The Mescal Mountain Trail is a system trail in the Coconino National Forest. It's well marked with signs and easy to follow. It's also one of the most popular mountain biking trails in Sedona, but hikers will love it as well.
The route forms a loop by connecting three system trails: Deadman’s Pass, Mescal Mountain and Long Canyon. It boasts long views of Thunder Mountain (actually a butte) as it hugs the base of Mescal Mountain (actually a mesa).
There are two social trails off this loop leading to beautiful Sinagua cliff dwellings. The first set of cliff dwellings is above the “Birthing Cave,” located in the Long Canyon section of the loop. (See our page on the Birthing Cave for details).
The second cliff dwelling is called Altar Cave, located along the south side of Mescal Mountain. These are among the easiest ruins for visitors to reach since they do not require a long approach hike. (See our page on Altar Cave for details).
Look closely at the Mescal Mountain Trail and you will find lots of fossilized sea shells like the one in the photo below embedded in the rock.
FINDING THE TRAILHEADS
From highway 89A in West Sedona take Dry Creek Road north to the stop sign. The Mescal Mesa Loop can be accessed from four different parking areas: two on Long Canyon Road to the right, one on Boynton Canyon Road to the left, and the paved lot at Boynton Canyon off Boynton Pass Road.
GET THE GPS TRACK FOR EVERY TRAIL IN SEDONA INCLUDED WHEN YOU PURCHASE THE WANDERER"S GUIDE!
Only the Boynton Canyon parking area requires a Red Rock Pass as of 2020. To access the loop from Boynton Canyon Road you will need to use the Canyon of Fools and Yucca Trails, adding approximately 1.5 miles roundtrip to your hike. I discourage hiking up the Canyon of Fools Trail due to mountain bikes coming down at high speed through a narrow ravine.
4.7 miles around the main loop
EST. HIKING TIME
2.5 hours for the full loop, longer to visit any of the cliff dwellings
BEST TIME TO GO
Sep - May
Yes. Must be leashed at all times. Please pick up after your pet.