Hiking on the Cow Pies Trail
is how we tamed the”wild west” and it’s the hiking adventure we enjoyed the most. This was the first trail we did, just outside the town of Sedona in Northern Arizona, a day after our arrival.
Our body clocks were still ticking in European time and we woke up at 4:30 a.m., impatiently waiting for breakfast and the chance to hit the road. Which we finally did, taking off at around 7, when it was pleasantly warm outside rather than hot and when we had the trail all to ourselves. (Something to consider on a summer hiking trip.)
This was our first close encounter with the colours of the region – the red rocks, the green of the flowering cacti and the impossibly blue sky.
The memories of this walk will stay with me until the day I die.
This trail, called the Cow Pies, has the added advantage that it is much more easily accessible than the National Parks. Sedona is only a short drive away from Flagstaff and two hours by car from Phoenix.
The trail is easy to find, too: look for the “Y” junction roundabout in downtown Sedona near the Chamber Visitor Centre – this is where the 89A, the main road to Flagstaff, meets the 179. Take the 179 south (direction Phoenix) and then turn into the first road on your left, the Schnebly Hill Road.
The ride starts well enough but soon, after half a mile or so, turns into a mean dirt track.
From here on, it’s strictly walking speed only – for another two miles and a half after which you should see what the official walking guides generously describe as a parking lot on your right. (In fact, it is just a flat rock with an access ramp that looks finefor an SUV but proved to be unmanageable for our saloon car. Fortunately, the road is fairly wide here, and we just left our car by the side.)
The Cow Pies Trail starts right opposite the parking lot: look for the wooden sign. The Cow Pies Trail is short, just over a mile long (but you have to walk the same distance back), and almost totally flat, so the overall physical effort required is minimal. Definitely an experience that the whole family can share and enjoy. (Except for your car. I mean: he will share it all right, but whether he will also enjoy it is a different question.)