Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

November 7, 2014

A Round Trip on Chuck Wagon Trail


by Michael Henry

The Sedona Westerners’ Drovers group gathered in the parking lot of Sedona’s Posse Grounds Park on Sunday, September 14th 2014 for their second hike of the season. Although the weather forecast called for a slim chance of rain, it was a typically beautiful Sedona afternoon – blue skies and a few white puffy clouds. On this afternoon, the Drovers would be hiking the Chuck Wagon Trail. Once everyone was signed in, the day’s leaders, Mary and Michael McCaffrey, reminded the group of the hiking rules and everyone set off for the trail head.

The hike started from the trail head at the parking lot on Long Canyon Road. It was a fairly easy hike over rolling terrain that allowed the hikers to maintain a conversation with their hiking partners – for as long as the natural beauty along the trail wasn’t distracting them. About a quarter-mile into the hike, the group reached a trail marker highlighting the way for continuing along Chuck Wagon Trail as well as to Devil’s Bridge. Initially, the trail was among the manzanita, juniper and cypress trees, gradually and gently increasing its altitude by a few hundred feet. But what a difference that few hundred feet made! The trail became more open once it reached its peak and the view was of red rocks and blue sky. Lizard Head rock was one of the first prominent rock features the hikers spotted from the trail. And shortly afterward, Balanced Rock was seen from multiple vantage points. A little more than a mile into the hike, the trail reached another trail marker which provided the opportunity for hikers to continue on Chuck Wagon or divert along a trail to Devil’s Bridge.

The hike along Chuck Wagon Trail was never difficult and the round-trip distance of the hike was approximately 6 miles. The group crossed several rocky arroyos and had to navigate around some standing water that remained from the recent monsoon rains. The presence of tadpoles in one pool of water was evidence that the water had been there for a while. A word of advice: stay on the dry ground. One of the group tried to travel the shortest distance between Point A and Point B around some standing water and learned how slippery the wet dirt can be (the only injury was to their pride – and having to suffer until the wet socks and hiking boots dried out). This was the one time no one had their cameras ready.

The group returned after it reached Vultee Arch Road (FR 152), following the same path back to their vehicles. The pace of the hike picked-up as the skies darkened and a few flashes of lightening were seen and claps of thunder were heard. But, it didn’t rain. Upon their return to the Long Canyon Road parking lot, the traditional high-fives were exchanged by the hikers, signifying the successful completion of the hike.

If you are interested in joining the club, please go to our website at or just come to one of our monthly meetings. The next one will be on Thursday, Nov 13, 2014 at 7 pm at the Sedona Elks Club, 110 Airport Road.