Two things are hot about this trail. That’s the way you’ll feel when you complete the climb to the top of Horse Mesa and that’s the way you’ll describe the views when you get there. There’s actually two ways to approach the Hot Loop, one is from a trailhead in Jacks Canyon near the Pine Flat Subdivision. The other is a trailhead in Woods Canyon off AZ 179.
From the Jacks Canyon Trailhead (which has the best parking lot) a connector trail leads up and over a low saddle to join the Hot Loop just as it begins the steepest part of its 1,000 foot climb to the top of Horse Mesa.
From the Woods Canyon Trailhead, you can access this trail by following an old jeep road from AZ 179 to the canyon mouth. A metal trail sign marks the place where the Hot Loop branches off from the Woods Canyon Trail which continues up the canyon. Once the loop trail reaches the top of Horse Mesa it meanders across the broad, flat plain to a panoramic overlook of the eastern limits of the Sedona Red Rocks area (about 4 miles from the trailhead). From here you can see a number of landmarks including Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and west toSycamore Pass. The trail then continues across the mesa top to equally impressive views of Woods Canyon. The trail continues to the top of Jacks Point and across the rim and eventually ties into the Jacks Canyon Trail.
If you start your hike from Woods Canyon, you might keep in mind that this stream can quickly turn into a flood during the spring snowmelt or after a summer thunderstorm. If that happens, the canyon bottom jeep road can become part of the stream.
The Hike House Sedona Trail Rating System provides actual hiker feedback and ratings of each of the Sedona hiking trails. The cumulative trail ratings for the Hot Loop Trail submitted by fellow hikers is located above with the Trail Data. Your trail feedback and ratings are an important resource for fellow hikers and provide a personal account of your trail experience from which others may learn. So please hike Sedona, help others, and rate a trail today!
This is a wonderful test especially for an older guy. I live right under Horse Mesa and climbed it twice. While it is difficult when you reach the top the views and the accomplishment are terrific. There is a cross at the top facing Canyon Mesa that has been there for since at least 2003 when I first got to the top. Try it…you’ll like it.