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Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Summit of Schuerman Mountain
An old dandy standing tall above a hub of new trails in west Sedona, Schuerman Mountain Trail is the gold standard of the bunch. With the opening last year of the Scorpion-Skywalker- Pyramid loops, this moderate trek up an extinct volcanic mound pads it resume with birds-eye views of its newborn siblings and a chance to glimpse Sedona and Verde Valley landmarks from an easy-to-conquer mountain summit. The first section the trail follows an array of solar panels on the edge of Sedona Red Rock High School then passes a junction for the Scorpion trail before turning upward along a thin, cypress shaded path pecked from the mountain’s east slope.
A dusting of snow in December
On the way up, look for the dominate sandstone dome of Capitol Butte and the flat, pine-coated crown of Wilson Mountain.  At the 0.3-mile point, veer left at a signed junction for the vista spur and make the 0.3-mile hike up a boulder cluttered ridge that culminates at a promontory hovering above the distant profiles of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. On the near horizon, the isolated plateau of Airport Mesa hosts a continual stream of planes coming and going overhead. To the west, Mingus and Woodchute Mountains rise to over 7,000 feet at the edge of the Verde Valley. Once done gawking at the landscape, descend to the junction and jog left to continue 1.7 miles through high desert grasslands and pockets of juniper to where the route intersects the Lime Kiln Trail that connects Dead Horse Ranch and Red Rock State Parks. From this point, there’s no real option to make a day hike loop unless you’re happy to walk on roads or have parked a car at one of the parks. That’s why many hikers approach this trail as an out-an-back trek.
Capitol Butte on the horizon
LENGTH: 2.6 miles one-way (with summit spur)
RATING: moderate
ELEVATION: 4450’ – 4900’
Mingus and Woodchute Mountains
From the State Routes 179/89A traffic circle in Sedona, head 4.2 miles west (left) on 89A and turn left onto Upper Red Rock Loop Road. Continue 0.2-mile to the high school parking lot on the right. Park at the designated trailhead lot only.
INFO & MAP: Coconino National Forest

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