Schuerman Mt. Trail - Views and Beauty Wrapped in One
The Sedona Westerner’s Amblers group gathered at the Posse Grounds parking lot on October 10th, 2014, in preparation for their weekly Thursday hike. This week’s hike was planned to cover a distance of approximately 3.5 miles and would follow the Schuerman Mountain Trail along with the Lime Kiln Trail. The Amblers were led by Ms. Reba Stone and the group’s Tailgater was Ms. Chris Green. This particular hike was planned to end at another destination and a vehicle was parked at the destination trailhead to allow the hikers to be shuttled back to the trailhead.
During the hike, Ms. Stone shared some history of how the mountain received its name. The mountain is named for Henry Schuerman, who was originally a Prescott hotel owner who moved to Sedona when he received some land through a loan default. According to the Sedona Historical Society, Henry and his wife, Doretta, planted Zinfandel vines on some of the land. This became Arizona’s first commercial winery. For about 25 years, the Schuerman winery provided wine to the villagers, loggers, cowboys and miners of the area.
Arizona went “dry’” on New Year’s Day, 1915, but Henry continued to produce wine. Sometime after Arizona went dry, Henry was arrested. He was taken to Prescott and served time under house arrest. He was later pardoned by the governor.
Schuerman Mountain Trail starts at a trailhead located behind the Sedona Red Rock High School. The trail wanders alongside of the high school for a short distance before heading out onto the mesa named Schuerman Mountain. About a quarter-mile into the hike the group reached a trail marker where hikers can either continue along the Schuerman Mountain Trail or branch off toward the Vista.
The climb is very gradual along a well-marked trail. Airport Mesa is an obvious site from across the valley and the hikers could see themselves climbing higher than the Airport Mesa plateau. The trail ended at the Vista. It was a magnificent view of the red rock mountains, showing the terrain along Oak Creek. Cathedral Rock stands out as a familiar landmark.
While the trail to the Vista was very well defined, the trail across the mesa had become a bit overgrown during the summer. This portion of the trail is quite exposed with little or no tree coverage, so warm weather hiking on this trail can be stressful to persons not prepared for the exposure to the open elements. It was obvious that only a few hikers had used this trail during the past summer. Still, the yellow desert flowers and green grasses across the wide mesa complemented the horizon of red rock mountains. The group chose to have their lunch break in an area of basalt rock formations that provided a perfect seating arrangement for friendly conversation and relaxation before continuing with the rest of the hike.
A marker was posted where the Schuerman trail intersects with the Lime Kiln Trail and the group made a left turn to begin their descent down the mesa. The descent along the Lime Kiln Trail was not terribly steep, but the trail was rockier than the earlier portion of the hike. The vegetation changed as well - desert holly, cats claw, ocotillo, cypress and pine trees began to line the trail and became more abundant the further the trail descended.
The trail forked where a slot canyon appeared. Here the group divided in two and one group proceeded down the slot canyon as the other group continued on a trail that roughly paralleled the slot canyon. The slot canyon was essentially a narrow, dry wash – although a small amount of water remained in the wash from the rain that had fallen the previous night. The group worked their way down five short, challenging – but not difficult - chutes and the trails converged back together a couple hundred yards from the destination trailhead along Lower Red Rock Loop Road.
If you are interested in joining the club, please go to our website at http://sedonawesterners.org or just come to one of our monthly meetings. The next one will be on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 7 pm at the Sedona Elks Club, 110 Airport Road.