On Friday we returned to the Aerie Trailhead and the Cockscomb Trail to hike another loop. This time we followed Outer Limits out to the Axis Trail and looped back to the Aerie Trailhead via Cockscomb. We were out for 4 hours and we hiked 6.34 miles. An easy hike with little in the way of challenges. Not the most scenic of hikes in this area of Sedona. More of a nice walk really. Which was a good thing as we tackled the very challenging Bear Mountain the following day.
This video provides an overview of the hike along with some clips of the trails we followed.
The start of the hike was Cockscomb Trail. We have hiked this trail multiple times now as it connects to other trails to form a loop. Our first connecting trail was Outer Limits. We maintained a very fast pace through Cockscomb as we had covered this ground several times before.
The trail is generally very easy and smooth.
As Cockscomb winds along, various mountains come into view.
You do have to be mindful that sharp needles are always nearby.
Moving along the Outer Limits trail the landscape begins to shift to a forested area.
The mountains disappear from view although the red rocks are the dominant ground cover.
Lorraine looks back on the Outer Limits trail to the Cockscomb mountain that we had climbed earlier in the week.
Once we looped back towards the basin the mountains reappeared. When hiking Sedona we were constantly surprised by the mountains dropping from view and then coming back into view a few hundred feet further along the trail.
These views would soon disappear again as we made the turn to the Axis Trail.
To connect to the Axis Trail we decided to take the short connector Bolo Trail from Outer Limits.
In a few hundred feet we connected to the Axis Trail.
As the Axis Trail winds back to Cockscomb the mountains reappear into view.
Once we connected back to the Cockscomb Trail we could see Bear Mountain out in the horizon.
Just before the end of the trail we came across this formation. I somehow suspect that this is not a natural formation.
Extracting and moving rocks make mountain soils more prone to erosion in an environment where new soil creation requires thousands of years. It also disturbs adjacent fragile vegetation. We have come across some people that hike the area and do not consider the consequence of their actions. Whether it is walking in signed restricted areas, building cairns like this one, or leaving trash on the trails, the actions have consequences on this beautiful area.
The crowded trails are very busy this time of year. And there is no enforcement on the trails. I very much doubt that whoever decided to build a cairn here is familiar with Leave No Trace.