Find A Trail. Start Your Search Here:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Next "Wag & Walk" dog adoption hike is January 4, 2014!

Usery Mountain Regional Park
"Oreo" participated in the December hike

Take a hike with a pack of adoptable dogs from Maricopa County Animal Care’s Mesa shelter on Saturday January 4, 2014 starting at 9:00 a.m.. In addition to being exceptionally cute and sweet, “Wag & Walk” hiker dogs are already spayed or neutered and available to go home on the spot, usually at greatly reduced adoption fees.  Even if you’re not looking for a new fur baby, hiking with a group of tail-wagging dogs who are ecstatic about getting out of their kennels for some much needed exercise makes for a memorable morning in the desert. Also, everybody who adopts one (or more) of the hiker dogs will be eligible to win free county park passes!  PLEASE JOIN US.  NO REGISTRATION---JUST SHOW UP.

"Bugle" was adopted!!

LENGTH: Merkle Trail: 1-mile loop
RATING: easy, barrier-free
FEE: $6 park entry fee per vehicle
FACILITIES: picnic tables, restrooms, water,
GETTING THERE: Usery Mountain Regional Park,
3939 N. Usery Pass Rd., Mesa AZ 85207
From Phoenx, travel east on US60 to the Ellsworth Road exit.  Go north on Ellsworth to the park entrance. HIKE MEETS AT "AREA 6" TRAILHEAD PARKING.

INFO: Maricopa County Parks & Recreation, 480-984-0032

Monday, December 16, 2013


Oak Creek-Sedona

Beware of the double diamond trail rating.  That's mountain bike speak for extremely difficult, and Sedona's new Hiline Trail is most  worthy of this designation. Initially created by the biking community, the trail has been recently stabilized and absorbed into the forest service system.  Renowned for its edgy-ledgey exposure, slick rock and technical chutes, it's not a trail for novice hikers or those who fear heights. The narrow, serpentine route clings to the vertical face of a north-south running butte serving up a carousel of terrific views including  Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and the mountains surrounding Jerome and Prescott Valley.
At the 1.5-mile point, the trail meets "the Pedestal" a remarkable sandstone outcrop with dizzying vistas and abysmal drop offs.  Beyond the Pedestal, the route becomes even more dodgy, traversing loose rock, tight turns and precariously close-to-the-edge segments on its way to connect with Baldwin Trail where numerous loop options and (safer) return routes can be planned.

LENGTH: 3.2 miles 1-way
RATING: difficult
ELEVATION: 4086' - 4646'
FEE: a Red Rock Pass ($5 daily) is required
FACILITIES: map kiosk, interpretive signs, pass vending machine
From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to the Sedona-Oak creek exit 298 SR179.  Head west on SR179 and continue to the Back O' Beyond traffic circle near milepost 310. Swing around the circle and go 1.4 miles  south on SR179 to the Yavapai Point trailhead on the right. To reach Hiline Trail, hike less than a mile south on the Shady Slim trail to the signed junction.


Oak Creek-Sedona
View from Yavapai Vista Trail

Once just a pullout along SR 179, Yavapai Vista has evolved into a buffed-and-polished hiking destination. The site's time-honored interpretive signs describing notable Red Rock Country landforms are now augmented with a meticulously groomed system of short, interconnected exploratory trails. These seven routes, wiggling among slick rock  and pockets of Arizona cypress, offer a quieter alternative to the busy Bell Rock system of trails across the highway. Finding your way around is super simple. Trail maps at each junction make it nearly impossible to get lost, and white dots mark the way where the trails get sketchy on the sandstone mounds.  The path's short lengths are ideal for a quick road trip leg stretch or drama-free treks with kids. For those who prefer longer, more challenging hikes, the system also connects with forest service trails in the Catherdal Rock area.

Slim Shady Trail

LENGTH: 4.7 miles total
Basalt: 0.1
Coconino: 0.3
Hermit: 0.3
Kaibab: 0.1
Made in the Shade: 1.0
Slim Shady: 2.5
Yavapai Vista: 0.3
RATING: easy-moderate
ELEVATION: 4200' - 4400'
FEE: a Red Rock Pass is required. 
FACILITIES: benches, pass vending machine, map kiosks
From Phoenix, take I-17 north to the Sedona-Oak Creek exit 298 for SR179.  Head west on SR179 and continue to the Back O' Beyond traffic circle near milepost 310. Drive around the circle and go 1.4 miles south on 179 to the Yavapai Point trailhead on the right. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Oak Creek-Sedona
Approach to Chicken Point

You'll want to save your camera batteries for the last quarter-mile of this hike. That's because the final uphill scramble over slick rock lands hikers on Chicken Point--one of Sedona’s most photographed sites. From this rust-red perch, "fly-over" perspectives of Sedona's iconic Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte rival those seen from helicopter tours.  Located between busy SR179 and Munds Mountain Wilderness, this hike straddles the spheres of "been there" and "out there". In addition to views of the keynote landmarks, the Little Horse trail's soft substrate and simple route ambles among high desert vegetation on its climb to the scenic overlook where the trail connects with Broken Arrow and Chapel Trails as well as a popular Jeep tour road.
Photo moments on Chicken Point

LENGTH: 2.2 miles one way (include access path)
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 4280' - 4570'
FEE: a Red Rock Pass is required. There's a self-serve kiosk at the trailhead. Daily option is $5.
FACILITIES: restroom, map board
From Phoenix, travel north on I17 to the Sedona-Oak Creek/SR179 exit 298.  Head west (left) on SR179 and continue to the Little Horse trailhead at milepost 308.9.

INFO: Red Rock Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, 928-203-2900

Chapel of the Holy Cross as seen from Little Horse Trail