Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

November 5, 2010

Dogies Hike Fay Canyon


by Jetta Meyer

The Fay Canyon Overlook Hike is a popular Westerner hike that is on the schedule every year. This well-known hike is nestled in the Coconino National Forest. The trail begins at a broad path and crosses two washes before ascending Bear Mountain. Native Americans named Bear Mountain for its resemblance to a sleeping bear.

Once ascending the bear, the trail narrows and becomes steep and rocky in places. This ascent is necessary in order to overlook Fay Canyon. The canyon is named after Alvin Fay, a rancher in the 1860’s who was able to see the establishment of one of the first territorial counties in Arizona in 1864. It was not until 50 years later that the US Congress found Arizona fit for statehood.

Dogies Pause to enjoy the views of Fay Canyon. Left to right: Jetta Meyer, Mickey Gershtenson, Bob Gardner, Linda Schermer, Doug Reinika, Diane Luce, Sharon Wilson, Janet Wheeler. Photo by Peter Baenziger.

The overlook hike was a little over 4 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of 800 ft. Although short in length, it was just the right challenge. As you climb Bear Mountain, stunning views immediately reward you. Looking to the South and East you will see Doe Mountain, Thunder Mountain also called Capitol, Mescal and Chimney Rock. The Gray Back Mountain range which runs from Lizard Head to Coffee Pot, are constantly on your right.

This Falls abundant rains have provided the Ocotillo with lush foliage, and the blooming Mariola were prolific, providing a sweet aroma as they were passed. The Doggies were blessed to complete this pleasant hike in between rainstorms.

The lunch break location provided even more panoramic views where you can also see the major mountain ranges of the Village of Oak Creek as well as looking North towards Wilson and Oak Creek Canyon. Some of the Doggies lunched at the infamous Bootlegger Cave, only to find the cupboard was bare.

As you looked below you could see the Fay Canyon trail. This well traveled trail follows a streambed into Secret Mountain Wilderness. The main attraction of the Fay Canyon trail is the Fay Canyon Arch. One of the largest arches in Arizona. The arch is 25 ft thick, 20 feet wide and 15 feet high. Hikers are also able to see this arch from Bear Mountain.

The Dogies were now ready to return to the parking lot. Julie Zabilski did a great job leading this Dogie hike. Thank you Julie. The trailhead to Bear Mountain begins and ends with hikers passing through a square opening. Once through the opening, to the right, hikers will notice a memorial to Steve Nahmanson, a former city councilman and an avid Westerner hiker. As the Dogies passed by the memorial at the completion of the hike, the sentiment was, Steve we all miss you. Happy Trails to you.

The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website: You may also join by attending a monthly meeting, our next one will be on Thursday, November 11th, beginning at 7p.m. at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley Center, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona.