Happy New Year to you! Did you wait up for the new year to come? In my house, we go to sleep early so we can get up and out for a New Year’s Day hike. My mom heard somewhere that whatever you do on New Year’s, you will be doing all year long. We like to be in nature, so it is a great way for us to kick off the new year. It was still dark when we arose, and we were out the door in no time flat to head north.
Anymore, if you are traveling on I-17 north, you need to be on the road no later than 8:30 am or you will get stuck in nasty traffic. We zoomed up to Sedona in no time as most folks were probably recovering from their celebrations. Last year, we were snow shoeing, but not this year. We are dry and behind on precipitation. We chose a trail that would be too hot in the summer: Brin’s Mesa. The trailhead is located off Jordan Road in Sedona and has a nice, large parking lot. Note: You can gain access from the Vultee Arch Road, but it’s a rough 4-wheel drive road via Dry Creek and adds another 1.5 miles to the trailhead. The Jordan Road is easy access for any vehicle and has human restrooms. You will need a Red Rock’s pass for either. The Jordan Road parking lot has a dispensing machine that gives you passes and takes credit cards.
You have two choices with the Brin’s Mesa trail: up and back or a loop. The up and back would be 4.5 miles, and the loop is 5.5 miles. We highly recommend the loop because you will see parts of Sedona you can’t see from paved roads. By the way, no bicycles are allowed but dogs are welcome on leash.
From the parking lot, follow the signs for the Brin’s Mesa trail. It starts off easy but you then have 1.5 milesof stairs. It isn’t super steep, but it is a steady incline all the way to the top of the mesa. Between the sand and rock, this would definitely be too hot for doggies in the summer, and there isn’t much shade. However, for today with temps in the 40s, it was awesome!
The trail was busy already but not packed. I guess several other folks had the same idea as us, and as we passed each other, we’d wish each other a Happy New Year! Yes, I do believe we all hope for better days ahead in 2021. I never went without food, bones, treats or adventures, so I really don’t have much to complain about.
Anyway, those with weak knees may want their hiking poles. The steps are sturdy but some are big steps, especially for little dogs. Remember, we take multiple steps for each of yours. I was getting a great workout…and was loving it as I enjoy bouldering.
The views do not end. The red rock is all around, and we saw parts of Sedona we had never seen before. In fact, the only access to Brin’s Mesa is by hiking it. When we got to the top, it was like another world. The terrain changed, and we had 360-degree views. Incredible! We found a ledge to sit on, had our lunch and soaked up the sounds of nature. The trail traffic was picking up, and we saw more folks and their dogs making the trek. I guess folks finally woke up!
After some yummies and a little rest, we turned onto Soldier’s Pass trail to climb down the 1.5 miles of steps. What goes up, must come down! Soldier’s Pass trail follows a 4-wheel path, so you may hear some Jeeps and see dust. This side of the trail passes the Seven Sacred Pools, which was a total let down. I guess if they had water in them, they would be fun to play in, but without water, they are just divots in the rock. There was a Jeep tour group there, and they were noisy, so we pressed on to the left following the Soldier’s Pass trail, not the 4-wheel drive road.
Look to your left, and you will see Soldier’s Caves across the way. You will then come to the Sink Hole, which is a huge hole in the ground! I guess the rock gave way through the years and created a big opening. There are no guard rails, so watch your step. You will follow around the sink hole and continue on the trail but at least the steps are behind you. Mom’s knees didn’t like the downhill steps, but I did just fine. Woof!
The only confusing part of this trail is after the Sink Hole. You have to take a connector trail from Soldier’s Pass to Cibola Pass Trail, which brings you back to the parking lot. The trail is called the Jordan Trail, but you don’t want to stay on it as that will add another 2.5 miles. Pay attention and turn left at the Cibola Pass Trail off the Jordan Trail. You will continue on Cibola until you are back to where you began.
The temps were now in the 50s, and it was one of the most spectacular hikes we have ever taken in Sedona. Again, this would be too hot in the summer, but right now is an excellent time to explore Brin’s Mesa…either hiking to it and back or doing the full loop. Just bring plenty of water.
More people were still ascending to the parking lot as we headed out. We were glad we started early because as we drove home, I-17 north was a parking lot from Sunset Point to Anthem. Those poor people were trapped! We’ve been there, and it isn’t any fun. I took a most lovely nap and was ready to run around the house when we got home. Mom and dad were tuckered out. Ha! To everyone, may this year be full of fun adventures, great health, family, friends and lots of treats.
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!