SEDONA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- I never thought I would be waiting until late May to write about hikes in the Sedona area, but it has been an amazingly cool month – almost too cool to even think about venturing to swimming holes. But now is the time to leave Phoenix and take a hike where it is not only cooler, but where a refreshing creek will beckon you to step in for a dip.
Sedona – Huckaby Trail
The Huckaby Trail is in the heart of Sedona, approximately 1 mile up Schnebly Hill Road from Route 179. After a moderate 2 mile hike along one of the many beautiful trails in the red rocks, you will encounter Oak Creek and the perfect place to go for a swim. But the water is just one reward. You will have views overlooking Sedona, Steamboat Rock, Wilson Mountain and Midgley Bridge.
The water is your destination, but if you want to explore a bit more, you can hike an additional .6 miles to the Midgley Bridge parking lot. If you have arranged transportation, this is a great place to end. If not, be prepared to hike back the way you came.
There is a parking lot on the left and a Red Rock Pass is required but you can purchase a day pass upon parking.
Rimrock – Bell Trail
A moderate 3.3 mile hike along the Bell Trail will take you to “The Crack”, a local swimming hole in the Wet Beaver Creek just upstream from Bell Crossing. But you find your own oasis anywhere along the creek if a 6.6 mile round trip hike isn’t for you.
You will be venturing on the only developed trail in the Wet Beaver Wilderness in Coconino National Forest, but it does connect with other trails if you need to put in more miles.
To get there, take a right off the Sedona exit (298) along Forest Road 618. Drive 1.5 miles to the Beaver Creek Ranger Station and turn left to the trailhead parking lot. There are no fees.
Clarkdale - Parsons Trail
This easy 8 mile round trip hike will grant you views north into the red rocks of Sedona while providing you with Sycamore Canyon’s own brand of natural beauty.
Aside from the 200 foot stairway drop to the base of the canyon, this is an overall easy trail. You will hike along the spring-fed creek, under a riparian canopy of Cottonwood and Sycamore Trees. Expect to make a few creek-crossings before getting to the swimming hole at Parsons Spring. Hang out here for the day before hiking the same 4 miles back (and then head into Old-Town Cottonwood for dinner and wine). Or, go in for an overnight backpacking trip, but be sure to set up camp 200 feet past the spring.
The trailhead is near Tuzigoot National Monument (also a great place you should check out). Take Tuzigoot Road, cross the Verde River and turn left in Forest Road 131 and drive 11 miles. While passenger vehicles have been known to make the drive, high clearance is recommended, as road conditions can get rough, especially after a wet winter and spring season. There are no fees.
Note – When venturing off to these places, don’t leave your common sense and sense of etiquette at home. Follow Leave No Trace principles, research the area in which you are hiking before heading out, know yours and your hiking companion’s limits, take water and snacks and be prepared.
For more information about hikes in Sedona or hikes to escape the heat, hit us up at one of our free seminars at Just Roughin’ It Adventure Company in Scottsdale – 8658 E Shea Blvd., Ste 175; www.justroughinit.com.