Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Recommended supplies and information:
- Bring at least 80 ounces (about 2 liter) of water
- Trekking Pole
- Small First Aid Kit
Approximate Trekking information:
Total Distance Hiking Round Trip: 4.0 Miles (6.4 km)
Elevation 4,485 ft to 4,662 ft: 177 ft Ascension Climb
Elevation Metrics: 1,367 meters to 1,421 meters: 54 meters Ascension Climb
Temperature for March 26, 2017: 69 F to 83 F / 20.5 C to 28.3 C
Sedona’s Hidden Treasure
If you’re looking for a shorter hike in Sedona, one with magnificent vista views, high soaring cliffs, and a gradual ascending trail, then Mescal Trail is the trek for you.
Mescal Trail is one of Sedona’s best kept secrets since the majority of patrons using this trail are mountain bikers. Mescal Trail is one of a labyrinth of biking trails in the western Sedona region. Although, I mountain biked this difficult black diamond trail, the hiking is quite easy and perfect for a couple or fast family outing… bring a lunch!
Mescal Trail can be accessed free on Long Canyon Road by driving to the dirt parking lot or alongside the road by the trail head. The trail actually crosses Long Canyon Road heading in a northwestern direction. If you take the trail heading in the opposite direction, you will merge with Chuckwagon trail on route to Devil’s Bridge (another great short hike).
The trail to Mescal has the classic red clay and the environment around is green and picturesque from all directions. As the trail ascends, new spectacular views emerge around every twist and turn of the trail. A very clean and well maintained path makes for an amazing photographic opportunity.
Beware of Mountain Bikers
Although this trail is utilized by hikers and mountain bikers, beware of fast groups of bikers zipping down the trails. The bikers are very respectful of the trekkers, but keep a lookout especially when meandering around tight switchbacks. Sharing the trail is important and keeping it safe is the number one key.
Once you’ve ascended to the top of the trail is where magnificence begins. A great giant cliff masses behind you and the path turns to a long and wide avenue of flat stone lasting about 1-mile in length.
There are actually two trails at this point for bikers, Difficult or Extreme. Both are easy to hike, but I prefer the upper Difficult trail to take in the vast expanse of the views. In every direction, amazing long distant views of mountain, trees, and plateaus color the canvas of Sedona’s western wilderness. This is a great spot for a picnic or just to hang out and enjoy the view.
Continuing west on the Mescal Trail brings you down to Deadman’s Pass Trail. Taking a right will loop you down and around to Long Canyon Trail back to the main road and trail head (recommended for a 5-mile short loop hike). Taking a left on Deadman’s Pass merges onto Aerie Trail leading to Boynton Canyon Trail and Road. Another route to take is Canyon of Fools which brings you back down an interesting rock canyon to the Boynton Canyon road. Take a left to bring you back to the Mescal parking lot.
Mescal Trail is a great short hike in Sedona, especially for tourists on a tight deadline and lacking the time for longer full day hikes. Two miles in and two miles out is all it would take to benefit and appreciate the beauty of the Sedona Wilderness. In my opinion, I prefer Mescal over the heavily populated Devil’s Bridge trail. Although Devil’s Bridge is an incredible natural wonder, it lacks great views and is very difficult to climb for novice hikers and the elderly. Mescal is an easier climb and just as naturally fascinating in all aspects.
View all images of the trail:
View Complete Trekking Analysis One Way
View GPS Map and photo locations:
From Sedona on Route 89A, go west on Dry Creek Road. At first “T” turn right onto Long Canyon Road. Go .5 miles and parking will be on the right. Trailhead will be on the left.