Twin Buttes - Submarine Rock

May 6, 2016

Wayne Lopez
By Wayne Lopez

What would one do on a cold day in Sedona? Perhaps, put on another layer, add some gloves and join the “Sedona Westerners” for a fun hike around the Twin buttes. It seemed like a good idea for this hiker, so the morning of January 26th; he joined up with the “Dogies” and they started the hike on the Mystic Trail just off Chapel Road.

There was good parking just off the road for a number of cars in this location. The Sedona Westerners followed their usual etiquette and combined their car travel from Posse Grounds so there was room for others to park as well. This day, well-seasoned veterans John Avery and Bill Brown led 25 “Westerners” in two groups. The temp was still below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but felt much cooler from a gusty north wind and the shade of the high rocks on Mystic Trail.

The jagged red rocks of Twin Buttes, showing the many layers of the formation. Hiking around the buttes, Sedona Westerners enjoyed excellent vistas in all directions. Photo by Wayne Lopez.

They left Mystic for “Hog” named trails that indicated to the hikers that there must be a plentitude of javelinas in this area, although none were spotted on that day. Eventually they took the high road via “Hog Heaven”. This hiker noted that this must be a good trail with such a distinctive name and indeed it was. There were many excellent vistas in a panorama from west to north to east. This was also a well-done bike trail for which Sedona has become known, but how anyone could possibly keep a bike on this trail with the spectacular views was a mystery to all. Here the hikers started to feel the warming rays of the Arizona sun from time to time as the trail constantly rose and fell and turned following the landscape’s undulating contours.

Because of the shade, it was difficult to find a comfortable snack point, until they turned the northerly corner and encountered more sun. After a cool shortened snack, they continued on this spectacular trail now looking high over the “Broken Arrow Canyon” to the north. They were told by one of their members that the many Arizona Cypress that they observed below had all grown since the filmings of the classic films in Sedona many years ago. It didn’t take long once the cattle stopped grazing to change the landscape of these once grasslands.

Also from this vantage point a little eastward, an imposing red rock in the perfect shape of a submarine came into view. Hence it’s name forevermore, and their next destination. We left their lofty purchase and entered the former grasslands weaving their way across the Broken Arrow Trail and the popular jeep trail. Both trails lead to one of the most visited promontories in Sedona, “Chicken Point”. After building up still much needed internal heat by climbing the “Submarine”, they were able to find a spot high in sun and get seclusion from strong north wind. Here they enjoyed a much appreciated lunch break.

After lunch the hike went faster as they continued on to their final destination, “Chicken Point “. Apparently back in the day, the locals used to bring their vehicles out to the point if they weren’t chicken. It was an interesting name derivation, but true? They weren’t sure. After a few minutes they arrived at Chicken Point and no jeeps were present. Amazing! They had two new Westerners that day on their first hike with them. The hikers found it was great to revisit the joy of their first time at this overlook, especially when they saw the look on the new hikers faces standing on top of the Chicken Point boulder. It was a delightful experience for newcomers as well as the experienced hikers at they took in the spectacular view towards Bell Rock. This view never gets old and is usually one of first for many who have visited this area. After that, it was pretty much downhill from there to Little Horse trail, onto the Chapel trail. Chapel Trail gave them a great view of the Chapel embedded in the red rock which by then was in full sun.

Is there a better way to spend 4 1/2 hours traveling five hours circumventing the Twin Buttes with the Sedona Westerners on a cool day in Sedona? These 25 Sedona Westerners think not. They all say to please come, join them next week or whenever you can.

If you are interested in joining the club, please visit the Sedona Westerners website at


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