I have spend hundreds of nights backpacking in all different places across Arizona, yet for some reason Sedona has been neglected. In an effort to explore this gorgeous part of the state we headed up to Secret Mountain. via Loy Canyon. This trip was actually an amend to a more vigorous trip in this area that was postponed due to the weather. I actually lucked out, because I ended up suffering from some strange nauseous feeling for several days up to and during this trip. Still we made the best of it and enjoyed a great trip. Sedona is not a bad place to fight off a strange illness.
The trailhead is located between Cottonwood and Sedona and involves a few miles on a car friendly dirt road. The views along the drive were amazing and the beginning of the hike doesn't disappoint either. The trail begins in a wide red rock canyon that is shared by some private property lines (please respect). Along the slow incline up canyon, the walls close in and the fauna begins to change. Eventually you find yourself beginning the climb up to the saddle below Secret Mountain. This climb is steep and will take some effort, especially with a full pack.
Once you reach the saddle, you are officially in the pines. This trail continues steadily climbing till it eventually passes a old cabin where you can find pools of water. We decided to push just beyond this cabin gaining some more elevation till we came to a perfect camp spot. The camp lies in what appears to be an old corral and has a breathtaking view of red rocks, Jeorme, and Cottonwood. This would be an excellent place to do some night photography. The campsite can accommodate larger groups, as well as hammock hangers.
If you would like to find out more about this route check out the HAZ link here.