Munds Mountain, 2004


Munds Mountain is the large, dominating ridge immediately to the east of Sedona. An easy hike may be made to its summit, starting from Schnebly Hill Vista along upper Schnebly Hill Road. The first 1.2 miles of this 2.9 mile hike follows a forest road which may be driven with a high clearance vehicle during the "in season" months. Our January hike fell during the time period when vehicular is prohibited along this forest road, thus we were required to walk this 1.2 mile section.

Munds Trailhead

The forest road

Views all along the way

Our walk along the forest road was immensely scenic as it skirted the edge of a plateau, which offered excellent views down into the Sedona area. We paused many times to soak in the expansive vistas. After 1.2 miles, we met up with the Schnebly Hill Trail coming up from Schnebly Hill Road below. The Schnebly Hill Trail provides another way to access the Munds Mountain Trail, but is slightly longer to this point and requires an additional 400' of elevation gain. Beyond the point where the two trails meet, the Munds Mountain Trail leaves the road and becomes actual trail, which winds through a sparse forest of oak and pine on its way to the foot of Munds Mountain.

Pause to soak it in

Munds in the background

Road becomes trail

After another 1.2 miles of following this pleasant trail, we arrived at the foot of Munds Mountain at a junction point with the Jacks Canyon Trail. We were at a short ridge that offered nice views to the southeast, into Jack's Canyon. Trails seemed to go every which way at this point, but our signed Munds Mountain trail clearly went up. The summit was a steep, climb, just 20 minutes away. Although the walking had been easy to this point, the trail to the summit was a bit more difficult, not only because of the steepness of the grade, but also due to the loose, rocky footing.

Jacks Canyon

Climbing Munds Mountain

Summit meadow

At the broad summit lies a rather large, picturesque, grassy meadow. A short walk to the west brought us to an edge and more expansive views into Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. The snow-covered San Francisco Peaks shined on the horizon, 30 miles distant. We spent an hour on top, relaxing in the warm sunshine and glorious views before heading back the way we had come.

Alligator juniper

Summit views

Summit views

The scenery on the return trip was equally rewarding and just more of the same, which was a good thing. Munds Mountain is possibly one of the more scenic hikes in the Sedona area, but appears to be not very well known. On this pleasant Saturday, with excellent weather, we saw only one other hiker.

View, San Francisco Peaks

Views on the way back

More views

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