Secret Mountain Hike Reveals the Canyons of Sedona from Above
November 24, 2017
By Nora Hofmans
View from the top of Secret Mountain. Long Canyon, the Seven Canyons Golf Course, and many exclusive residences can be seen from this summit. The view illustrates the stunning topography for which Sedona is so well known. Photo Courtesy of Jeff Fargo
Recently, the Sedona Westerner Mustangs and I met up at Posse Grounds Park early in the morning on a Thursday and headed toward Flagstaff to hike the Secret Mountain Trail. It took driving for nearly two hours on three forest roads to get to the trailhead on the Mogollon Rim, high above Loy Canyon. We knew that it would be a long day with an 11-mile hike ahead of us. I was more than thrilled to go the distance, since this was the first time our hiking group, the Mustangs, had hiked this trail.
On the long, bumpy, dirt road to get there, we decided to take a quick break and stop at what appeared to be a pioneer grave site. Early pioneers used to live in this area and we found a white cross next to a beautiful, open meadow. The cross was on top of a pile of red rocks. Nearby was another pile of rocks that might have been another grave, but it had no white cross.
As we continued down the forest road, we came to a halt where a big tree was blocking the road. We all got out and worked together to move the tree off the road. Unfortunately, the tree was wedged in place and we could not move it. We ended up carefully driving around it on the edge of the road.
Finally, we started hiking with Michael McCaffrey as our fearless leader. I called him fearless because I had a hard time keeping up with Michael’s pace. Jim Kemper was our tailgater and he was the funniest person in the group, in my opinion. During the hike we saw blazes on the trees; this was an old technique to mark the trail by chopping away a piece of bark on the side of the tree. This method was commonly used by the early pioneers in this area.
My favorite part of the whole hike was being on top of Secret Mountain. We ate lunch while sitting on top of Secret Mountain. We took pictures and admired the panoramic views. I learned that from this viewpoint you can see Long Canyon, the Seven Canyons Golf Course, and many well-to-do residences west of Sedona. On the hike to Secret Mountain along the Mogollon Rim, we were able to look down into Loy Canyon, Hartwell Canyon, Fay Canyon, and Boynton Canyon.
On our drive back home, we all saw 10 wild turkeys in a group and more deer bounding through the forest when they saw us. It was a good day for spotting wildlife; we saw a total of 14 deer and 10 turkeys. I told all my hiking buddies to keep their eyes open for elk, even though I had a hard time keeping my eyes open during the two hours driving home. Sadly, we did not spot any elk, but we were lucky to see all the other wildlife. Most of the time when we hike, it is hard to find them.
The leader added a nice touch at the end of the day when we all were hungry; we stopped for ice cream. Although the others got ice cream and root beer floats, my hunger drove me to be the only one who ordered onion rings.
I have been hiking with the Westerners for about three years and I would rank the Secret Mountain trail as my second favorite hike. Hiking with the Westerners at the Grand Canyon will always be my first favorite hike. Above all else, just being with Mother Nature during these hikes, is the most wonderful experience of my life.
If you are interested in joining the club, please visit the Sedona Westerners website at www.sedonawesterners.org/membership. You are invited to our next monthly meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 11, at the Sedona Methodist Church, 110 Indian Cliffs Road. Sedona Westerners, written this week by Nora Hofmans, appears every Friday in the Sedona Red Rock News.