November 27, 2015
by Barbara Sallows
The most important fact about hiking Doe Mountain with the Sedona Westerners is that one feels immediately welcome and safe. Brad Bell, the hike leader for the morning hike exudes a feeling of enthusiasm and complete ease for the adventure to come. He is assisted by Jan Taylor the co-leader who is also an experienced hiker and for all of the hikers, especially the newer ones, this is immeasurably comforting.
The trailhead off of Boynton Canyon Road is easily accessible and offers adequate parking and restrooms. This is an important feature, as there is little privacy available for a bathroom break along the way. When embarking on the trail, you immediately begin to traverse the switchbacks directly up the west side of Doe Mountain. The short hike is fun and challenging in places, particularly at the top where there is a narrow slot of rocks to shimmy thru. In the morning, the trail offers a shady respite before the bright sun at the top of the Mesa. The views along the switchbacks are almost as spectacular as those at the top so be sure to stop along the trail to take in the beauty. This is a popular trail so you are rarely alone and are likely going to encounter other hikers.
The view of Bear Mountain from the top of Doe Mountain
Once you reach the Mesa, there is no specific trail. The area opens up to the spectacular views like a gift. You can walk along the edge or traverse the center. If you are not of the faint at heart, you can step right up to the edge and gaze down to the valley below. These breathtaking sites are enhanced by the knowledge of the area shared by hike leader who points out the views of Bear, Maroon and Wilson Mountains; Boynton and Secret Canyons and Chimney Rock. While taking a much needed break, we are inspired by the history and beauty of this extraordinary place. Plenty of water and good snacks are important for refueling. Doe Mountain trail may not be long but it requires a good deal of energy. Good hiking shoes are always essential and hiking poles are a great help. Sitting atop the Mesa enjoying a peaceful moment under the watchful eye of an experienced hike leader is satisfying and renewing. The comradery shared with fellow hikers in this peaceful and mystical place is a moment to be savored.
The trek back down the mountain is fairly quick, happy to be in the cool shade again. Although this trail is rated moderate, there are a few challenges along the way for the less experienced. Doe Mountain is a beautiful trail with a reward at the top that is nothing short of sublime.