Chicken Point (Loop)
Elevation: 1390 m (4560 feet)
Elevation Gain: 220 m (720 feet) (cummulative)
Round Trip Distance: 5.0 km (3.1 miles)
Chicken Point is a small red rock plateau situated atop a scenic pass on the eastern side of Sedona's Chapel Escarpment. This pass grants fine views north towards Sedona and south towards the Village of Oak Creek. The point can be reached via Jeep tour or the popular Broken Arrow hiking trail. The name "Chicken Point" is a reference to long ago Jeep tours that drove all the way out to the point and circumnavigated a small rock outcrop with steep drops on all sides. Some daring Jeep drivers attempted this feat while others "chickened out". Today law and liability issues prohibit this practice and the Jeeps stop a short distance before Chicken Point.
March 7 2017.
GPS Track: Chicken Point Loop
After spending an enjoyable week with my in-laws in the Greater Phoenix area, Brianne and I somehow managed to trick "Nannie" and "Papa" into taking Mera off our hands so that we could enjoy a couple nights to ourselves in spectacular Sedona. As Brianne reluctantly kissed her baby "goodbye" and handed her off to her parents, I double and triple-checked to ensure that we'd packed all of our hiking gear. After all, you can't have a romantic couple's getaway without hiking!
After driving north for 2 - 3 hours, the rocks began to take on stunning red hues. As we pulled into Sedona, we realized that we were a few hours too early to check-in to our accommodations. Wondering how best to fill that time, we visited the Red Rock Visitor Center to seek suggestions. The gentleman that we spoke with was very helpful and recommended that we hike up the Broken Arrow trail to Chicken Point saying that "our camera would thank us". Eager to see if the hike lived up to his billing, we followed Morgan Road to the trailhead at its east end and found a parking spot in the small (but busy) parking area.
Brianne sets off on the popular Broken Arrow trail. From the parking area, the trail crosses the Jeep road and then continues parallel but well-west of it. If you go, make sure that you're on the hiking trail and not the Jeep road - lest you end up covered in red dust every time that an infernal Pink Jeep® passes by!
It's easy to see why the Broken Arrow trail is so popular! Within minutes of leaving the trailhead, the colorful Munds Mountain massif rose above thin desert forest to the east.
After following the beautiful trail for 1 km (0.6 miles), we reached the Devil's Dining Room - a sinkhole created by the collapse of an underground cavern. At one time, this cavern was 180 m (600 feet) underground but, as its roof collapsed, it filled with debris. Today, the floor of the Devil's Dining Room lies 18 - 27 m (60 - 90 feet) below the surface. This hole in the ground may not be as deep as it once was but it's still a good place to mind your footing!
Beyond the sinkhole, the Broken Arrow trail continues south through magnificent desert scenery.
As the Broken Arrow trail rounds the eastern slope of Twin Buttes, it leaves the brush behind and ascends massive, smooth red rock formations. These open rock areas provide outstanding panoramic views of the surroundings and obvious cairns lead hikers easily across them. Click to see the Sedona scenery in greater detail.
Brianne enjoys a sliver of shade while pausing to watch the moon rise over Munds Mountain. From here, Chicken Point is about 1/2 a km (1/4 of a mile) away.
Moon over the Munds Massif.
Brianne (and her beautiful baby bump) stop to soak in the beautiful view from a vista just above Chicken Point. Although the views to the north, east and west were outstanding along the entire Broken Arrow trail, this pass provides the day's first views south towards the Village of Oak Creek.
Beautiful views down a desert draw beyond Chicken Point towards Bell Rock (named for its bell-shaped form).
Telephoto of Bell Rock.
Just before Chicken Point, the Jeep road and the Broken Arrow hiking trail link up. Beyond here, motorized access is no longer permitted. Brianne and I ventured out to Chicken Point. It's not at all alarming on foot but the point itself was so crowded that we quickly retreated to the pass we'd hiked over moments earlier. The crowds seem to inexplicably flock to Chicken Point (despite the fact that the view was better from the pass) so Brianne and I happily enjoyed a break by ourselves there!
Dramatic red rock pillars rise up from the Twin Buttes massif to the west of Chicken Point. This area is also popular with mountain bikers - the most daring of whom "ride the white line" visible about halfway up the cliff face in the center of this photo.
Seeking a different vantage, I made a brief side trip up to "the white line" (upper right) to get a more aerial panorama of Chicken Point. The hike up to "the white line" was easy but a walk or bike ride along it looks borderline suicidal from here! Immediately right of the 4x4s below, you can Chicken Point itself. As nutty as riding the white line looks, driving down to and around the small center rock on Chicken Point might actually look worse! Click to see larger.
A closer look at Chicken Point just right of the vehicles.
After enjoying the views from Chicken Point (and eating a nutritious pack of Oreos), Brianne and I posed for a quick couple's shot before starting back down towards the Broken Arrow trailhead. At far left you can see the Chicken Point crowds which we felt compelled to escape!
Mount Wilson (center) comes into view beyond Sedona as we make our way back north towards the Broken Arrow trailhead. There's actually an impressive network of well-marked trails in this area and we ended up taking a slightly different route back for variety. By following the "High on the Hog" trail, we were able to stay on pleasant ledges well-above "Broken Arrow", allowing us to take in even more of the surrounding sights! When we reached the "Twin Buttes" connector trail, we simply followed it back down towards "Broken Arrow" . By the time that we reached our car, it was officially check-in time and we drove back to our resort to enjoy the rest of our 2 night Sedona getaway!
The best way to get all that red Sedona dust off after a beautiful afternoon hiking! ;-)