Great Sunrise or Sunset Hike In Sedona - Doe Mountain Trail

July 10, 2022

We decided to hit a sunrise hike on our way out of Sedona. A combination of length, difficulty, proximity to Starbucks, and access to parking made Doe Mountain Trail a good choice for us.

We did this in October, and that requires an early morning. It is worth it. The good news is this is also a fantastic place to watch the sunset.

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The Hike

Doe Mountain Trail is in the Coconino National Forest and is a 1.8M acre United States National Forest in the vicinity of Flagstaff (and Sedona). Coconino is the word the Native American tribe, the Hopi, use for the Havasupai and Yavapai tribes.

The trail is well marked and is a simple switchback of about 1.5 miles. There was only one part where someone might have to put their hands down for a couple of feet.

The trail will ‘end’ at the top of the mesa. Keep heading east, it’s flat (it’s a mesa, after all), and there is a marker or two to get to the easternmost rim. We found a place to watch the colors come.

We spent time just sitting. There is something about the quiet of the desert in the morning. It is quiet and then slowly comes alive. That day we were joined by two hot air balloons that would become half a dozen. They would add a splash of color and fun to an incredible morning.

I love Mesas. I’m not sure why. Maybe because they often stand alone, or perhaps it’s the stark contrast to the surrounding area. Whatever it is, I find them mesmerizing.

Mesas form by weathering and erosion (that much I knew). Horizontally layered rocks were uplifted by tectonic activity (okay, I thought it was just erosion). The variations in the ability of different rock types to resist weathering and erosion cause the weaker types of rock to erode (that makes sense). Lava flows are particularly resistant and often form the top, or capstone, of the mesa. These differences in strength are what give mesas their distinctive shape. Finally, mesas are usually wider than they are tall. That makes sense too.

If you are in Sedona or passing through, this is a lovely way to experience the start or end of your day.

Follow the google map machine to the parking lot. It’s easy.

More photos and videos here.


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