OverviewDifficulty of approach to trailhead: Class 1
Difficulty of last .25 miles: Class 1-2
Difficulty of final section to summit: Class 2 – Easy Class 3
Distance: 2.3 -3.5 miles round-trip depending on route taken
Elevation gain: Approximately 550 feet
Known as "Cockscomb Butte" by most people and located on the Southern end of Sedona, The Cockscomb is one of the last prominent summits that you will encounter in this beautiful area if you are heading south.
This is a great climb because it gives you some great up close views of the cliffs and spires that form the Cockscomb. You will even get to see some Sinagua ruins if you hike along the base of it’s cliffs. From its trail and from its summit, you can see all of nearby Doe Mountain, Bear Mountain, and Capitol Butte as well as other prominent red rock formations. The beginning of the trail starts gradually, and then you pretty much go straight uphill nearly 600 feet for the last quarter of a mile until you reach the summit. When you reach the top, the summit is wide and open, allowing ample opportunity for exploring around.
There are great views all around from the top and each one of them is a little different. It is kind of fun to just walk around and look over the cliffs and see what lies below. If you walk a little further on this summit you can see the spires that make up the Cockscomb. To catch great colors on Doe Mountain and Bear Mountain, I recommend climbing this at sunrise. However, if you want to catch some great colors on the rest of the red rocks, I would suggest going at sunset as the sun will be to your back.
Getting ThereFrom 89A heading South:
Once you reach the intersection of Highway 179 and 89A continue South along 89A for a little over 3 miles until you reach Dry Creek Road. Take a right here and follow it for about 2.9 miles to a stop sign. Then take a left at the stop sign for another 1.6 miles. You will reach an intersection at this point and you will want to take a left here as well. From here you will drive for 1.4 miles until you reach Aerie Rd. Take a left here and follow it to a “Y” intersection. Take the road to the right and it will end in less than a quarter of a mile at the parking lot. Park here and then walk back out to the “Y” intersection and go right. Walk for 0.4 miles up this road until it ends at a circular drive. This is where the trailhead starts.
Follow I-17 North until you reach Exit # 298 (AZ-179). Follow this exit towards Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon. Right after taking this exit, take a left onto AZ-179 for 14.5 miles. Then turn right onto AZ-89A towards the town of Sedona. From this point you will take a left on Dry Creek Road once you reach it and then follow the above directions to the trailhead.
Red TapeYou will need a Red Rock pass, which are actually excellent deals.
One Day Pass - $5.00
Weekly Pass - $15.00
Annual Pass - $20.00
Weekly and Annual passes can be purchased online here.
Rather than creating a very huge list of where you can buy passes either in person or by phone, I will just add a link with all of those details.
Click here to see that list.
CampingNo camping allowed on the mountain.
When to climb"The Cockscomb” can generally be climbed anytime of the year. During winter months Sedona does get snow occasionally so I would exercise caution on the last 0.25 miles of this trail. Spring and Fall would be great times to climb, and in the Summer just be very cautious of afternoon thunderstorms and the heat, as it can reach 100 degrees. Also during the warmer months keep an eye out for rattlesnakes as they can be present in Sedona as well. This would make an excellent sunset or sunrise climb. If you climb at sunrise you can watch the hot air balloons rising over Sedona.
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