Airport Loop Trail – Brins Mesa Trail: Sedona Arizona
I’m still basking in the afterglow of vacation in Sedona Arizona, even with the looming blizzard here in Minnesota. Crazy weather for sure. But what would Minnesotans talk about if it wasn’t for the weather? Going on their next adventure, I’m sure.
The weather in Arizona was a little goofy while we were there too. It was in the 50’s and 60’s for the first few days we were there. Then if you were at a higher elevation it was a little chilly, and of course it cooled off a bit in the evening, so I found myself putting on a coat, taking off my coat, putting on a vest, taking off a vest, several times a day. But the sun was shining and I was out exploring new territory, I could live with a few wardrobe changes.
If you read my last posting you know we started out our day in Jerome, Arizona. A cute little town that has a unique character. Our second stop was Sedona, Arizona.
Before we left Minnesota, we heard from a lot of people that we needed to go to the airport to check out the view. It was on our list though we figured we would go to the visitor center first. However, we saw the signs for the airport first, so we decided to stop.
We drove up the road to the airport, also know as Table Top Mountain. Part way up there is a small parking lot for the trail, which was full and my understanding is that this is normal for this trail. So, we drove all the way up to the top and parked in the large lot up there. It does cost $3.00 to park there, but it’s good all day, so you can go back for sunset if you want. And since I mentioned parking fees, you do need to purchase parking pass to park at the trail heads. However, know that this pass does not cover all parking areas and you will need to pay additional parking or access fees for various other areas.
Fee paid, car parked, backpack loaded with camera gear and water, we were ready to hit our first trail in Arizona. All the reports that we received from people were spot on. The views of Sedona from the airport are spectacular. We spent a few hours on the trail, we hiked over to the summit. Along the way we also spotted the superintendent from our tiny little school district. Such a small world.
While we were at the Summit and vortex area we spotted three individuals. Two were lying on their backs, arms stretched out, on the edge of the rocky slope, while the third beat a drum over them. This is not something I would do. We never did figure out what they were doing, but it was interesting.
We did not complete the whole loop. We hiked from the upper airport parking lot, to the summit, which is 1.2 miles, we went up to the top, then down and we walked a bit down the loop trail. The first part of this was a bit tricky, but from what I read the rest gets better though it is rocky and steep in some places, but overall a moderate hike, and just a bit over three miles on top of the 1.2 to the parking lot, so be aware of that in your hiking plans.
Also, a hiking must in Arizona is to take plenty of water and wear good shoes. It is dry, rocky terrain and at higher altitudes than you may be used to, so staying hydrated is very important. All the hiking maps, guides and locals will tell you, “don’t forget your water bottle.”
I also took a walking pole, which helps take some strain off of my knees and adds some confidence on the steep slopes. I carry a lot of gear on my back so I really do appreciate the extra little boost I get from my walking pole. Sometimes it gets in the way though while I am trying to take pictures or if the terrain I am clambering over requires two hands. I have to say this trip was a little nerve wracking for me due to the heights.
In my younger years my husband and I spent a bit of time rock climbing. I never gave the height a second thought. But for some reason this trip, the heights really made me uncomfortable. I felt dizzy and a little wonky. While we were walking out to the summit there was two incidences where we were hiking, not on real high ground or and edge but I had quite a little rush of dizziness. We wondered if I was feeling a vortex, but the feeling stayed with me the whole trip and was really apparent in the Grand Canyon. I returned home with the same dizzy feeling. It’s not vertigo, so I am thinking with the flight and dry weather my sinuses could be just a little wonky. I hope that I am not affected the same way when I go to Alaska this summer. I don’t like feeling held back, I want to be on the edge. Just not over the edge.
We also had three Apache helicopters fly over us, while we almost back to our car. They were really loud and very cool. We beat feet back to the car and over to the airport where we watched them take off. They each took turns, leaving the ground, then the one that took off would hover while they waited for the next and so on until all three were in the air. Then they took formation and flew off. The husbands we oohing and ahhing the whole time. I must admit, it was pretty cool.
After our hike on Airport Loop Trail, we made it to downtown Sedona. We stopped at the visitor center, got our parking permit and lots of information on various trails and things to do in the area. However, before we could go any further we needed to refuel. Lunch was calling our name.
A local girl gave me a recommendation for a nice BBQ place. She said they had good food at reasonable prices. It was easy to find, and we were able to find parking about a block away. The Outlaw Grill, located at 250 Jordan Road Sedona, Arizona. It is a small little place, there are a few tables, which seem to be in an indoor alley way and there is a window where you place your order. They do bring the food to you, the prices were reasonable, and yes, the BBQ was great. I had fries which I thought were good. My husband had the coleslaw, which he said was so-so. I did not see a gluten free option, so I ordered my meal without a bun. I still got a bun. My girlfriend was happy though because she got an extra brioche bun, which she said was really good.
Tummies filled, we walked around Sedona for a while. We checked out the shops, bought a few souvenirs and headed for our next trail. We didn’t know exactly where that would be at, but traffic was bad going through town so we stayed on Jordan Road, which paralleled the main drag through town. It meandered through a neighborhood, where it ended a Jordan Road Trailhead.
You can take many different routes from here, but we were going to be heading up towards Brins Mesa. We were hopeful that we would get a nice sunset here. The rocks of Mormon canyon did light up very pretty for us, though I think next time I will have to go with the view from the airport, because that is the view EVERYONE suggested for sunset.
I will have to say the trail at Brins Mesa was one of the prettiest trails we were on. It was also the least crowded, which also made it one of my favorites. I found two good websites that explained the trail and terrain very well. So, if you are planning a trip or just want to read about it please go and visit these sites. They’ve done an excellent job.:
It was a full day and we were exhausted by time we made it back to the house we had rented. Pretty much we cleaned up and went to bed. It was well worth it though, as Sedona dazzled us with beautiful red rocks, spectacular views and rugged terrain.
As always Thanks for stopping & adventure on!
You can view more images from these hikes at: Airport Loop - Brins Mesa