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The Bail Trail portion of the hike, it was narrower and a bit steeper.
Bell Rock Pathway
Closest available address
Trailhead is about 5 miles south of Sedona off of Highway 179.
Daylight hours are best.
Best time to visit
The Bell Rock Pathway is one of a series of trails just off the Red Rock Scenic Byway and south of Sedona. There are multiple trails options and multiple trail connections, so it’s generally easy to customize a hike here based on your distance preferences. The Bell Rock Pathway is open to hiking, biking and horseback riding, though some of the side trails have bicycle usage restrictions when the trails cross into wilderness areas.
Coconino National Forest is a huge forest at 1.8 million acres. Elevations range from 2,600 feet in the south to 12,600 feet near Flagstaff. Habitats are quite diverse as well ranging from ponderosa pine forests, alpine grasslands, riparian zones and high deserts. The Sedona area, which has an elevation of 4,400 feet, is famous for isolated sandstone rock formations as well as numerous mesas and canyons. The rock formations often have distinctive names like Cathedral Rock and Devil’s Bridge and offer challenging hikes or climbs. While the habitat here is mostly desert, plant diversity is surprisingly rich. Animals are more limited.
Although traffic on the scenic byway was heavy on a holiday weekend, there was plenty of parking at the Little Horse Trailhead. A shelter with a large map was available as well. Maps on the trails were great except at the very end of the hike when it was unclear which trail led back to the trailhead and parking area. The hike was about 2.5 miles and involved a walk south on Bell Rock Pathway, which was wide and level, then heading west on Bail Trail, north on Llama Trail and then back on Little Horse Trail. Bail and Llama were described as intermediate in difficulty and Little Horse was described as best suited for advanced hikers, but all three were easy. They were more narrow and rutted then Bell Rock, but were by no means difficult. The heat actually was more fatiguing then the walk itself. Once off of the main Bell Rock Trail, there were no bikers and few if any hikers. It also was quieter relative to the traffic noise on Bell Rock Trail. While the hike was more relaxing than challenging, views of sandstone rock formations were not bad, and there were a diverse mix of plants along the trail. This hike works best for someone who prefers a casual and fairly level hiking option relative to other trails in the area which entail more climbing up rocks with hands and feet.
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Red Rock Scenic Byway
Bell Rock Trail
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