Munds Wagon Trail - Sedona, AZ

View from higher elevation on Munds Wagon Trail

I love visiting new places and hiking with my dogs. This weekend, we left the trails of sunny Southern California and decided to roadtrip to Sedona, AZ and hike with our dogs over there. I don't know about you, but to me, Sedona is Big Sky Country.

I LOVE the contrast of the Red Rock against the blue sky with a splash of green from the trees. And according to sources, it is the U.S. Day Hiking Capital!

After visiting The Hike House, we decided to hike the Munds Wagon Trail the next day.  The history of the trail is that it was originally used by the indigenous people to trade corn, squash and beans with other tribes. During the mid-1800's these tribes were transplanted to reservations in the south so that cattlemen had land for grazing.  This is when the Munds Wagon Trail got its name.

In the late 1800's, a cattleman named Jim Munds used this trail to move his cattle
through Sedona to lush meadowland at Bear Wallow Canyon. By 1896, the trail was improved to a carry wagons that brought produce to market in Flagstaff. By 1930, the road next to Munds was built and took its place, Schnebly Road. I recall as we walked along the trail, "wagons really fit on this trail?" Then I realized that when Schnebly Road was built, no one kept the Munds Wagon Trail clear. It was only recently that it was cleared and created into a continuous trail for hiking.

The parking lot was easy to find. You just take Schebly Road off the traffic circle. Drive about 1.5 miles and you will see it on the left hand side. If you reach the dirt road (Schnebly Road is only paved for about 1.5 miles) then you have passed the turn-off.

The parking area has multiple trailheads so make sure you look for the Munds Wagon Trail sign.  There are facilities at this lot and it does have a garbage container. So please respect nature and pack out your trash.

As you navigate the flat area at the beginning of the hike, make sure you keep an eye out for rock cairns.  These will show you where the trail lies.  There is a slight increase in elevation, but not much to make your muscles burn. You will cross the dirt road about 3 times before reaching the decline to the creek bed. Vegetation at this point is pretty much brush and knee or waist height. Don't expect shade.

There is more shade as you start the decline to the creekbed, and the trail becomes a more defined single-track. You cross the wash (it was dry when we crossed because it's been a pretty dry year) when you reach the bottom.

After crossing the wash, you will start to climb. Somewhere midway up, we had to cross a slick rock area. It was cut by the creek that flows through here. I thought it was an interesting rock formation. Walking on the rock is a little treacherous, as it does decline steeply towards the center. Your job is to lean into the grade and traverse towards the end, where the trail continues its climb.

This climb was not too strenuous if you are used to more mountainous trails.  It is actually short and sweet.  You will follow the trail away from the wash, and eventually up towards and on to the road, where the Cowpies trailhead meets Munds. The more noticeable climb comes at this point just before you meet Schnebly road for the last time. We branched off and took the Cowpies trail at this point.

Cowpies is a vortex, which is a naturally occurring focal point for energy. Sedona is famous for these. Some say you can feel the energy
Jake found a huge
piece of pumice
to pose on
emanating from the earth.  I really didn't notice much, but I was more interested in putting lunch in my stomach by the time we reached this point.  This was where we turned around.

We debated whether we wanted to do the Hangover trail and make our hike a loop. A couple of mountain bikers that we met told us that there were even better views from that trail. We decided to just turn around, leaving that trail for the next hike.

Sedona has turned out to be one of my favorite hiking venues! If and when I come back, I will be staying for at least 5 days. I like to fully drink in the environment and this trip felt like just a sip.

Until next time, Happy Trails!!

Check out our track on

Munds Wagon Trail to Cowpies

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