Mustangs Ford Munds Wagon Trail after the Rains
April 19, 2019
By Velma Keller
Gus Rousonelos, hiking with the Sedona Westerners, is crossing Dry Creek while hiking on the Munds Wagon Trail. Seasonal rains can often make crossing what are normally dry creek beds a real challenge on many of our local trails.
This historic trail was once a popular cattle trail to get out of the Sedona area. Upgrading of the trail began in 1896, but was not completed until 1902. It was first known as Munds Road and then later, as Schnebly Hill Road.
The Sedona Westerners Thursday hiking group, the Mustangs, recently hiked the Munds Wagon Trail and were led by Jim Kemper. Sedona had a very heavy rainfall the night before and the scheduled hike was not possible. We were very fortunate to have a hike boss like Jim, who always has an alternative hike, and this turned out to be a great alternative. We had 15 hikers show up at Posse Grounds Park in West Sedona. Even with heavy clouds still in the sky and a cold start, these hikers were still ready to get out and hike.
The hike started at the Huckaby Trailhead, which is located just off Schnebly Hill Road. Jim Kemper was leading and Don Kling was tailgating. The tailgater is responsible to ensure everyone makes the climbs and descents safely and that we don’t lose anyone. All hikers in the group must stay between the leader and the tailgater.
We were very fortunate, in that with all the rain and snow we have had this year, the water was running and there were numerous waterfalls, perfect lighting, with beautiful fluffy clouds, perfect for great photo shots. The sound of the water rushing accompanied us during our entire hike. The flowers had started to bloom and the setting was beautiful. In one of the washes, a tree was growing out of the side of a hill with an unusual, curled trunk. It was a most unusual sight. On the trails in this area, you will see pinon pines, junipers, agave, scrub oak, and cypress trees. You may also be lucky enough to see elk, deer, and javelina, along with many different birds.
Hiking the Munds Wagon Trail includes some boulder hopping, water crossings, and scrambling on slickrock. With the rain from the night before, we were careful on the boulders and slickrock, some of which were covered in slippery mud.
We had a quick break for photos and a snack before continuing up to the Cow Pies. These slickrock mounds appear like somewhere on another planet. If you take the trail above the Cow Pies towards the Hangover Trail, you can get wonderful photos of these unusual rock formations. This is where we decided to stop and have lunch. The wind was strong, so we hunkered down below the rock walls.
The rock formations change as you hike further on the trail and each time you turn, you will be rewarded with another picturesque view. While hiking on the Munds Wagon Trail, you can see the Mogollon Rim above and Mitten Ridge to the North.
We returned to the Huckaby Trailhead just as the weather was changing and it was beginning to rain. The hike was just over 6 miles. We all thanked our leader, Jim, for a great hike. Any day we can hike in Sedona is a perfect day.
Everyone, please practice a ‘leave no trace’ etiquette when visiting.
If you are interested in joining the hiking club, please visit the Sedona Westerners website at www.sedonawesterners.org/membership.