If there’s one thing I love to see, it’s a sign like the one below telling my feet that they have a new trail to explore. This West Sedona loop is the perfect mile-ish long trek for when you want to get out there, but you don’t feel like schlepping trail mix and an extra water bottle with you.
To begin your trek, you’ll take Stirrup trail off of the Girdner trailhead. I have to warn you that you might see crowds of tourists gathering now with all the new trails opening in the same area.
Don’t worry — there’s plenty of room for all. I didn’t encounter a single soul other than chickadees on my outing. It’s still possible to get lost in your head, pretending that you’re an explorer from yesteryear charting previously unknown territory. Plus, as long as you follow proper trail etiquette, any greetings you do exchange will be pleasant.
I made a mental note of this little clearing. Yours truly is a bit of an odd duck. Like many Sedona peeps, I’m into holistic healing, and I practice yoga often. This dell looks like the ideal place to roll out a mat — or get my hands in the good, red earth — and strike a few poses.
This particular arroyo was dry, although I learned on my next hike that the wet winter weather hadn’t missed red rock country entirely. Had this been a lengthier hike, I would have stopped here to contemplate things like why life exists and how it originated. However, since I wasn’t yet sure how short my trek would turn out to be, I kept walking.
Lasso led to Axis, and before I could say, “Jiminy Cricket,” I saw the Cockscomb peeking at me just over the hill. However, my course turned back toward home, and before I knew it, I came to the junction of Girdner trail, which led me out of the woods.
Since the Lasso-Axis-Girdner loop only lasted a hair over a mile, I was back out the next day to explore another trail off of Stirrup called Roundabout trail. Stirrup to Roundabout to Girdner is approximately two miles all total, but I took the scenic route down Saddle Up before doubling back. However, it’s worth the additional mileage to see straight across town to the Village of Oak Creek, where you’ll find Cathedral and Bell Rock, as well as Courthouse Butte.
Here’s where things started getting a wee bit sloppy. As I hit somewhere around the 2.5-mile mark, I heard the unmistakable sound of rushing current.
I’m all about a refreshing quad and hamstring workout, but even atop the trail ledge, the ground became a quagmire. I’m pleasantly surprised that I still have both of my running shoes after this adventure. The goop nearly sucked them right off my feet in several areas. What does this intrepid explorer decide to do? Get closer to the water, of course!
Dry Creek was anything but dry. If it hadn’t been cold enough to cut my exhaled breath with a knife, I would have enjoyed searching for crawdaddies the way I used to do as a kid. I’m hoping this watering hole stays filled during the summer months.
Roundabout Trail circles a quarry where they mine the decorative flagstone you see on many home’s patios in the region. I wonder if they charge a premium for magical vortex rocks? People travel to Sedona from all over the world to visit our spiritual oasis — undoubtedly, some of the power remains trapped in the stone.
My journey took me four miles, and I felt satisfied I had gotten my vitamin D intake for the week. However, it’s impossible to leave any Sedona trail without feeling a bit wistful. I take comfort in knowing that when I’m ready, Mother Nature will welcome me back with her healing arms.
Getting there: from the south, take Highway 89A north to the light at Cultural Park Road. Turn left and go past the college to the trailheads. You’ll find a dirt lot and a gate. Walk past the gate, and you’ll find the Centennial/Roundabout/Outer Limits trailheads to your right and the Girdner and Stirrup trailheads to your left.