Brins Mesa Hiking Trail
★★☆☆☆ Easy / Sedona Area:
Like a gorgeous museum wing, the “walls” of this easy mesa-top stroll are framed with incredible picturesque views. From the high pastel canyons (with their wildly sculptural forms) on one side, to the distant green, red and purple valleys on the other, some of Sedona’s most incredible scenery forms the backdrop to the leisurely ramble of the Brins Mesa Hiking Trail.
TRAILHEAD: Park ridge drive, sedona, AZ • DIFFICULTY: mostly easy (some moderate spots) • DISTANCE: 3.2 MILES (6.4 MILES RT) • APPROX. TIME: 4-5 HOURS rt • ELEVATION GAIN: 540 FEET (39 STORIES) • APPROX. CALORIES BURNED: 830-960 rt • BEST TIME OF YEAR: SEPT. – JUne • PETS: YES • KID FRIENDLY: YES • FACILITIES: YES (NO WATER) • FEES: RED ROCK ($5 DAILY, $15 WEEKLY, $20 ANNUAL) OR NATIONAL PARK PASS ($85 ANNUAL) REQUIRED
Starting at the Jordan Trailhead on Park Ridge Drive (less than two miles west of downtown Sedona) the easy Brins Mesa Hiking Trail makes an almost unnoticeable ascent along an old juniper lined jeep trail out to the rim of Brins Mesa.
This first mile is shaded and mild, with cushiony red sand footing and immediate views of Wilson Mountain and other surrounding canyons. As the trail approaches the rim of the mesa it steepens for about 400 feet, ascending a number of tiered red rock sections. Once atop the mesa’s rounded rim, the views back to Cathedral and Bell Rocks, and Sedona’s southern valleys appear picture perfect in the distance. This open area is a wonderful (and popular) spot to stop and take panoramic pictures, or sit down and absorb the incredible views.
Continuing on, the wide, flat trail makes an easy ramble across the top of Brins Mesa. Here the sculptural canyons of Wilson Mountain (to the east), and rock formations like the “sphinx” (straight ahead) create artistic looking “walls” that frame the mesa’s pastel grasses and deep green bushes. Soldier Canyon drops off (to the west) with views of its many canyons below.
At about 2 miles into the hike, the Brins Mesa Hiking Trail connects with the Soldier’s Pass Trail. If desired, it is possible to form a five-mile loop hike (that ends back at the Jordan Trailhead), by turning here and combining the Brins Mesa, Soldier’s Pass, Jordan and Cibola trails (each with their own incredibly scenic attributes) to do so.
Continuing straight on Brins Mesa, the trail makes a mild descent and reenters a lovely pine forest, criss-crossing a dry stream bed, and making its way to the trail’s end at Vultee Arch Road. The going is very easy, along soft red sand paths like those at the start of the trail.
If you have a high clearance vehicle, the Brins Mesa Hiking Trail can also be accessed from the trailhead on Vultee Arch road. However this is a rugged dirt road – impassable for most cars.
The cliffs of Lost Canyon (visible to the east of the Brins Mesa Hiking Trail – in the last half mile), contain a number of ancient Native American ruins. Some of these are accessible on the small side trails into the canyon.
Directions From the intersection of I-17 and AZ-179, take AZ-179 North for 14.5 miles to the juncture / roundabout of AZ-89A. Turn right/north onto AZ-89A and continue 0.3 miles to Jordan Road. Turn left/north onto Jordan Road and drive 0.8 miles to the intersection of Park Ridge Drive. Turn left/west onto West Park Ridge Drive and drive 0.7 miles to the trailhead parking lot (the road will switch from a paved to a well graded dirt surface with only a few potholes).
- Canyon, Dayhike, Easy, Mesa, Northern Arizona, Plateau, Red Rocks, Sedona, Views
- May 30, 2015