Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

March 25, 2011

Pyramid School Loop


by Cy and Phyllis Elliott

On a cool but sunny February morning, the mustang group gathered in anticipation of a new hike, Pyramid School Loop. Hike leader, Bob Shuman and co leaders John and Deborah Losse had scouted it earlier in the week. After squeezing into as few cars as possible, we drove to the trail head which was off of Upper Red Rock Loop.

Starting off in warm layers of clothing, a brisk pace as well as a steep climb brought us quickly to our first of many “clothing adjustments” where we enjoyed spectacular views of Cathedral Rock. Our climb was worth the effort as when we reached the top, not only were there fantastic views but also several pit houses. These low rock structures were most likely built by the Sinagua People. Since there were commanding views in all directions this spot probably had been an observation area.

Columnar Basalt — lunch break on top. Photo by Cy & Phyllis Elliott.

From the pit area we carefully hiked down loose rock to our first rest spot. Here we sat on rocks and ledges taking in the beautiful canyon floors and walls beneath and above us as we snacked.

After our break we continued on. Our leader, cautioned us to watch out for the many Prickly Pear Cacti along the trail but several in our group did a poor job avoiding them resulting in stops to remove spines from legs and clothing. As we entered a wash we paused and our leader pointed out what would be our lunch spot. Off to the east we viewed high columns which were the seldom seen Columnar Basalt. Our lunch was to be at the top!

Continuing through the wash, with sporadic pools of water, we reached what was the challenge of the day, a steep scramble up black and gray volcanic boulders. It was a slow climb but once we all reached the top someone proclaimed it “a boulder dash”. Maybe that should be what this hike is called!

We scattered around what was the top of the columns for our lunch. Unfortunately, this peaceful, beautiful spot was marred when Bob pointed out two areas with graffiti. These drawings were a blue heart with initials LTTL inside. One had been partially removed but one was recent. We learned that a person or persons has been doing this same pattern for some time. Many hours have been spent removing this desecration. We all were angered that someone would deface this natural beauty. Please stop! (REPORT GRAFFITI IN THE COCONINO FOREST BY CONTACTING THE RED ROCK RANGER DISTRICT AT 928-282-4119.)

We continued on and within a short distance we reached the highest point of this hike at 5,533 feet. It was a winding, mostly downhill hike from there. We observed what probably a high grazing area was the remnants of a pond with a berm at one end. Traveling on the Scheurman Trail we reached the high school, and then hiked a bike trail to our cars. Our group agreed this hike of 6.2 miles was challenging and beautiful.

The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website: You may also join by attending the next monthly meeting, which will be held on Thursday, April 14th; at 7 pm. Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley Center, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona.