Here’s an easy hike that’s a favorite walking trail of local area residents. Just 45 minutes round trip, Lower Chimney Rock Trail is close to town and can be enjoyed for a good walk in nearly any type of weather. Not a lot of great views here, but a pleasant trail that affords an up close look at Chimney Rock and Thunder Mountain.

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This trail is designated on a map to be found in the parking area when you arrive. Follow the main trail and when you reach the trail junction at 0.1 miles (0.16 km), go straight. (The adjoining trail to the right is the Thunder Mountain Trail.)

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At the top of a little pass, 0.35 miles (0.56 km), you will reach a second trail junction which overlooks homes in the Dry Creek Road area. You’ll be traveling a pass that is a saddle between Little Sugarloaf on the left and Chimney Rock to the right. At this junction, the Chimney Rock Loop Trail heads off to the right, while the ‘Lower Chimney Rock Trail continues straight ahead, down the north side of the ridge into a flat area below.

As you descend, the impressive Chimney Rock comes into view. To your right is Thunder Mountain. This large butte has also been known as Grey Mountain, Capitol Butte, and Shadow Mountain. (After you leave the area, you may be able to pick out Thunder Mountain from different locations around Sedona, since its greyish coloration and sheer size stands out against the red rocks.) Just ahead and slightly to the right you will see another well-known landmark, Lizard Head, in the white-colored layers.

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Once on the valley floor, you will be walking through a juniper forest. To your left is Dry Creek Road, which the trail will angle toward. At 0.6 miles (1.0 km), the trail turns left. At 0.75 miles (1.2 km), you’ll come to a trail junction. Ignore the one on the right (a private drive), and take the left fork.
As you proceed around the west and south faces of Little Sugarloaf, at 1.5 miles (2.4 km) you return to the parking lot.

How to Get to Lower Chimney Rock Trail
Beginning at the roundabout in Highway 179 known as the “Y” near Uptown Sedona, travel southwest on Highway 89A toward Cottonwood for 3.2 miles (5.1 km) to Dry Creek Road. Turn right and proceed to Thunder Mountain Road, at 3.78miles (5.9 km). Turn right on Thunder Mountain Road and drive 0.6 miles (0.96 km) and turn left into the parking lot. (Total driving distance is 4.3 miles (6.9 km). Total travel time is 10 minutes from the “Y”.)

FAQs

  • Open year round. Good all-weather hike.
  • Difficulty: Easy, pleasant walking trail, but it can be hot at midday, especially during the summer.
  • Usage: Light to moderate
  • Elevation gain: 50 feet
  • Length: Approximately 1.5 mi each way
  • Dogs allowed on a leash.

Special Tips:

  • Hiking shoes or boots and hats are recommended.
  • This trail is recommended for older children.
  • Always take plenty of water, especially in warmer weather, and possibly a snack, but please remember, “Leave no trace” and take what you brought along home with you.
  • Take your camera to capture the views.
  • Parking: Just a short drive in from the Thunder Mountain Trailhead Sign.
  • Don’t hike alone and let others know where you’re headed—just in case! Remember, the responsibility for good health and safety while hiking is yours!