April 2019 – We’ve visited Sedona, Arizona, many times, not only as full-time RVers but also before we started this crazy lifestyle, back when we were living a workaday life and looking for a getaway vacation. The scenery around Sedona is absolutely stunning, and we are always thrilled by the beauty.
Sedona is an outdoor lovers paradise, and whether hiking, mountain biking or off-road Jeep/ATV riding is your thing, there are hundreds of breathtaking trails crisscrossing the Coconino National Forest all around town.
Somehow, though, in all our visits to Sedona, we’ve never done many of the “signature” hikes. So on this trip we decided to check out Brins Mesa Trail, a top rated beauty that appears in many Sedona hiking trail lists.
Buddy sniffs the start of the Brins Mesa Trail
Twenty years ago, Sedona was a small town, but today it is not only a huge sprawling community but it plays host to gazillions of tourists all year long. April is one of the most popular months to visit, so we knew that if we wanted to have any kind of solitude on the trail, we’d have to be up at the crack of dawn.
The air was cool when we started, and we were glad we always carry light wind breakers in our truck, because the heat wave that had swept the area lately had left us so hot the night before, it never occurred to us that it might be chilly at 6:00 a.m. when we started hiking. So, we’d arrived in shorts!
What a glorious start. The air was wonderfully crisp and clear — and cool!
Brins Mesa Trail is 3.6 miles long and goes between the Brins Mesa Trailhead at the northwest end and the Jordan Road Trailhead at the southeast end.
There are three trails that originate at Jordan Road Trailhead: Brins Mesa Trail, Cibola Pass Trail and Jim Thompson Trail. Brins Mesa Trail intersects with other trails along its route, so you can hike for miles and miles if you like.
Our plan was to hike out a ways from the Jordan Road Trailhead and then turn around and hike back. We hadn’t thought much about where the turnaround point would be and we hadn’t read about the trail, so we had no idea what to expect.
We hit the trail at 6:05 a.m.
Ours was the first vehicle in the parking lot, and we had Brins Mesa Trail to ourselves. To our surprise, a runner passed us almost as soon as we started, but he quickly vanished ahead of us, and the only sounds we heard after that were chirping birds.
Buddy was in heaven and he ran in happy circles around us.
Buddy waits for us partway up a series of red rock stairs
The sun began to light the sky behind the craggy red cliffs on our right, and we climbed up a series of natural red rock stairs. The scenery was lovely.
Buddy checks in with Mark about the route.
At our feet we noticed little bouquets of flowers perched here and there as if Mother Nature had set out vases along the trail.
Wildflowers were blooming in delightful little bouquets along the trail.
Mother Nature had taken some time to get her flower arranging just right.
A thorny cactus had a single flower on the end of one branch.
A single cactus flower.
The trail opened up on the left side to a fabulous red rock mound that begged to be explored. We wandered around for quite some time, admiring the wide flat swoopy rocks that looked a little like dough overflowing a pan, and we poked our noses into the woods here and there too.
Suddenly, we realized we’d lost track of the trail. We conferred with each other and with Buddy about where we were and where the trail had disappeared to.
Buddy is a good listener, but when it comes to route finding, he’s top notch and we find it’s best if we do the listening!
Buddy listens well, but we listen to him too!
Buddy explains to Mark which way the route goes.
“Hey you guys, it’s this way”
As we backtracked to the main trail, the sun crested the distant peaks and swept across the rocks all around us, transforming them from cool shade to warm sun in an instant. Mark caught a starburst through a hole in the branch of a dead tree.
A ray of golden sun.
Sunshine warmed the trail ahead of us and lit the distant peaks.
Sunshine warms Brins Mesa Trail
We decided we’d gone far enough, even though it was just 1.2 miles or so, and we started back down to the trailhead. We knew there were some great 360 degree views somewhere, but the day was heating up and we weren’t sure how much further we had to go to see them.
As we hiked back, we met five or six couples coming up the trail from the trailhead, and we discovered from one couple who does this hike often that if we’d gone just another quarter mile we would have seen the fabulous views. Oh well — next time (and maybe we’ll do it in the afternoon when the cliffs to the east aren’t backlit)!
When we got back to the parking lot it was around 8:00 a.m. there were only two or three parking spaces left. We were glad we’d gone early. What a lovely morning walk that was!
This visit to Sedona was also the first time we’d had our off-road buggy to take us on motor vehicle-friendly trails to remote spots.
The sun sets in splendor after a fun day of RZR riding.
We bought the RZR and began triple-towing with it hitched behind our fifth wheel because we wanted to get further into remote areas that we couldn’t easily reach by mountain bike or with our truck. And sure enough, it took us to a hidden jewel on this trip to Sedona.
We took the RZR on a joy ride through some rather boring flat countryside and rode it to the end of a road where a sign stopped us: “No motorized vehicles beyond this point.” We noticed the trail continued, though, so we hopped out and hiked a little further on a woodsy trail.
As we turned a corner, we suddenly heard the trickle of water ahead of us, and then we found ourselves in the middle of a little desert oasis!
Buddy admires the colorful reflections in a surprise little watering hole.
Glassy water reflects the red rocks.
We arrived at the golden hour in the late afternoon when the red rock cliffs, blue sky and green trees were reflecting in the mirror-like water. Our jaws dropped. What a fabulous surprise!
We were astonished by this fun little discovery.
Sedona has quite a few creeks and springs, and there are beautiful hikes to reach them. We loved hiking the West Fork Trail and doing The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek hike. Both hikes led to gorgeous oases in the red rock desert.
The afternoon was downright summery with a high temp in the high 80s, and that water in front of us was just too tempting not to jump in! Mark took off his shirt and tip-toed in. “Brrrr!” He shouted as he splashed his hands in the water. “It’s COLD!”
But it didn’t take long for his legs to numb up so he could go in the rest of the way!
“Come on in, the water’s fine!”
I finally put down my camera and joined him!
Buddy waded along the edges of the water, got a big drink, and then leapt back on the rocky shore to chase lizards.
The heat wave in the Sedona area brought fabulous stormy skies each afternoon with Arizona-monsoon-like clouds. The sunsets were just divine.
A classic Arizona sunset over a lonely stretch of road.
We had planned to stick around the area for two weeks or so, but the heat was getting intense and the winds began to pick, making the dust fly. So, our planned list of things to do in Sedona will probably have to be shelved until our next visit!
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More info about Brins Mesa Trail:
Other blog posts from our travels in the Sedona area:
- Broken Arrow Trail in Sedona, AZ – What a Hike! 05/31/19
- Hiking the “Pig Trails” in Sedona, AZ – Breathtaking! (oink oink!) 05/17/19
- Top Sedona AZ Hikes: Little Horse to Chicken Point + Templeton Trail (Cathedral Rock)! 05/03/19
- Jerome, Arizona – A New Year’s Getaway in the Snow! 01/04/19
- Sedona Arizona – Brooding Skies at Sunset in the Red Rocks 03/17/16
- The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek (Bell Trail Hike), Sedona, AZ 03/14/16
- Sedona, Arizona – Great Beer, Coffee, Red Rocks & Psychics! 03/09/16
- Bell Rock Pathway, Sedona AZ – Hiking & Biking the Red Rocks 03/07/16
- Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing – Sedona AZ 12/14/14
- Montezuma’s Castle & Schnebly Hill – Sedona Heights! 05/19/14
- Sedona Reflections on the West Fork Trail 05/16/14
- Sedona – Mountain biking in the red rocks! 05/13/14
- Oh, Sedona – Scenic drives in the red rocks!! 05/09/14
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