Munds Mountain Trail No. 77 in Sedona

The remains of a lean-to built above Schnebly Hill in 1930 for a scene in Zane Grey’s “Last of the Duanes.”

Want to see the only remains of a movie set from Sedona’s film history? Hike this trail.

 

TEXT BY ERIKA AYN FINCH. PHOTOGRAPH BY DEB WEINKAUFF.

The only remnant of any movie set ever built in Sedona is a tall rock chimney and fireplace shrouded in brush and trees on a rocky basalt road at the top of the Mogollon Rim. Reaching the ruin, which was part of a set for Last of the Duanes (directed by Alfred L. Werker in 1930), isn’t easy, but you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views to be had on any Sedona trail.

The easiest way to reach the chimney and our ultimate destination, nearby Munds Mountain Trail No. 77, is with an all-terrain vehicle. At a minimum, you’ll need a high-clearance vehicle to drive 7 miles up Schnebly Hill Road to the Schnebly Hill Vista, which we are using as our mileage starting point for this hike. If you aren’t driving something rugged, park your car at the vista, walk up the road about 100 feet and turn right onto Forest Road 153A. If you do have an ATV or even a tricked-out Jeep, you can drive this gnarly road which hugs the edge of the Mogollon Rim. Whether walking or driving, when you reach the first fork in the road, turn right. After 1.1 miles, you’ll reach a second fork – go left. At the small microwave antenna, make a right. You can park your vehicle here if you are driving. The basalt road narrows dramatically and heads downhill. Keep your eyes up and to the left, and after only a couple hundred feet, you’ll see the chimney and fireplace. You’ll need to make a short scramble uphill to explore it closer.

Rather than end your hike here, we highly recommend you continue on the road until you’re 1.56 miles from Schnebly Hill Vista. It’s here that the road intersects with Schnebly Hill Trail. Turn left and wander through a serene forest filled with pine, oak and maple trees (it’s especially beautiful up here in the fall). The trail boasts views of Mitten Ridge, West Sedona and the Verde Valley that rival anything you’ll see from an aircraft.

You’ll pass through a series of two cattle gates, one after hiking 2 miles and the other after you’ve hiked 2.25 miles. Schnebly Hill Trail ventures out onto a narrow ridge with views of Mitten Ridge on one side and Jacks Canyon on the other. The San Francisco Peaks are over your shoulder. It’s at this ridge that Schnebly Hill, Hot Loop, Jacks Canyon and Munds Mountain Trail No. 77 intersect. If you haven’t had enough birds-eye views, and you’re a strong hiker, we recommend you continue on Munds Mountain Trail, which makes a steep, rocky, 0.5-mile climb through a series of switchbacks to the top of Munds Mountain (take note – this isn’t a trail for those with a fear of heights). The top of the mountain is covered in tall grasses and some trees. You’ll need to bushwack your way to the edge of the mountain for dizzying views of the red rocks. When you’re done exploring, return the way you came for an approximately 6.5-mile round-trip hike.

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