The weather outside is frightful…frightfully hot! When you want to find a swimming hole where you can beat the heat, check out Weir Trail. An offshoot of Bell Trail located east of I-17, Weir Trail ends at an idyllic, shaded area of Wet Beaver Creek that’s perfect for picnics or a refreshing dip. Just keep in mind that getting to this special spot requires hiking for several miles along a relatively exposed path so plan accordingly.
Start your hike on Bell Trail, which was built as a cattle trail in 1932 by Charles Bell. The trail is wide, almost completely flat and dusty, and you won’t find much shade, so start your hike early or late in the day and bring plenty of water. During our jaunt, the trail was studded with orange, white, red and purple wildflowers. The path runs parallel to Wet Beaver Creek, and the sound of the rushing water offers a whisper of the relief that lays ahead. Lava- and cactus-studded mesas rise around you, but you won’t see many red rocks on this part of the journey. After hiking for almost a mile, look to the left for a large lava rock that tumbled down from the mesa above. The rock is covered with green lichen and interesting petroglyphs and pictographs. Continue on (keep an eye out for rattlesnakes – one crossed our path during our hike), and you’ll come to the intersection of Bell Trail and White Mesa Trail 1.77 miles from the trailhead. Apache Maid Trail meets Bell Trail 2.29 miles into your hike. You’ll finally see the signs for Weir Trail on your right after you’ve been hiking a hot 2.44 miles.
Weir Trail is narrow and surrounded by tall grasses. It also offers views of some unusual red rock formations. You’ll finally reach much-needed shade and the creek after hiking 2.73 miles. Check out the United States Geological Survey stream-gauging station and the small weir, or dam. Look for a path that leads down to the creek, and pick a spot on one of the flat rock shelves where you can lounge for hours. Dangle your feet in the water or completely immerse yourself. Fish swim in the creek and cattails line its banks. Delicate spider webs are woven into the surrounding cottonwood trees. It’s a little slice of paradise in what otherwise might be an unbearably hot summer. Hike back the way you came for a 5.46-mile round-trip hike.
SEDONA MOUNTAIN BIKING: Trail Masters