A Hiking Group For Everyone
September 18, 2015
by Brad Bell
The Sedona Westerners start the hiking season in September and encourage community members and visitors to join them. Five hiking groups venture out each week with various hike ratings, ranging from easy to difficult. An additional special interest group meets monthly to learn about the area and its history. Each group offers hikes that provide the beautiful view of the area, the opportunity to meet new friends and a chance to get some good exercise. If you are interested in joining them on any hikes, below is a list of the hike groups, their types of hikes and the day of the week they venture out.
The Amblers hiking group meets every Thursday and consistently does the easiest of all the Sedona Westerners’ hikes. The Sedona Westerners’ guidelines state Ambler hiking distances should range between 2 to 5 miles with a mild elevation change. Within these guidelines a variety of Ambler hikes are offered and rated easy to moderate. Our favorite Ambler hikes are loops, but we have out-and-back and shuttle hikes too. All of them are an adventure into the scenic Sedona landscape. The Amblers group is a great place to start or restart hiking with a friendly bunch of people.
The Dogies hiking group meets every Tuesday and has 36 unique hikes throughout the Sedona area and some near Flagstaff during the hot months. The hikes cover about 5 to 8 miles, take 5 or 6 hours and are rated as moderate to difficult. The Dogies hikers are an adventurous and social group. Their hikes often require steep climbs with rock-scrambling and occasionally follow exposed ledges. Periodic stops for rest and scenic viewing give an opportunity to make new friends. It is a good group to build skills for the more difficult Mustang hiking group, or for Ambler hikers to try some moderate rated hikes. After hiking with the Dogies, you’ll know your way around the Sedona hiking trails.
The Mustang hiking group meets every Thursday and is for the more skilled hiker. The Mustang trail selection offers more physically and challenging hikes while featuring great scenic beauty. Varying in their degree of difficulty, the majority of Mustang hikes range from 7 to 9 miles and often have an elevation change of 1000 to 2000 feet (and sometimes more). Most hikes move along at a moderate to slightly above moderate pace.
If you enjoy Drover and Dogies hikes, but feel you could “up your game” a bit please join us. It is always a good idea to check the schedule ahead of time to determine if you want to do a moderate or a difficult hike on any particular day.
Sedona Westerners go on hikes of varying degrees of difficulty but all enjoy scenic views and the chance to make new friends. The hikes are split into various groups and also cover history and geology helping hikers with physical and mental fitness.
Rough Rider hiking group meets every Saturday and is the most difficult and challenging of The Sedona Westerners’ schedule. The hike distances most often range between 8 to 10 miles and the pace is generally faster. Significant elevation changes, as much as 3000 feet, with rock scrambling and ledge walking are a part of the Saturday hike commitment. These hikes are often led by our most experienced hikers who provide a great sense of security to participants. We recommend that hikers wait until they are comfortable with Mustang level hikes before participating in Rough Rider hikes. Some of our members choose to not attempt a Rough Rider hike while others happily look forward to the challenge. Above all, we want you to have a great trail experience on these hikes.
The Sedona Westerners has a long history of hiking on Sunday afternoons, dating back to the 1960s when hikers gathered at the County Building at 1:30 in the afternoon before each hike. Today the tradition continues with the Sunday afternoon Drover Hiking group who meet weekly at 1:00 p.m. However, all September, April, and May hikes are beginning at 8:00 a.m. to avoid the afternoon heat. Drover hikes are typically 3 to 4 miles long and last 3 to 4 hours, depending on the pace which is adjusted to fit the group. While most of the Sunday hikes are generally rated as easy or moderate, there are a few difficult hikes scheduled with steep climbs, rock scrambling, and ledge crossings. Hikers considering a Sunday hike should first check the website for the hike's rating.
The Trackers hiking group began their career with The Westerners as "Science Field Trips" in 2005. Tracker hikes are offered on selective Wednesdays and appeal to a wide audience sponsoring outings and hikes usually educational in nature. The Sedona Westerners like to think of themselves as not just an organization that helps our members with their physical fitness, but also with their mental fitness. Subjects on the hike cover archeology, geology, birding, botany, photography and history of the local areas. Tracker hikes are a great way to learn more about the greater Sedona area, the ancient people, the geology, and the culture of the first settlers. For the 2015/2016 season the Trackers are introducing new content that is going to be both fun and educational.
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, November 12, 2015 at 7 pm at Saint John Vianney Parish 180 St. John Vianney Lane, Sedona AZ 86336