find the trail head. We finally found it and had a great hike. The last part is very steep and I was worried about getting down but it was fine. I did manage to go out on the bridge after much persuasion by my husband. It is much wider than it looks. It was really starting to get hot so we headed back to the car and were glad we had an early start. We then drove to Cottenwood and stopped at Tutsgoot National Monument. It is not a long walk to the Indian ruins and they are very impressive. You are able to climb all the way to the top. From there we drove to Jerome which is an old mining town built on the side of a mountain. We continued to the top of Mingus Mountain which is a really beautiful drive. At the top there are views all the way back to Sedona. We also saw where the hang gliders take off. On the way back to Sedona we drove the Red Rock scenic road. This was our last night in Sedona and we finally got to see a sunset. There were also some hummingbirds out on the patio at the feeder.
Wednesday morning we decided to do one more hike so we drove to Doe Mesa and hiked up to the top. We spent a bit of time on the top wandering around. It was a bit hazy but still beautiful. The sun was just up so we couldn’t really take pictures to the east. That’s the price you pay to hike when it’s cooler. After the hike we went back to Sky Ranch and checked out. We headed up Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff and Walnut Canyon National Monument. We very much enjoyed Walnut Canyon. There are so many cliff dwellings and you actually get to go into several. It is a bit of a walk to get down to the “island” but so worth it. We then headed to Sunset Crater National Monument and took the lava walk. We were amazed at the lava piled up all over. By this time it was starting to get late so we drove to our hotel in Flagstaff. We stayed at the Highland Country Inn which was near to old town Flagstaff. It was a nice clean hotel for a good price.
Thursday we went to the River Lava Cave a little north of Flagstaff. This lava cave is out in the national forest down dirt roads. This lava tube is in its natural state so it was quite a challenge to climb down into it. We walked about ½ mile into the cave before we turned around. It is about ¾ mile long. The cave is between 35-45 degrees so we had long pants and light jackets. We each had a head lamp and an extra flash light. We had never been in a lava cave before so this was a fun experience for us. We headed south on the dirt road and it brought us to I-40 west of Flagstaff. The next few days we spent in Las Vegas.
Just a few tips. We started out early each day and tried to start hiking by 7:30. We bought a case of water and had an ice chest in the car so we could have plenty of cold water on hand. I found the hikes to be a bit more difficult than their rating. We are experienced hikers and usually an easy trail would be fine to do in flip flops, not that I would ever hike in flip flops, but these trails really require hiking shoes or sneakers with very good traction. We also found we really needed more water than we took on the hike. We were always out when we returned from the hike but we had plenty in the car.