Loy Butte P500 RS
The Cockscomb P300 RS
Doe Mountain P300 RS
Scheurman Mountain P300 RS
Coconino Point P300 RS
Table Top Mountain RS

Oct 11, 2022

With: Iris Ma
Tom Grundy
Eric Smith

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX


TomB had to drive home in the morning, and TomG had to drive Iris to the Flagstaff airport for an afternoon flight. That left four of us for an early morning outing, then just Eric and I for the remainder of the day. All of the day's summits are found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles.

Loy Butte

This was easily the most enjoyable outing of the day. The peak separates Lincoln and Loy Canyons, and is found just inside the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. The Loy Canyon TH is found near the northern end of Loy Butte Road, near the Honanki Heritage Site and a private ranch inholding. We used an Adam Walker GPX track from PB to find our way with little issue. The route follows the Loy Butte Trail north for about a mile, passing the private ranch on its eastern edge. We turned off the main trail at a large tree, turning west onto a social trail that starts climbing onto Loy Butte's eastern aspect. There are some stacked rocks to help one up the first class 3 section, and a neat sandstone groove that looks more difficult than it is. There are some Native American ruins found on several levels of cliffs on this side. It's surprising that these are in decent shape despite the complete lack of protections they are afforded. The largest was composed of several rooms with stacked rock walls, some windows, no ceilings. Some rooms looked to be dwellings while others appear to be for storage.

From the cliff ruins, the use trail goes south around the base of a mid-level cliff band, traversing a long distance around a south-facing drainage (where more ruins are found, including some petroglyphs) before climbing up for the final bit when east of the summit. There is some class 3 slab climbing on this last part, fun without being too difficult. With our cliff dwelling visits included, we were almost two hours in reaching the summit. The register we found was a bunch of loose pages dating back only a year - a fairly popular summit. The views today were outstanding, blue skies and much clearer than it had been the previous few days. We returned via much the same route, spending about 4hrs on the outing and returning by 11a. Tom and Iris headed off to Flagstaff while Eric and I headed to some easier summits to fill out the day.

The Cockscomb

Located on the northwest side of town, The Cockscomb makes for a short, fun scramble. We used the Aerie Trailhead, near the entrance to The Aerie, a gated community inholding in the Coconino National Forest. The route follows the Cockscomb Trail for about a mile until almost due north of the summit. An unsigned use trail then heads south towards the feature, with a nice bit of class 3 scrambling to get through the cliff band that surrounds the summit area. Some stacked rocks help one up the last bit. After this, it's an easy walk across the summit ridge to the summit. It had only been a short time since we had a cloudless sky, but already they were making a return in earnest. Back via the same route, we spent about an hour and three quarters at a leisurely pace.

Doe Mountain

This is a very easy, very popular summit just north of The Cockscomb. The Bear Mountain/Doe Mountain TH is on the NW side of the summit. A maintained trail leads to the summit plateau. Eric had done this one a few days ago, so he sat it out while I went up and back in about 45min. The trail actually goes to an overlook north of the summit, so one needs to find one of several social trails that can take you the remaining way. The summit is somewhat lush with trees and brush and provides little in the way of views.

Scheurman Mountain

This one is found on the southwest side of town. There is a maintained trail to the summit, starting from an unmarked TH on the local high school property. One gets the feeling that they really don't want the public using it, but there's no signage to forbid parking. It took us half an hour to make our way to the broad summit area where a few rocks serve as the highpoint. There is a nice view of Capitol Butte to the north, across town.

Coconino Point - Table Top Mountain

The Sedona airport lies atop Table Top Mountain, its highpoint found at the far northeast end, according to the topo map. There is free parking at the Airport Mesa TH below the airport on the NE side, but there's room for only 9 cars and a handicap spot. It is incredibly popular since it provides easy access to the Airport Mesa Vortex found at the end of the maintained Summit Trail. If you don't know about the Sedona vortices, consider yourself lucky. Google it if you want to descend into the abyss of New Age-iness bullshit that fuels not a small part of town. There is abundant parking further up the road at the airport scenic overlook where we parked, $3 with no time limit.

It was already 4:30p when we started out, giving us about an hour before sunset. Our first stop was the airport overlook, a PB-only point that has nice views overlooking Sedona to the north, but not really a summit. We then went looking for a way to visit the highpoint of Table Top Mtn, no easy feat. Our first attempt followed Shrine Rd around the north side of the airport, but we eventually ended up at a tall, gated and locked fence that was going to be too much trouble to surmount. We returned back near to the start and picked up the Sedona View Trail that goes around the north side of the airport and down to the Airport Mesa TH and Votex, and a network of trails. We took the short detour to visit the vortex with dozens of our closest friends. One woman was sitting off to the side in a cross-legged pose while another filmed her from behind, no doubt to end up on an Instagram page. It was all quite laughable, but probably no sillier than turning another PB-only point to green on the app, something we did while sitting on the summit rock.

Safely back down from the vortex, we continued northeast on the trail network to the edge of a residential development, then a use trail uphill to Cococino Point where we arrived just before sunset. We sat on some rocks looking to the south and shared a few bowls to help us enter the area-appropriate consciousness that the vortex was unable to provide us. We then returned back to the maintained trails, starting back up the Sedona View Trail. Just past its junction with the Airport Loop Trail, we went cross country up the slopes to the edge of the airport and its highpoint. We stopped at the gate just outside the tarmac. The formidible fence was scalable, but there was no discernably higher point on the other side to make it worth risking a federal offence. We then went around the perimeter of the airport fencing to return to the Sedona View Trail, and back to the parking lot just before needing headlamps. There was no one collecting money when we got back, suggesting one could save the $3 if you wanted to do this as a twilight adventure.


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For more information see these SummitPost pages: The Cockscomb - Doe Mountain

This page last updated: Wed Jan 11 13:53:02 2023
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