Jim Thompson Trail

This was our last day hiking in Sedona. We debated revisiting one of our earlier hikes but in the end decided to try a new one. One that we had tried to do before: the Jim Thompson Trail. When we had tried to access this trail the first time the main creek had been surging due to heavy rains and we could not make the crossing. On this day, everything was quite dry.

Our hike was a touch over 4 hours and we covered 5 miles. There was some climbing although it was pretty easy for the most part. Definitely not in the strenuous category of hiking.

Here is a video overview of the hike on the GaiaGPS app:

And here is a video of the hike.

We had trouble finding a parking spot at the Brins Mesa Trailhead. Clearly the spring break crowds had descended on Sedona. The crowds all seem to gravitate towards the most congested trails which, in this case, would be Brins Mesa. Access to the Jim Thompson Trail is from the same trailhead except that virtually no one decided to go that way.

The trail begins through a forest and it does cross several creek beds.

It does not take long before you see a range of mountains on the horizon.

When we attempted this hike before, we were forced to turn back because of the surging waters in this creek. A few weeks later, and the water was gone. The creeks were dry.

The path is relatively wide and smooth for the most part and it made for a very pleasant hike. We were finally seeing some milder temperatures towards the end of March. Until now, things had been fairly cool. Still fine for hiking but not for shorts and t-shirts.

There is a gentle ascent as you begin the trail. The elevation rise is about 450 feet or so and it might raise your heart rate slightly.

I did not really notice the elevation as I was continually stopping to take photographs along the way.

Once we reached the summit of this gentle climb, the forest thinned out and we had much better views of the mountains in this area.

This set of photos will give you an idea as to the beautiful vistas on this trail. During our 4 hours or so of hiking, we encountered only a few other hikers, perhaps six or so. Very quiet trail.

The trail winds its way around Steamboat Rock, the mountain to the right of this photograph.

Looking back on the trail will bring other mountains into view.

We weren’t sure how long we would hike this trail. Lorraine was nursing a knee injury from her fall at the Chuckwagon Trail and she was experiencing some pain.

The problem when hiking in Sedona is that there is so much to see that it inspires you to keep going.

And we did. The Jim Thompson Trail is an out and back trail although it does connect to several other trails as you turn around Steamboat Rock and descend into the nearby canyon.

This is one part of Steamboat Rock. Although they are too far away for the camera to pick them up, there were 4 rock climbers attempting the ascent. This “rock” is roughly 5,200 feet in elevation and I am guessing that the base elevation was roughly 4,400 feet. The problem is that this part of the mountain is a near vertical ascent. I suspect these climbers would have spent the entire day scaling up and then back down.

Here Lorraine is looking back towards Steamboat Rock and the climbers.

As we turned away from Steamboat Rock we began the descent into the canyon area.

The trail narrows here and the descent is roughly 400 feet and fairly steep. At the bottom we decided that it was time to turn around. There are connecting trails to Wilson Mountain but we were running out of time.

This was our view as we turned around to begin making our way back to the Jim Thompson trailhead.

The last few hundred feet of the hike.

And the very last climb in Sedona.

Hard to express just how much we enjoyed being here. I love the southwest and I love Sedona. Thankful to have been able to spend a month here to really explore the area.

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