This seems to be my go-to trail in Sedona. I'm not sure why, as the first time Justin and I were on this trail Justin barely stepped on a fat Mojave green rattlesnake, which reared up and hissed at him and sent us flying down the trail. The second time I ran this trail I did not pack according the the weather (pushing high 90s) and ran out of water, making the experience miserable the last half hour to the car.
The Sedona trail system is vast and wherever you choose to go will not disappoint. This trail doesn't have a crazy amount of elevation gain; it's an easy path to wander while enjoying the scenery. This particular trail system is also easy to figure out with maps at each junction. Our starting point was also close to town, which was convenient for me since I always hang out at a cafe while Justin tacks on an extra couple hours to his runs.
I started at Midgley Bridge which has a nominal parking fee. I then ran up the Jim Thompson trail which connected me to the Brin's Mesa trail. The Jim Thompson trail has a small climb, and afterward the trail comes back down and is nicely shaded until you reach Jordan Road which is where you will find Brin's Mesa about 3 miles from the bridge. The trail is rocky (but run-able) so watch your footing. The views from Brin's Mesa are stunning with dramatic red rock formations as you can see in the pictures. Once on Brin's Mesa trail there is a short climb of about 600ft over 1.5 miles. I continued over the hill and ran through what felt like a meadow on the top of the trail and then back into a shaded area that felt canyon-ish. It was 14 miles round trip which made for a decent long run with ~1500 feet of elevation gain. If you are a traditional road runner breaking into the trails then this is a good route to start on. I also saw a family of javelinas on Brin's Mesa trail which was a huge highlight for me! There were about 10 javelinas total - a rare sighting during the day as they are nocturnal and generally avoid people.
A nice thing about this run is that there are bathrooms at Midgley Bridge and Jordan Road - but no water, so plan accordingly. When I finished my run I hung out by the river under Midgley Bridge and then drove into town to sit on the patio under the red rocks at Canyon Breeze. The town of Sedona is small, but hopefully you will go there to explore the trails rather than the shops!
Jim Thompson Trail: Connect at Midgely Bridge
Brin's Mesa Trail: Connect at Jordan Road
Total distance: 14 miles
Total elevation gain: 1500 ft
I am an outdoor and travel junkie who is currently completing my doctorate in occupational therapy overseas in rural Fiji. On Sweet World Travels you will find stories of my life with my husband, the communities we serve, and the many adventures we take.