Hot Loop Trail No. 40
Two things are hot about this trail. That's the way you'll feel when you complete the climb to the top of Horse Mesa and that's the way you'll describe the views when you get there. There's actually two ways to approach the Hot Loop, one is from a trailhead in Jacks Canyon near the Pine Flat Subdivision. The other is a trailhead in Woods Canyon off SR 179.
From the Jacks Canyon Trailhead (which has the best parking lot) a connector trail leads up and over a low saddle to join the Hot Loop just as it begins the steepest part of its 1,000 foot climb to the top of Horse Mesa.
From the Woods Canyon Trailhead, you can access this trail near the Red Rock Ranger District Visitor Center on SR 179. At 1.25 miles, a trail sign marks the junction where Hot Loop branches off from Woods Canyon Trail, which continues up Woods Canyon. Once the Hot Loop trail reaches the top of Horse Mesa it meanders across the broad, flat plain to a panoramic overlook of the eastern limits of the Sedona red rocks (4 miles from the trailhead). From here you can see a number of landmarks including Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and west to Sycamore Pass. The trail continues across the mesa top to equally impressive views of Woods Canyon. The trail ascends to the top of Jacks Point and across the rim and eventually ties into the Jacks Canyon Trail.
At a Glance
|Red Rock Ranger District - 928-203-2900
Location: 42 miles south of Flagstaff (11.5 miles east of Sedona) in scenic Red Rock Country.
Access: (Jacks Canyon Trailhead) Drive south 30 miles out of Flagstaff on US 89A to the Rt 179 intersection in Sedona. Turn left at the traffic light and drive about 7.3 miles to Jacks Canyon Road (FR 793). Follow this road about 3 miles to the trailhead.
For the Woods Canyon Trailhead, continue on AZ 179 about 2 miles beyond the Jacks Canyon turnoff to where the Red Rock District Ranger Offices are on the east side of Hwy. 179. The Woods Canyon Trail heads up canyon. A sign marks where the Hot Loop branches off.
GPS (Map): 34°47'06.3"N 111°43'57.9"W
- Red Rock Recreation Guide [PDF]: Info on hiking, biking, camping, and more in Arizona's magnificent Red Rock Country. Download the guide or pick one up at the Red Rock Ranger District Visitor Center.
- The Digital Travel Map Whether you're driving, hiking, riding, or exploring, you will find this full-color, GPS-enabled map a handy reference to have on your mobile device. The map show trails, recreation sites, major landmarks, and forest roads.
- Forest Service Topo Map (FSTopo Geo-enable PDF)
Click map thumbnail for larger view.
If you start your hike from Woods Canyon, you might keep in mind that this stream can quickly turn into a flood during the spring snowmelt or after a summer thunderstorm.
Rating: Moderate to strenuous
Hiking time: 2 1/2 hours to the Woods Canyon overlook
- No motor vehicles,
- No bicycles, unmanned aircraft (including quadcopters or "drones"), or mechanized equipment in Munds Mountain Wilderness.
- Portions of this trail are hard to follow. You must follow rock cairns to find your way.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
The Jacks Canyon Trailhead has the best parking lot. Taking horses down the trail off the north end of Horse Mesa is not recommended.