Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sedona - Chicken Point and the "Hog" Trails

 (This is an ongoing series recapping my March trip to the Sedona, Arizona area)

After a wonderful hike on Sedona's Hangover Trail, I was relaxing in my friends Hans and Lisa's RV when Lisa gasped "Oh my gosh - look at this!"  On her laptop was a YouTube video showing some mountain biker riding across an extremely steep redrock cliff.  The "trail" (if it could be called that) happened to be in Sedona, and was called the White Line, after a prominent white band in the rock.  (See the video here.)

Guess what?  That particular place happened to be on tomorrow's hiking agenda.

Another great morning in Sedona!

Besides the fantastic scenery, one of the things that blew me away about Sedona was the sheer number of hiking and biking trails surrounding the town.  Routes fanned out in all directions from the city limits.  On the final day of my trip, Hans and Lisa took me to explore the Hog trail system on Sedona's southeast side.

Scenery on the Broken Arrow Trail

Hans parked their truck at the Broken Arrow Trailhead.  Although it was early Monday morning, he had to squeeze into one of the few remaining spots.  As I soon found out, this trail system was wildly popular with the locals.

Pink jeep giving customers a thrill ride

The Broken Arrow trail wound through scrubby forest, emerging onto a wide, sandstone plateau.  As we climbed along the foot of several tall rocky pinnacles, I noticed a couple of Sedona's famous pink Jeeps roaring over a primitive road below.  Jeep tours are big business here, and the judging by the number of them I saw that day, pink Jeeps seem to have a corner on the market.  My friends and I stopped to watch one of them navigate a steep downhill, much to the delight of their passengers.

Approaching Chicken Point

After traversing more red sandstone, about a mile and half later we came to the famous "Chicken Point." - a rocky formation jutting out over a broad valley.  Rising up from either side were near-vertical sandstone walls.  Perched high on one of these walls was the "White Line" biking route, of YouTube video fame.

It's a popular place!

Chicken Point was an extremely popular place.  Not only hikers, when we arrived two pink Jeeps were also parked nearby, their passengers fanned out across the wide mesa.

Astounding scenery here!

Luckily, the Jeep tourists didn't linger very long, and after a few minutes everyone packed up and left.  Much to our delight, my friends and I found we had the place nearly to ourselves.

Hans and Lisa take a break

Hans, Lisa and I hiked to the very end of Chicken Point's outcrop, had a seat, and enjoyed the view and a snack.  Rocky spires and flat-topped buttes rose in all directions.  Totally breathtaking - break spots just don't get any better!

Mountain bike group

Naturally, our solitude was short-lived.  Five minutes later a large group of mountain bikers wheeled up.  Most of the pack dismounted several feet away and sat down on a nearby ledge.  But a few of them decided to ride onto the vantage point where my friends and I were relaxing.

Ridin' the rough trail

We struck up a conversation with the bikers, and discovered they were from Scotland and Ireland.  These young people were delightful to chat with (loved their accents!).  Hans asked if any of them were going to attempt the White Line trail above us, and they all shook their heads emphatically.  No one was that crazy!

The famous "White Line" mountain bike trail

As we sat taking in the scenery, more hikers and bikers arrived.  Then another pink Jeep pulled up, and its passengers wandered out onto Chicken Point.  The place was getting awfully crowded - time to move on!  But just as we started to pack up, someone mentioned they'd seen a mountain biker heading up to attempt to ride the White Line.  Should we stay and watch?  Lisa put it best when she commented it would be amazing and nerve-wracking at the same time.  Although such a feat would be incredible to see, if things went wrong none of us wanted to witness a biker falling to his death (considering the White Line was 200 feet above the valley, any slip would almost certainly be fatal).


After waiting several minutes with no sign of a biker (which was sort of a relief), my friends and I decided to move on.  Back down the Broken Arrow Trail we traveled, retracing our morning's steps.

Photo op

But the scenery was so spectacular, I didn't mind in the least!  A good opportunity to capture anything I'd missed the first time around.

Heading towards the Hog trails

Instead of heading back towards the trailhead, after about a mile, my friends led me onto another trail.  After following small red rock canyon we came upon the first of the hog-themed mountain bike trails, "High on the Hog."

