Hike | Cow Pie Trail Loop | Sedona
Hangover Trail, Cow Pie Trail, and Munds Wagon Trail combine to create a challenging yet rewarding loop hike in Sedona. With its varied terrain that spans over 9 miles, plan for a fun, full-day’s hike with scenic views and the chance to be immersed in red rock country.
- Length: 9.1 miles
- Trail Type: Loop
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,190 ft.
- Difficulty: Moderate with some strenuous areas
- Kid Friendly: Yes
- Dog-Friendly: Yes, but must be kept on a leash
- Accessibility: Paved roads lead to limited parking at the trailhead
- Fee/Permit: $5.00 Daily Red Rock Pass Required
Munds Wagon Trail, a historic cattle route, begins the hike from Huckaby Trailhead. The initial 1.6 miles is partially shaded by juniper trees and has significant elevation changes, including a few switchbacks. You will be paralleling Schnebly Rd. and will cross over this jeep route twice. The hiking trail is moderately trafficked, but the 4x4 vehicles traveling alongside are frequent and somewhat raucous. Once you reach the fork in the road, you have the opportunity to leave the jeep traffic and head west (left) up Hangover Trail. The hike can be done counter-clockwise, continuing east on Munds Wagon (right), but you will encounter the steepest portion of the hike during your descent.
Assuming you choose to continue clockwise, the next 3.3 miles will take you up and around the rock formation. The trail is narrow and consists of loose rock as well as sand. Piñon pines, scrub oak, junipers, agave, and cypress trees flank the trail. Once you round the farthest western corner of the hike, proceed straight up the slick rock. Do exercise caution as the rock is steep, and be watchful of mountain bikers as this double black diamond biking trail is a popular spot. The trail is well marked with white paint and will assist in making your way up the rock and through the switchbacks. Once you are at the top of the formation, you will arrive at the most picturesque point on the trail. Views of Midgley Bridge, the town of Sedona, and the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness are all in view.
Hangover Trail continues alongside Mitten Ridge on a narrow and level shelf for another mile or so before you retreat back towards the other side of the formation. It isn’t long before you arrive at the “cow pies.” This half-mile portion of the trail is what is called Cow Pie Trail and is the portion that links Hangover Trail to Munds Wagon Trail. These slick rock mounds appear otherworldly and make for a good photo opportunity. Continue following the white paint that will lead you back to Munds Wagon Trail. If you reach the 4x4 road or the equestrian bypass, you’ve overshot the trail by just a little bit. Once you resume the hike on Munds Wagon, the basket cairns lead the way back (just a little over 2 miles) to the original fork in the trail. Then you’ll head back the last 1.6 miles to the trailhead the same way that you came.
From Phoenix: Take I-17 North to AZ-179 North toward Sedona. Take the Schnebly Hill Rd. exit from the traffic circle and proceed 0.8 miles to the Huckaby Trailhead. Parking is on your left-hand side. The remainder of Schnebly Rd. is unpaved and recommended for high-clearance vehicles only.
- Daily Red Rock Passes ($5) are available on-site at the automated fee station. Only credit cards are accepted.
- Interagency passes are accepted as well—just leave the card on your dash.
- The trails are extremely rocky—hiking shoes with good tread are recommended.
- Bathroom facilities (vault toilets) are available at the trailhead.
- Little shade cover exists on the trail—make sure to pack sunscreen and/or a hat as well as enough water appropriate for the season and your needs. There is no potable water on site.
- As always, practice Leave No Trace ethics.
This blog was thoughtfully written by Jia Oak Baker. You can find her on Instagram at @violetsky29.
* Please remember to hike at your own risk. To learn more please refer to our Hiking Disclaimer.