Amblers Enjoy Carroll Canyon Vistas

February 02, 2018

By Jodie Ball

View from Carroll Canyon trail. Several famous red rock formations are in the background, from left to right: Capitol Butte, Coffee Pot Rock, the Fin, Sail Rock, and Steamboat Rock.

Blessed with the perfect fall day, the Amblers gathered at Sunset Park where Linda Schermer, the hike leader, gave a brief description of the hike.  We proceeded from Sunset Park to the Old Post trailhead.  From the Old Post trailhead, the hike combined parts of the Old Post and Carroll Canyon trails for a loop of three and one-half to four miles. The Old Post trail was the mail route and a “road to town” for early Sedona travelers; it took us to Carroll Canyon.  Carroll Canyon drains West Sedona, between Dry Creek and Soldiers Pass Wash, and flows into Oak Creek at Red Rock Crossing.  Today’s hike traversed a short, but spectacular part of this beautiful canyon.

The hike down the Old Post trail was short on wildflowers at this time of year.  The yellow Broom Snakeweed and the delicate, short-lived, Birds Beak were about finished, and an occasional Skunk Bush added a flash of red.  The real reward is the view at about a mile and a half in -- the gorgeous vista of Bear Mountain, Capitol Butte, Coffee Pot, Ship Rock, Steamboat, Lost Wilson and Wilson Mountains.  The trail intersects the Skywalker trail around two miles in and a short walk took us to another fantastic viewpoint that included: Gibraltar, Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Napoleon’s Tomb, and Pyramid Rock. Descending into Carroll Canyon, the Old Post Trail intersected with the 1.8-mile long Carroll Canyon trail.

We continued down the Carroll Canyon trail to a rocky outcrop (ideal for our seating) in the wash for our break/lunch stop.  Linda shared with us the story of Tom Carroll, after whom the Canyon was named.  The Carrolls were among the small group of homesteaders who arrived in the Sedona area in the 1880s.  Tom Carroll was a farmer who homesteaded 160 acres on the banks of Oak Creek. Henry Schuerman (after whom Schuerman Mountain was named) was a business man who owned a hotel in Prescott.  Schuerman loaned Carroll $800 for improvements to his property.  When Carroll defaulted on the loan, Schuerman acquired the property.  Unfortunately, due to a surveying error, the railroad owned some of the property and Schuerman had to pay an additional $400 for property that he never really wanted.  His venture into farming was to plant fruit trees and Zinfandel grapes, thus creating the first vineyard and providing the area with peach and grape wine for the next 25 years (until the Prohibition era began in 1915).

After lunch we continued down the Carroll Canyon trail and crossed the wash, where a short climb revealed great views to the North.  We then descended along the Cathedral Fault, which intersects the Old Post trail, and which took us back to the trailhead, thus ending a beautiful and rewarding morning hike.  The Carroll Canyon hike is an easy hike with only a few shallow ups and downs and with frequent beautiful vistas.  I recommend parking at Sunset Park, since the Old Post trailhead parking area only has three parking spaces.

If you are interested in joining the club, please visit the Sedona Westerners website at  You are invited to our next monthly meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, February 8, at the Sedona Methodist Church, 110 Indian Cliffs Road.  Sedona Westerners, written this week by Jodie Ball, appears every Friday in the Sedona Red Rock News.


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