|Name: Broken Arrow||Author's Rating:|
|Author: Matt Marine||Avg. User Rating:|
|Type: Bike||Difficulty: (Difficult). Lots of hike-a-bike for me going up the trail. Steep hills, lots of rocks, sections of the trail that can only be hiked. I was able to ride a much larger portion of the trail on the way back down|
|Time: 1 - 3 hours||Region: NW Arizona|
|Length: Approximately 5.25 miles (including the additional trip beyond Chicken Point down to the intersection of Llama Trail)||Elevation gain/loss/change: +643 / -643 ft / +0 ft (total loop)|
|Type: Out and back||Avg Elevation: 3800 ft|
|Best time to go: fall, spring, winter||Fees: Requires Red Rock Pass.|
|Fitness rating: Medium||Educational Merit: Low|
|Danger/fear rating: Low||Scenic Beauty: High|
|Hours of Operation: Area is only open certain hours - verify before going||Last updated: December, 2010|
|Short Description: A short, but . fairly difficult ride that runs along the famous four-wheel drive trail in Sedona|
|Geocaches:Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just one. The Arrow isn't Broken|
|References / Contact Information: Broken Arrow Trail|
|Points of interest: The Devil’s Dining Room, Submarine Rock, Chicken Point. Awesome scenery.|
|Special Considerations: Heavily traveled at times. Weekdays and mornings are the best times to go. Requires Red Rock Pass. These can be purchased at any Ranger station, kiosks, Circle K's and many other stores in Sedona or Oak Creek.|
|How to get there: The trailhead (Waypoint 001) is at the end of Morgan Road (about 0.6 miles from State Road 179). There’s a parking area just before the Jeep trail starts (indicated by a large rock you must climb to weed out those without the guts or vehicles to make it). Click here for directions.|
This is a beautiful and fairly short ride that parallels the most famous Jeep trail in Sedona. Although it’s a fairly demanding trail with a decent amount of hike-a-bike (at least on the way up), intermediate riders should give it a try (just for the awesome scenery) and more advanced riders will enjoy it.
I’ve driven the Broken Arrow Jeep trail many times and the one thing that concerned me about riding this trail on my mountain bike was all those pesky pink Jeeps from the tour company (on weekends they are like a line of ants on the trail). That’s the bad news. The good news is that this singletrack (which parallels the Jeep trail) is far enough away and doesn’t intersect the Jeep trail too much so you don’t have to worry about the Jeeps. For the most part you’ll be far enough away that you won’t even notice them. But you will have other hikers and bikers on this trail. It is a very popular trail.
Another nice thing about Broken Arrow is the “extras” along the trail. The first one you’ll see is the Devil’s Dining Room, a neat sinkhole that formed in the area. The tour guides tell the tourists that geologists believe another large section around the sinkhole is going to fall in soon. I don’t know about that (they might be saying it to scare them a little) and “soon” in geological terms is anything less than 10,000 years. It doesn’t matter, it’s cool anyway.
The second extra you get (well, almost) is Submarine Rock. Although the Broken Arrow trail doesn’t take you directly onto Submarine Rock, it does get you close and you get a good view of it. I highly recommend the short side trip. It’s a great place for playing around on the slickrock.
Finally, there’s Chicken Point at the end of the Broken Arrow section of the trail. There are at least three versions of why this place is called Chicken Point. The one I like the best is that after reaching this point on the Jeep trail, you’ve got a choice: go back the way you came (the easy way and therefore, “chickening out”) or going down the Steps (or the hard way). Regardless, it’s an awesome place with great views of the red rock country. There’s even a small “bench” that nature built near the edge of precipice. A nice place to sit and enjoy the scenery. This point is where all the Jeeps stop and let out their hordes of tourists. If you find yourself lucky enough to be out there alone, enjoy it. It may not last long.
From the parking area, cross the Jeep road and immediately start climbing up along the trail. In the beginning, the trail is fairly gentle and easy, after about a half mile you start getting into a little bit steeper sections.
At Waypoint002 you’ll find the Devil’s Dining Room. It’s fenced off so the stupid don’t fall in, but you can still see a good deal of it. A forest service placard near the lower side explains the area.
Keep climbing up the trail until you get to Waypoint003. If you want to take a trip to Submarine Rock, take a left (approximately 0.6 miles roundtrip) or take a right to keep on Broken Arrow. Bike another half a mile and you’ll come to a nice open area of slickrock (Waypoint03A). A glance to the northeast will give you a great view of Submarine Rock about ¾ of a mile away. This is the highest point of the ride.
Continue down the trail to Chicken point about ¼ a mile further along. Stop at Chicken Point (Waypoint04) and enjoy the view. This is the end of Broken Arrow trail, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your ride. If you look down in the valley below Chicken Point, you’ll see a nice trail down there. This can be accessed by finding the trail down the northeast side of the slickrock. The start of it can be a little difficult to find, but there is no climbing involved. This is the end of Little Horse trail. From the perspective of Chicken Point, this might look a little intimidating, but it’s not as difficult as what you just came up.
If you decide to go on Little Horse, go along the northeast side of Chicken Point and begin the descent down into the valley. Once you’re down into the valley, the trail smoothes out considerably. At Waypoint05, continue going straight past Chapel Trail to your right. Keep going downhill until you reach Waypoint06, the intersection of Llama trail.
If you wanted, you could continue straight along Little Horse or go left on Llama trail. Either of those two trails reach Bell Rock Pathway.
I chose to turn around and retrace the trail up to Chicken Point and back down to the Broken Arrow trailhead.
Have fun and be safe!
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