DAY 7: JACKS CANYON TRAIL #55
This trail can be pretty strenuous and this time of year, when the weather is cooler, is a good time to give a try. It’s in the Mund’s Mountain Wilderness so no motorized traffic. Hikers, Mountain Bikes and Horse are OK. Plan on gaining 1000′ of elevation to the top of Horse Mesa. If you want to rent mountain bikes for the trail, they are availble for rent right when you get to the Village of Oak Creek. A bike shop is across from the Circle K and another is in the strip mall next to Ace Hardware. It’s an easy 4-5 mile ride to the trailhead from these locations.
The trail starts by skirting the boundary of an outlying subdivision. It then follows an old jeep trail to Jacks Canyon Tank where it drops into the drainage bottom and proceeds along its moderate climb by crisscrossing the dry streambed. At the upper end of the canyon, the trail leaves the streambed to switchback to a high saddle connecting the Mogollon Rim and Munds Mountain. The views are good here, but they’re even better a short, steep climb up the Munds Mountain Trail. From the top of Munds Mountain the panorama of the Red Rocks Country is as complete as it gets, including parts of Oak Creek Canyon, all of the major rock formations around Sedona and even the San Francisco Peaks in the distance.
You’ll want to hike this trail all the way to the end and then some to gain access to the unique views it offers. Jacks Canyon Trail leads up the bottom of a rocky desert gorge where the vegetation is mostly high chaparral. Watch for desert cottontails and black-tailed jackrabbits scurrying through the thorny underbrush. Most likely you’ll see some top-knotted Gambels quail, too, and hear them crowing from their hiding places as you pass by. Extensive stands of Arizona cypress carpet the canyon floor along with catclaw acacia, false palo verde, and banana yucca.
Length: 6.5 miles
Time: 3-4.5 hours
Directions: From Sedona. Drive to the Village of Oak Creek, it’s about 7.3 miles to Jacks Canyon Road (FR 793). Follow this road about 3 miles to the trailhead near the Pine Flat Subdivision. It’s easy to drive right by this. Look for a dirt road on the right across the street from Canyon Ridge Circle (gated sub-division). Here’s a Google Map link to the trailhead parking area for Jacks Canyon Trail and Hot Loop Trail.