The Sedona Westerners originated in 1961 as a social club whose purpose was to provide entertainment for visitors and members alike. Some early members were enamored with western dress and lore, hence the name Sedona Westerners! Pride in Sedona and desire to see it grow drove early Westerners to promote many civic events. In 1965, hiking was added as just another social event on the busy calendar. But the Westerners took to hiking! Early Westerners, in conjunction with the US Forest Service, established many of the hiking trails that are still in use today. At present, the Westerners are primarily a hiking club with little official civic or political involvement. A more detailed account of the history of the Sedona Westerners can be found here.
From the earliest days of club activity in the 1960's, members were encouraged to become guardians of the scenic and cultural treasures of our area. The Sedona Westerners of the present day remain deeply committed to implementing this legacy of "stewardship" which has always been a hallmark of the club. Learn about hiking etiquette here, and learn how to report vandalism, graffiti, trash dumping, illegal fires, or other illegal activity here.
In keeping with Westerner tradition, the President is referred to as the "Trail Boss" and the Vice President is the "Wagon Boss". The person in charge of membership is the "Prospector" and it is through the Prospector that new members fill out the necessary papers, pay their dues, obtain their Name Tags, and join the Club. Also within the organization are various hiking groups. Each hiking group has a "Boss" who oversees hiking matters for that group. The complete list of club officers can be found here.
Westerner membership meetings are held in September, November, January, February, March, and April. Social meetings are held in October, December, and in May. At the present, membership meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month. The venue is subject to change so click the Details button for a particular meeting here. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. At each membership meeting, a business session is followed by refreshments and a program (talks, slide shows, etc.) of general interest to members. Minutes of the meetings can be found here.
Westerner membership is open to all individuals 18 years of age or older of all races, creeds, and genders. Both genders are well represented in the membership, which numbers approximately 300 each year.
In 1999, the Westerners established a Website for club use. In addition to the Master Hiking Schedule, the Website contains the current slate of officers, a history of the club, the club hiking rules, and other useful information. The hiking schedule may be viewed and printed either in its entirety or by hiking group.
The Prospector may send emails reminding club members of upcoming meetings or events. Notification may also be sent regarding critical illness or the unfortunate passing of a member or of immediate family members, including spouse/life-partner, parents or children. This notification will not include any mention of suggested donations. Since it is the policy of the club not to promote or favor any commercial, political or special-interest group, no emails will be sent concerning any commercial, political or special-interest group that a club member may be involved in.
Hiking Articles in the Newspaper:
Since Westerner hiking began in the 60's, members have written articles about Westerner hikes for publication in local newspapers. These hiking articles, along with apt photographs, have been collected and assembled by the club historian into Annual Albums that provide a historical record of the club. These albums date back to 1963. In addition, recent hiking articles are posted here.
Hiking With The Westerners
An Important Notice:
Hiking and other outdoor activities are inherently dangerous, and each of us assumes all the risks associated with the activity whenever we participate. The officers, directors, and members of the Sedona Westerners shall not be liable for any injury, accident, illness or loss which a member or guest may sustain while participating in any Westerners' activity. Each member and guest is responsible for determining his or her own ability to participate in any particular one of the club's activities and is responsible for executing, each hiking season, a Release of Liability waiver statement which pertains directly to participating in, and traveling to and from, any Westerners' activity.
The club offers hikes at several levels of physical challenge. Today, you can hike as many as five days each week and pick the destination, pace, and distance that you are comfortable with. Complete descriptions of the various hiking groups can be found here.
How do you know which group to join?
Once you are a member, you don't have to officially enlist in one of the hiking groups! You can choose to join any hike listed in the Westerner schedule, regardless of which group stages that hike. In effect, you can hike at your convenience and ability level. You can hop across hiking groups (if you wish) or, if you find your niche, hike regularly with one of the groups. Your choice!
The Westerners maintain a master schedule of all official club hikes. The schedule, arranged by dates of hikes covers all groups described above. For each hike on the schedule, information such as date, destination, and meeting time at the Posse Ground is provided. In addition, each hike is rated and coded for distance, steepness, exposure to drop-offs, rock hopping, elevation change, etc.
The official Westerner hiking season begins in early September and ends in early May.
Westerner leaders, regardless of group, are not professional 'guides' -- just volunteers. They are not trained to administer first aid or CPR. They receive no compensation for leading club hikes except member gratitude.
Unless otherwise indicated in the schedule, Westerners gather at either the parking lot on Posse Ground Road in Sedona or the parking lot behind the outlet mall in the Village of Oak Creek and depart from there to the trail head(s). The Posse Ground parking lot is across from the Youth Center on Posse Ground Road. For those new to Sedona, the terminus of Posse Ground Road on 89A is located between Soldier Pass Road and Mountain Shadows Drive. Ace Hardware is the visual cue for turning onto Posse Ground Road. The outlet mall parking lot can be reached from Cortez Drive and Jacks Canyon Road. There are map links to these gathering places on the schedule page. Participants are encouraged to come early and be fully prepared to hike. That is, have gear, water, and food at hand, ready to load into cars for rapid departure.
To hike in the Verde Valley climate safely, there are some things hikers must have (for example, water and boots) and a few other things that will make the hike more enjoyable. And because our hikes are a group activity, there are also some rules. The complete list of requirements, rules, and recommendations can be found here.
NOTE: Those who persist in violating these rules will be barred from future Westerner hikes!
The club is conservation oriented; therefore members generally car pool to help protect the environment. Riders are expected to make a contribution to drivers to help defray the cost of using their vehicle. The contribution should be commensurate with distance driven and road conditions. Over the hiking season, all members are expected to do their share of driving.
In addition to hiking, the Westerners sponsor three social events each year.
The first event is the Fall Cook-out. Held in October, members gather at the cook-out to meet other members, get reacquainted with old friends, and chat about hiking.
In December, a Holiday party is held in Sedona for members and family or guests.
The final event is the Spring Cook-out. Held in May, the Spring Cook-out is identical in format to the Fall Cook-out except that at this cook-out, outgoing officers are recognized and a new slate of officers is installed.
How to Join the Westerners
To join the Sedona Westerners and hike, prospective members must pay annual dues of $30 and sign an online Release of Liability waiver. For full details on joining the Westerners go over to the Membership page.
Hopefully, this page will have answered all of your questions. If you do have other questions about the Westerners or how to join, contact either the Trail Boss (Club President) or the Prospector (Membership Chair).