Large sandstone formation

I discovered an entire network of mountain bike trails with pig-themed names.  As with all the Sedona area mountain biking paths, these wandered up, over and through huge sandstone formations.  Again, some of the terrain was so steep and rocky, I couldn't believe people actually rode bikes on it.

The views of distant pinnacles

But oh was the scenery spectacular!

Cool pattern on the sandstone

I lagged behind Hans and Lisa, snapping away.  Luckily, Lisa kept looking back, and waiting at key junction spots to ensure I didn't get lost.

More follow the dots

The next trail was named "Hog Heaven" and like the previous it wandered through the redrock, in and out of washes and down steep slopes.  I even got another chance to perfect my butt-sliding skills on some of the more gnarly spots.

Hidden water pockets

Another view of Sedona

Rounding a bend, the city of Sedona once again came into view.  I was very jealous of the townspeople, living so close to this amazing trail system.

More redrock formations

Although these trails were meant for biking, the only people on two wheels we met were a young boy and his grandfather.  And they definitely didn't look experienced enough to navigate these routes!  (The grandpa was riding an old ten speed)

I loved all the pig themed trail names

The next junction took us to the "Hog Wash" trail.

"Pigtail" was my favorite

And then to my favorite trail name of the hog system - "Pigtail."

Lisa on the trail

Finally, a short jaunt on the "Peccary" Trail brought us back to "Hog Wash" and then the Broken Arrow Trail once again.  It was here near the end that we met a couple more mountain bikers (looking much more experienced than the grandpa and his grandson).

Interesting rock formations

Pinnacles in the distance

Today's trek was shorter than the two previous hikes, a route of only 5 miles.  But the weather was much warmer than previous days.  By late morning the sun was beating down, and coming from cold and rainy Oregon, I wasn't used to this at all.  It wasn't super hot (maybe mid-70s) but it was enough to wear me out.

This trail had lots of interesting rocks

By the time we arrived back at the trailhead, I was hot, thirsty and hungry.  But a tasty pizza at one of Sedona's local restaurants and several glasses of water revived me nicely.  I was ready to tackle another short hike.

One of many mountain bikers

For the afternoon, Hans and Lisa had one final hike planned to complete my whirlwind tour of Sedona.  Which I'll cover in my next post!


  1. Such a beautiful area and you have captured it so nicely! What fun to have friend that know all the best hikes! :)

  2. First of all that mountain biker was nuts, don't think I would even try walking that let along ride a bike there. Spectacular scenery on your walk, you must have enjoyed it

  3. Imagine having that scenery on your doorstep. Wow! Why all the pig related names? Surely that isn't pig country! Although frustrating as a hiker to have to share the trails with so many others,it is good to see lots of people taking advantage of those wonderful trails.

  4. Gosto destas paisagens e as montanhas e a terra têm uma cor incrível.
    Um abraço e continuação de boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

  5. ...beautiful reds and greens!

  6. Hello Linda, I do enjoy your reports on your hikes. Your photos are all just gorgeous. I love the beautiful views. That White line Trail looks scary. I have to put Sedona on my must visit list. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

  7. Dang, your memory is good! I still wish (with my heart in my throat) that we had seen someone ride the White Line!

  8. Sedona is a very beautiful rugged area.

  9. Amazing scenery. People always think rock climbing is hard-core but if you've got a rope on its relatively safe. Even country lane cycling is ten times more likely to result in an accident and I've always hurt myself very painfully falling off a bike, even on the flat at low speeds. Mountain biking over that terrain is nuts. Off to catch it on You Tube.

  10. Another marvellous day in sensational Sedona, briliantly captured.

  11. My friend who lives in Sedona says the summers are brutal. They have to get up super early to do anything and then hide inside.

  12. Stunning scenery and great photos. But I'll avoid that pink Jeep!

  13. What a great place - I dont recognise anything except the pink jeeps!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  14. That scenery is just amazing, what a fabulous place and one I must revisit - we only stayed a day or so when I was there in the 90's. So many hikes to enjoy. And that bike route - dod you see the one after it on youtube where the guy almost falls halfway across - scary stuff!

  15. Sedona is such a special, special place. It is easy to see why Native Americans felt it was a sacred place. I was fascinated flying over it on a recent trip from AZ to Colorado--the redness was hard to miss!


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