Rough Riders Visit West Lee Mountain

February 10, 2023

By Allison Thomas

You never know what you might find on the trail. The Westerners found a jar filled with “I’ve been here!” notes at the top of West Lee Mountain.

The summit of Lee Mountain can be exceptionally difficult to reach. Having the ability to see the beauty and varying perspectives of Sedona and beyond made the decision to join the Rough Rider hike, led by Jay Mackey and co-led by Clay Dunsmore, a no-brainer.

Heading out from Courthouse trailhead, we were early enough to find a parking spot, which usually is no easy task. It was not long after the hike began that we started the steep climb! There was only one way to go …up! Just looking at where we were headed was daunting. Hence, the importance of looking at your feet and not at where you wanted to end up was key!

Slipping and sliding on red rock dust just made it all the more challenging. The rhythmic pattern of gasping for air became the beat our feet kept in order to keep up the pace of the ascent! Being in the middle of the pack is great motivation to maintain your stride. A brief pause, now and again, and the odd switchback allowed us to recuperate. Lee Mountain rises to almost 2000 feet to reach 6,591 feet in elevation. No wonder we were out of breath! In the distance to the north, Mount Humphreys could be seen in all its glory.

Finally, we reached the summit.  Here was where the hidden treasure was located, the sign-in jar containing the disintegrating slips of paper containing the names of all those hikers that summited before us! What joy it brought reading the names and recognizing Sedona Westerners on it and seeing my name from the first time I hiked Lee Mountain.

Today’s Rough Riders were eager to add their name to the list of conquerors. Much to the disappointment of these first timers, there was no pencil in the jar and no one had one in their pack. The disheartened hikers felt like they were somehow missing out.

We then realized we had only hiked half way to our ultimate goal - the lunch spot. Our leaders did not disappoint us with the spectacular views on all sides! Lee Mountain lies just south of Munds Mountain, separated from its larger neighbor, Gibraltar, which gets its name for its similarity to Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea.

As we headed back to the cars, we could not help but think how incredibly rewarding this hike was. Especially after turning around and looking up to see just how high we had climbed!

The Sedona Westerners always welcome new members.  Although today’s article is from the Rough Riders, our most advanced hiking group, we have hikes multiple days of the week for all abilities. If you are interested in joining the club, please visit our website at  You will find an interesting history, the whole season’s list of planned hikes, and a handy membership link. It only takes five minutes to sign and start your new adventures here in the Red Rocks.

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