Are you seeking the ideal medium-length hike? Do you want a trek that will elevate your heart rate without making it pound out of your chest? Perhaps you merely dream of the opportunity of photographing one of Sedona’s most iconic rock formations without encountering too many fellow souls? If so, try the Scorpion-Pyramid Trail Loop.
This loop comes in at a hair over 4.9 miles — almost a perfect quint. You’ll go up and down a bit, but you won’t encounter any places where bouldering becomes necessary. You will, however, lose your breath from the stunning views.
You’ll encounter plenty of places to rest and enjoy a snack, so bring your favorite trail food with you. You shouldn’t need to refuel, but cashews taste better in the wilderness. During the colder months, why not pack a picnic lunch? Chances are, Yogi and Boo-Boo won’t appear to swipe your basket!
You have two choices of where to park. If you park at Sedona Red Rock High School, you’ll get the full excursion. You can also park at the trailhead at the base of the Red Rock Loop Road. If you enter through this direction, you’ll cover a tad less than four miles total. The ascent is far less vigorous on the Pyramid side of the trail. If you want to blast your hamstrings and quads, go the opposite direction for a steeper climb. Don’t worry — the exertion still ranks as moderate.
You’ll see the backside of Cathedral Rock, quite possibly the most photographed formation in all of Sedona. Many photographers shoot this vortex from the opposite angle. Dawn’s early sun typically blocks out decent photos from the east, but given the overcast weather, the rocks obliged by striking a pose.
On the way back, enjoy views of the Rabbit Ears out in the distance. Whenever you’re in West Sedona, you can get your bearings by looking for Thunder Mountain. It’s nearly always ubiquitous in the northwest.
Getting there: From Cottonwood, take AZ 89A North to Upper Red Rock Loop Road. Turn right and park at the high school OR follow the road to the parking area at the base of Red Rock Loop Road.