Sedona can be a frustrating scene of spectacular rock formations that are so popular it is impossible to enjoy them up close without being exposed to noisy crowds, droning helicopters overhead, and loud jeeps full of chattering people to whom the idea of walking a trail to reach a destination is apparently so novel that, when one of them spotted the two of us on a nearby hiking trail she pointed excitedly and yelled out; “Look, hikers!”
True story. It was as if she did not consider me a fellow human but rather some rare species of local fauna.
The Chicken Point Overlook just south of Sedona is one such popular spot, where humans on foot, on mountain bikes, and in vehicles converge to marvel at the red sandstone cliffs and spire formations both up close and in the distance.
Fortunately there is a way to hike there and back that minimizes ones exposure to the noise and crowds while affording wonderful views not available to those in the jeeps. Views like this one, taken from the Chapel Trail before we reached Chicken Point Overlook:
We connected with a local Sedona hiking group on Meetup for a hike starting at the Mystic Trailhead on Chapel Road, just east of Hwy 179. We walked up Chapel Road past the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross (designed in 1957 by two architects in the firm of Anshen & Allen, who also worked with developer Joseph Eichler) and took the Chapel Trail east.
The trail passes just below the Chicken Point Overlook, offering wonderful — and wonderfully peaceful — views of the cliffs.
Once you arrive at the Overlook you will likely be encompassed in a crowd of people, most of whom have arrived via one of the numerous tour jeeps that visit the spot over and over again every day. Fortunately for you, since you are walking, you can quickly escape via the Broken Arrow Trail which takes you away from and above the Jeep trail. In short order you will arrive at the High on the Hog Trail; take it north and then take the Hog Wash trail, through several trail junctions, back to the Mystic Trail on the west side of the butte where you parked.
It’s a lovely route that can be completed in less than 2 1/2 hours. You can extend it a few miles by, at the Hog Heaven/Hog Wash trail junction, turn right instead of left and loop around the butte to the north.