The recently opened Sedona View Trail lives up to its name, offering panoramic views of West Sedona in its entirety. The trail also provides a much-needed route for hikers and mountain bikers by connecting the Airport Mesa viewpoint (a popular spot to watch the sunset) and the Airport Mesa saddle, the location of a popular vortex. We highly recommend starting your hike at the trailhead that leads from the gravel parking lot on the left side of Airport Mesa Road, across from the viewpoint. The official trailhead is located here, and there’s usually plenty of parking unlike at the trailhead at the saddle. Sedona View Trail begins at the north end of the parking area.
Hike a mere 451 feet on the trail, and you’ll pass through a gated chain-link fence. Look to your right, and you’ll see the Shrine of the Red Rocks, a 60-foot-tall wooden cross. The Central Arizona Lodge No. 14 of Free and Accepted Masons of Arizona are the stewards of the landmark. The trail is uncomfortably close to the road here, however, it’s much safer than walking along the narrow, twisting street and dodging vehicles. You’re also treated to those aforementioned views of West Sedona including Capitol Butte, Coffee Pot Rock, Chimney Rock, Doe Mountain, Cockscomb, Sugar Loaf, Wilson Mountain and Oak Creek Canyon.
The trail leads downhill through moss-covered lava rocks, juniper trees and prickly pear cactus. During our hike, high winds meant airplanes at the nearby Sedona Airport were taking off in the opposite direction, so we were treated to several low-flying craft. (Note that the cars and the airport don’t leave much room for quiet and solitude along this trail.) After hiking half a mile, we walked under a canopy of trees only to discover views of the Airport Mesa saddle and its network of interconnected trails. Sedona View Trail ends at Airport Loop and the saddle about half a mile from the trailhead. We explored the area, snapping pictures of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte at Courthouse Butte Vista before returning the way we came for a round-trip hike of 1.2 miles. You will be hiking uphill back to your car; however, the short distance makes it easy. Time your hike at sunrise or sunset when the temperatures are cooler and the light on the red rocks is sublime.