Few things match the beauty of Red Rock Country covered in a blanket of snow, especially when you consider that it’s a rare and fleeting sight. If you don’t want to waste time finding an off-the-beaten-path trail to explore after a snowstorm, head down Chavez Ranch Road and hike Herkenham Trail. Named after Norm Herkenham, a local resident who worked for the National Park Service and volunteered with Friends of the Forest (he passed away in 2010), the trail is easy to reach. Its lack of shade makes it an ideal winter hike (it can be uncomfortably hot in the summer). And to be completely honest, the scenery along the hike is only noteworthy when there’s snow on the ground.
From the trailhead on Chavez Ranch Road, begin hiking Old Post Trail, a popular mountain biking route and a former road. The trail meanders through a forest of pinon pine and juniper with mesas on your right and Schuerman Mountain on your left. As you hike, glance over your shoulder for beautiful views of snowcapped Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. You’ll enjoy these more on the return route of this out-and-back hike.
After walking 0.34 mile, you’ll come to the intersection of Old Post and Ramshead trails. Stay on Old Post. You will hike under telephone poles 0.55 mile from the trailhead and come upon Herkenham Trail after you’ve hiked Old Post for nearly 0.75 mile. Turn left on Herkenham Trail, which climbs through fragrant forests of pine trees, crosses a wash and traverses the ledge of a shallow canyon. Some sections of the trail are relatively steep, so watch your footing, especially if there’s snow or ice on the ground. After hiking 1.64 miles, the trail begins to parallel Upper Red Rock Loop Road, putting you within sight and sound of traffic. Herkenham Trail actually ends at the road, directly across from Sedona Red Rock High School, 1.82 miles from the Old Post Trailhead. Turn around and return the way you came and enjoy those views of Cathedral Rock and Courthouse Butte. Bonus: It’s all downhill on the way back to the trailhead.
SEDONA MOUNTAIN BIKING: Trail Masters