Airport Loop Trail

Cathedral Rock

View of Cathedral Rock

To begin your hike on Airport Loop Trail walk up to the saddle area of the “Vortex”. Keep to the far right of the saddle and you will find the trail heading around towards the south. If you start before the sun comes up you get a great view of Munds Mountain and Courthouse Butte to the east. After the sun comes up the glare makes it hard to impossible to photograph, but in the afternoon the light is right again.

Heading south you will pass through an area of ‘Crucifiction Thorn’. This plant has pointed, twig like leaves, if you can call them leaves. It is interesting to note the changes in terrain on this trail. Soon after passing through that area it is mostly Utah Juniper and Basaltic rock. There is a tree along the trail that actually “caught” one of these boulders and has it trapped within several trunks.

Boulder in Tree

Boulder Wedged in Tree

By the time you start seeing some red rock out-cropings there are a good number of Ocotillo’s around. You will also see some stunted Junipers growing straight out of solid rock. I always find that fasinating. Cathedral Rock should be in view by now.


Ocotillos Beautify the View

The view is worth stopping to absorb when you get to the point on the south end of the mesa. From here the Red Rock Loop area can be seen. In about another three tenths of a mile or so there is a spur trail called Table Top. It is about a half mile in length one way, and travels out a narrow finger of land to a point with great views. Reasonably open, lots of Prickly Pear Cactus.

Table Top

Table Top, on right, View of RR Loop area

Heading north along the west side the trail tapers downhill. There was an exceptional amount of wildflowers the last time I went through this area. Soon you will come to the junction with Bandit Trail. The forest is a bit more dence by now, and the view of West Sedona has captured your attention.

It is a pleasant, partially shady, gradule uphill back to the trailhead from here. The trail ends at Airport Road across from the starting point at the parking turnout. More info on “Airport Loop Trail”
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