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Friday, April 19, 2013

Hike around an iconic Sedona rock formation

Chimney Rock

Next to Cathedral Rock, Chimney Rock is one of the most iconic sandstone formations in Sedona.  Visible from just about everywhere in downtown Sedona, this singular, russet pillar (actually three clustered spires) stands sentry beneath the cream-colored behemoth of 6355' Thunder Mountain (aka Capitol Butte). Soaring to 4995', this natural sculpture cuts an impressive silhouette because of how it's isolated along a limestone ridge.  However, even with two of Red Rock Country's most recognizable geological formations looming 
Little Sugarloaf
above the trail, it's the "baby sister"---4872' Little Sugarloaf---that gets all the attention on this hike because the route makes a wide loop around the layered cone of this mini-mount.  A wooden "summit" sign marks the start of an optional spur path to the top.  The worthwhile diversion is short but mostly on slick rock, so proceed with care.  From the summit, views stretch all the way to Prescott, Jerome and Flagstaff. 

LENGTH:  2.9 miles
Lower Chimney Rock Loop: 1.5-mile loop
Summit Route: 0.7 mile one-way
RATING: easy-moderate
ELEVATION: 4550' - 4600' or 4870' with summit
FEE: A Red Rock Pass is required.  $5 daily fee.
HOURS: dawn to dusk daily
Butterfly on cliff fendlerbush, April 2013

From Phoenix, travel north on I17 to exit 298for AZ179, Sedona-Oak Creek.  Head west (go left) and continue to the "Y" intersection of AZ179 and AZ89A in Sedona.  Veer west (left) through the traffic circle and continue 3.2 miles on AZ89A to Dry Creek Road.  Turn right and go 0.4 mile to Thunder Mountain Road, turn right and go 0.5 mile to the Thunder Mountain trailhead on the left.
INFO:  City of Sedona

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