I was only in Sedona for two days in mid December.
The ranger at the entrance to the Coconino Forest highly recommended this hike and the West Fork trail in Oak Creek Canyon.
To park one's car and do this hike (the entrance to Little Horse trail is in the overlook just before the turnoff to Back of Beyond road), one must have a Red Rock pass or a Senior or military pass displayed in the car window.
I enjoyed this hike immensely.
Even though the weather was quite chilly, there were snow and ice on parts of the trail and the trail was almost deserted.
The trail is marked by cairns, but they are not always easy to follow.
A couple of times I found myself in "the wash" rather than on the trail.
This was explained to me as I was wandering across an area heavily strewn with rocks and I noticed a bike cruising a couple of feet above me.
I was hiking alone, since I had not found a partner, but badly wanted to escape the Toronto permafreeze. It was the first time I had traveled completely alone and I asked the ranger if it was safe to hike these paths on my own.
He indicated that they were safe, but I had my first inkling that there might be a problem when I encountered a sign early on in the trail that urged one member of each party to make sure to register before doing this hike. Look as I might, there was no form or box or anything to fill out to register. I did have a cellphone with me (though not a fancy GPS one--hiking alone, a GPS phone might be a good idea). I had told the front desk at the Hilton resort where I was going and took their phone number in case I would have gotten into trouble, so that was a bit reassuring.
But, with almost no one on the trail, the thought crossed my mind that maybe this wasn't the best idea.
That said, I was too busy ogling all the gorgeous views to pay much attention--there was one magnificent view of the red rocks after another.
I dawdled a bit as I aimed my camera--each picture more amazing than its predecessor as I got closer to Chicken Point, which is called that because the Pink Jeeps used to play chicken on a rock almost overhanging the cliff.
The trail winds steadily upwards and there is a bit of rock scrambling when getting close to Chicken Point.
I glimpsed tiny figures on the edge of a cliff way overhead and wondered how I was going to get all the way up, but the trail was fine and I had poles and good hiking shoes.
The worry resurfaced when those people jumped into the pink jeeps and zoomed away down a dirt road in the opposite direction and I was left, on my own, to make my way back to the trailhead, where my car was parked, afoot, as the shadows started lengthening.
I had started a bit late as I had changed hotels in the morning.
I had originally planned to turn off and hike to cathedral rock, but ditched that plan as I conscientiously followed the tire tracks of the bikes in the muddy ground--it was the only way to make sure to stay on the trail.
I got back to the trailhead as I thought I could hear coyotes howling and the moon was already in the sky.
There is a porta-potty in the parking lot and it was very welcome.
I had used plenty of water on the hike--the two chinook water bottles strapped to my waist were almost empty and I had eaten an orange and some snacks and was wearing two more layers than when I had left. I did not have any extra--the temperature dropped to under the freezing mark that night in Sedona.
I was very, very happy to be off the trail safely as Bell and Courthouse rocks were turning golden in the waning light.
It was a fantastic hike and a highlight of my time in Sedona.
Next time I go hiking, I hope to find a partner.
It is more fun and certainly safer.
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