|Red Rock views on the Aerie Trail|
For hikers stepping out on Sedona's rusty soils for the first time, best bet trails to try include Boynton Canyon, Bear Mountain and Fay Canyon. Until recently these crazy-popular routes were isolated from each other, but now the Aerie Trail tethers the trifecta of Upper Dry Creek Area trailheads to it's own roomy parking area. This new access point off Boynton Pass Road provides respite from the boot-clad masses and access to dozens of trails. The 5.2-mile Aerie-Cockscomb loop takes off from this portal swooping around Doe Mountain and the distinctive silhouette of the Cockscomb rock formation. As with any Red Rock County hike, views long this gently undulating trail are picture-postcard quality and an optional slog up the connecting Doe Mountain spur path offers a panoramic spectacle of color saturated mesas and buttes for those willing to tag on another 1.2 miles to the trek.
|Doe Mountain seen from Cockscomb Trail|
From the Aerie trailhead, begin on Cockscomb Trail. Hike past the Rupp and Dawa junctions and turn left at the Aerie Trail sign at the 3.3 mile point. From here, hike 1.2 miles to the Doe Mountain junction. This 0.7-mile spur trail climbs 460 feet to the summit of a long mesa and is well worth a detour or you can skip the climb and continue 0.7 mile back to the trailhead. All routes are signed.
|Bear Mountain view from Doe Mountain Trail|
LENGTH: 5.2-mile loop (6.6 with Doe Mountain spur)
ELEVATION: 4250' – 4660' (5120' with summit spur)
|Cliff Fendlerbush blooms March -June on Doe Mountain|
From the State Route 179/89A traffic circle in Sedona, head 3.2 miles west (left toward Cottonwood) on SR89A to Dry Creek Road. Turn right and go 2.9 miles to Boynton Pass Road (FR152C), make a left and continue 1.5 miles to a “T” junction and veer left to stay on FR152C. Continue 1.4 miles to Aerie Road, turn left and go 0.4 mile to the turn off for the trailhead on the right.
Red Rock Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, 928-203-2900