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Schnebly Hill Trail

May 19th, 2011

Schnebly Hill Trail - Sedona, AZ

The Cow Pie Vortex

This is a great trail with spectacular views of Red Rock Country and downtown Sedona, Arizona. Horses, mountain bikes, and dogs are allowed on this trail.

Schnebly Hill Trail - Sedona, AZ

The trail up on the mesa

If you start at the trail head, you will need a Red Rock Pass to park there. I also suggest starting early in the morning. That way, the Mogollon rim will shield you from the sun as you walk the first 1.25 miles from the trail head. The rim provided shade until 10am or 11am on the day we were there.

If you take the trail head near the overlook on Schnebly Hill Road, it is 3.1 miles one-way. We didn’t. We traveled cross country from our campsite on top of the plateau. So instead of climbing up to the top of the plateau via the trail, we walked along the rim above the trail and got on the trail at the 1.25 mile mark. This is where the trail enters shade. There is also a rock retaining wall there. It was built to keep the old wagon trail, that the trail is based on, intact and level.

The trail is rated as strenuous. I guess it might be if you start at the trail head. The way we went, the trail was pretty level without much elevation gain or loss.

Schnebly Hill Trail - Sedona, AZ

Trail meandering through the trees


Once you get into the shade, you become surrounded by Juniper and Oak trees. The shaded part of the trail gently ascends over the next 0.75 miles. While in the shade, you will pass rocky over looks where you can sneak another peak of the beautiful red rock masterpiece that lies to the west. You will also pass some really neat looking dead trees.

The shell of a mighty tree - Schnebly Hill Trail - Sedona, AZ

Lovin this tree


After you pass through two cattle gates (remember to leave gates as you find them), you will arrive at the junction for Hot Loop Trail. It leads off to the east along side a wildlife watering hole. It is possible to drive to and camp near here. A Red Rock Pass is not required to park here… however, a 4×4 is (no joke!). We walked the road (which is closed December to April) in on another trip. I would definitely call it a jeep trail.

If you continue on a few 100 feet past the junction, you will get a nice view of Bear Wallow Canyon and reach the Munds Mountain trail head. This was our turn around point. We took in the views and headed back the way we came.

Forest Service Trail Guide

Getting there:
From the junction of Routes 89A and 179, take 179 south .3 miles. Turn left on Schnebly Hill Road just past the Oak Creek Bridge and go 5 miles (.6 miles beyond the winter closure gate) to a turnout on the left. This road is very rough but passable for passenger cars. Park here and walk 100 yards down the road to the signed trailhead for Schnebly Hill Trail on the east side.

Cattle Gate - Schnebly Hill Trail - Sedona, AZ
Hot Loop - Schnebly Hill Trail - Sedona, AZ
Schnebly Hill Trail - Sedona, AZ
Schnebly Hill Trail - Sedona, AZ

More pictures of the trail

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2 Responses to “Schnebly Hill Trail”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Even more AWESOME photos!! The last being especially breath taking..

    • jenn says:

      Thanks, Jeremy. We really enjoyed our stay there. The scenery on the trail is just stunning. The vision in the last photo was Johnny’s office for a couple of days. His laptop is capable of running 14hrs on one charge. He and Rain would walk over there and spend the day enjoying the view. I joined him a couple of days but, at the time, my laptop was a desktop replacement and couldn’t be away from power for more than an hour or two. Thankfully, my new laptop is boondocking compatible.

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