Secret Mountain Trail is a 10.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, AZ that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This hike has been on my list to do for 3 years. The difficulty in getting to the Trail Head has prevented me from doing it up to now. This year I got up really early and completed the hike. When I left Sedona the temperature was 48 F. When I got to the trail head and started my hike it was 30F. Luckily for me I had brought warm closes in my pack, some good old Canadian long johns. I had to undress in the freezing cold and wind but once dressed and on the trail I soon warmed up. You will need to plan on the temperature variation if you are going to hike the Secret Mountain Trail. Also if you are going to start from the Secret Mountain Trail Head plan on about a 1Hr, 45 Min. drive along some pretty nasty dirt roads to get there. You don't need 4 wheel drive but you will punish what every regular vehicle you have, hopefully a rental. The other thing that nearly undid me was both the local maps and Alltrail.com described this as a 5.3 mile hike in & out and that it would take 3.5 hours to complete. Well, it took me 5.5 hours to do and I felt like I had walked a lot more than 5.3 miles. I didn't stop much to take pictures and eat so it was almost all straight walking. I think the literature here is misleading. Based on my experience it was probably 5.3 miles one way. If you don't want to experience the nasty dirt roads you can start at the Loy Canyon Trail Head. However, by my calculations that would result in a 10 mile one way hike, 20 miles round trip. The nasty dirt roads would definitely be my choice or I would make it a 2 day adventure in real wilderness.
The trail itself is wonderful. I would rate it a 5 Star and I will definitely do it again. The trail is easy to follow but not obvious so you have to stay alert. It gives you the feeling that you are really in the wilderness. The forests you traverse are spectacular and the vistas all along the way are worth the trouble of getting there by themselves. At one point you pass an old log cabin and a horse corral. They are pretty dilapidated but you can really sense the challenges and hardships the early homesteaders had to over come. I read some where that this particular cabin belonged to horse thieves but who knows.The trail is not difficult and the 2,000 Ft elevation gain is not hard to handle. However, just the length of this trail makes it a strenuous one. At points the up and down hills are tricky due to the loose rocks you must walk on. I found it rough on my ankles and feet at some points. Some of the climbs had me panting but I think this was party due to the altitude. I live close to sea level and I am sure you are at 8,00 ft plus at the end of this climb.
Happy hiking Dave
Secret Mountain Trail in located in Sedona, off Dry Creek Road, onto FR 152 for 3 miles to the trailhead. It is a beautiful hike in a Red Rock Canyon. The Secret Canyon trail starts out wide and flat with little shade, but climbs for the next three miles, with increasing shade and nice views of red rock formations. When you reach a saddle take the left trail, and proceed about 2-3 miles to the rim of the overlook. Along with my sons Ron and Bob, we made this hike on a beautiful June day. Except we never made it to the rim, we gave up after 1.5 miles pass the saddle. My son hurt his ankle and we were forced to return slowly back to the car. The Red Rock views and ranch lands were beautiful, nevertheless.
This Hike was a great one. Get to see a couple of old Cabins and some really spectacular views overlooking Sedona. Can't imagine what it must have been like to be a homesteader back in the day at this location, not to mention the HorseTheivinng days!!! Be warned, we came across the biggest Mohave Green Rattlesnake (right smack in the middle of the trail) up on the top of the ridge near the end of the trail. I was surprised to see one so high up in elevation and so late in the season. Made for an exciting day to the least, no one hurt but it was close.