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Name: Robbers Roost Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: (based on one vote)
Type: Hike Difficulty: (Medium)
Time: 1 - 2 hours Region: NW Arizona
Length: 1 miles Elevation gain/loss/change: +350 / -350 ft / +0 ft (loop)
Type: Loop Avg Elevation: 5000 ft
Best time to go: fall, winter, spring Fees: Requires Red Rock Pass.
Fitness rating: Medium Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating:High Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: October, 2011
Short Description: A short, but beautiful hike to a unique place near Sedona.
Geocaches: A few geocaches in the area. Robber's Roost; Quarry This; Outlaw Trail Treasure
References / Contact Information: Hike Arizona; Sedona Monthly
Points of interest: Robbers Roost, Sedona's beautiful redrock country
Special Considerations: Caution: High-clearance vehicle required to get to trailhead! Route may be difficult to find in places. 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 Robbers4) is along the west side of the Robbers Roost rock formation. You will need a high-clearance vehicle to get there. When we visited, there was a Subaru Forester parked up there. I wouldn't recommend a passenger car. If you have a car, you may be able to park around Waypoint Robbers1 and walk the road up to the trailhead. Note: this adds about 2 miles to the hike. A car should be able to make it to Waypoint Robbers1, but that really depends on road conditions and your comfort level. Road conditions vary and you should use caution. After turning right at Waypoint Robbers1, head up the road and keep going straight until you reach Waypoint Robbers4. There's a nice place to camp at Robbers3 that is out in the open and has nice views. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

This is a really short, but fun trail northwest of Sedona. It leads to a reputed hideout that robbers once used due to it's great views and accessibility (unknown if this is true or not). Regardless, the views are wonderful and the redrock spectacular. This is not a hike for those who are afraid of heights. There are some portions of the "trail" that are right on the edge on the cliff with a hundred or more foot drop on one side. If you want to do something off the beaten path in Sedona, this may be for you!

General Information and History

Legend has it that this spot was used by bandits and robbers as a hideout, hence the name Robbers Roost. It is a cool place, but I doubt it was every used as such. Though, there was something there at some point. Although I believe the rock walls in place right now were put there by the Forest Service, they do replicate what was there a long time ago.

Also, it seems way back in 1932 Zane Grey published a book called Robbers' Roost. He was a frequent visitor in Arizona and some speculate that he may have visited this place and come up with the idea for the novel. A film of the book was made the same year, though it was not filmed in the spot currently known as Robbers Roost. The actual Robbers' Roost in Grey's novel was in Utah and was described as "a perfect hideout...a box canyon in no-man's-land." Which doesn't exactly describe Sedona's Robbers Roost.

So, what exactly was Robbers Roost and why was it built? We may never know. It's still cool to go there and think about it.

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The Trail

The trail starts on the west side of the Robbers Roost rock formation. Park in the large parking area at Waypoint Robbers4 (see Getting There for more information). The trailhead may be hard to spot. The trailhead is east of the parking area and the trail heads down the hill toward the north end of the rock formation. When we visited, there was one lone dark brown forest service sign 30 feet or so down the hill from the road/parking area. You can start heading down the hill and you should see it.

The trail leads down the hill toward the small saddle between the Robbers Roost rock formation to the south and another hill to the north.

Once you've reached the small wash at the bottom, the trail heads up toward Robbers Roost. After reaching about the 3/4 way up the rock formation, the trail becomes hard to find. The main trail appeared to head right (toward the southwest) and this is the route we took.

This is NOT the easiest / fastest way to reach Robbers Roost. This route takes you along the western and southern edges of the formation and can be dangerous and scary in places. I would recommend taking the quicker/easier route along the northeaster side (which is the way we returned).

Anyway, make your way around the side of the formation toward Waypoint Robbers5. There will be some spots where you will have almost no trail and a big drop to the side. We did not need to go on the very top of the formation (though we did do this).

Once you reach Robbers Roost, enjoy the view, take a break and congratulate yourself. You can decide how you want to retrace your steps to the parking area. Whatever way you decide to go, have fun and be safe!

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