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Girdner Trail to Two Fence

I love lazy Saturdays. Okay, so my weekends are rarely that restful — but would you kick it inside on the couch if you lived in one of the most beautiful places on earth? I hope not!

Girdner trail is a medium-difficulty number in West Sedona. You’ll start at the same head where Stirrup and Saddle Up Trail make their way in (or out, depending upon your direction) to the wilderness. From the trailhead to the exit onto Dry Creek Road at the Two Fence trailhead, you’re looking at a 4.9-miler.

You’ll cross over the creek, and if the waterway isn’t living up to its name, it can be tough to see where to go. On this day, the water level was low enough at the crossings to pose no difficulty. I was delighted. It was cold, and I wasn’t looking forward to wet socks. Instead, I found myself singing “Just Around the Riverbend” from Pocohantas.

You’ll enjoy magnificent views as you gaze westward toward Boynton Canyon. You’ll see Cockscomb in the distance — another trail that sees relatively little tourist traffic. If you want to take off with your dog and not encounter another soul, I recommend both treks. I only met with one friendly fellow hiker on my adventure.

Do you see the mesa in the distance in the above picture? That’s Doe Mountain, which is another breathtaking hike — literally. There’s one spot on the ascent that I’ve nicknamed “Vertigo Point.” Once you push past it, though, you can hang out and have a picnic at the top. But I digress. Back to Girdner.

The trail was named for a family of ranchers who lived in the area. If you follow it to the end, you’ll emerge in the Seven Canyons wilderness. I hung a right turn at Two Fence because I arrived at the trailhead on foot. If you have a second driver, it’s worth it to hike 3/4 mile to the end so that you can shuttle yourself back. Of course, you could also turn around and go back the way you came.

People get crafty in the desert. I stumbled upon this rock sculpture a nature artist built. It looked lovely framed by Chimney Rock and Thunder Mountain in the background.

You’ll pass several other trails along the way, including the part where Stirrup and Saddle Up intersect. I’m dying to explore the AZ Cypress Trail myself. However, I hadn’t come equipped with food or water, only my two feet. The views on the exit didn’t disappoint.

Getting there: From Cottonwood (south), take Hwy 89A north to the stoplight at Cultural Park Road. Turn left and park in the trailhead parking past the community college.

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