Departure Time: 8am Duration: Full Day Trip Main Activity: Scenic Drive, Hiking Meal: Yes in Sedona or Oak Creek Canyon Months Offered: Year Round (Not Winter) Seasonal Closure: Yes (Winter Conditions) Trail Rating: 3-5 Bumps and Shakes!
  • Overview
  • Trip Outline
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Schnebly Hill Road is one of the most beautiful drives in Sedona, Arizona. It’s a steep, very bumpy, and wonderfully scenic drive that drops more than 2,000 feet from a wooded mesa into the wonderland of Sedona’s Red Rock canyons.

We begin our scenic drive off Interstate 17. The first stretch will take us through a lovely forest of tall Ponderosa Pines and a beautiful meadow with yellow wildflowers. Once we reach the rim, the vistas are breathtaking!

From Sedona Schnebly Hill Road climbs 1,800 feet to the top of Munds Mountain. There are several pull-offs along the way where we will stop, stretch our legs, and take in the views. The grand finale of the drive is to the Schnebly Hill Vista at the top. From here, at an elevation of 6,000 feet, you can savor the expansive views of the valley and the surrounding peaks.

Time of Year:

The best time of year to enjoy the views from the main vista is between April and November.

Things to note along our way:

  • Foxboro Lake Dam: This is a beautiful meadow with yellow wildflowers growing depending on the time of year. This meadow (lake) can sometimes be filled with water. The area has a few camping sites.
  • FR 801 / Hotloop / Jack Canyon Intersection: Provides access to the eastern end of Hot Loop and Jacks Canyon Road.
  • 9499F Intersection: This side road also goes to the radio towers.
  • 9498F Intersection: This side road goes to the a small microwave radio tower connected with the larger KQST-FM Sedona radio station broadcasting tower. It’s not opened to visitors.
  • Rocky Sidewinder (FR 153A): this intersection begins another more challenging off-road trail to access the overlook.
  • Hot Loop Trail: (western end access intersection) Lessor traveled off-road trail leading to the overlook.
  • Schnebly Hill Vista: Sweeping views at an elevation of 6000 feet! Look for Munds Mountain to the south-southeast, Airport Mesa (formally Table Top Mountain) to the west-southwest and Chimney Rock and the Cockscomb farther west. The low, dark silhouettes of Mingus and Woodchute mountains line the southwestern horizon.
  • Schnebly Hill Trail: Several great hikes start, or end, off Schnebly Hill Road. One of the best is the Schnebly Hill Trail, which begins nearly a mile past the Schnebly Hill Vista. There’s not much shade at the lower levels, but as you near the mesa top you’ll slip into thickets of oak, juniper and pine. Once atop the ridge, you’ll pass a series of outstanding overlooks just off the trail.
  • Casner Canyon Trail (top view point) You need to enter from the bottom of this trail. It is a 5.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until November.
  • Munds Wagon Trail: This trail connects Schnebly Hill Trail to Margs Draw Trail and Huckaby Trail. It is well-marked, mostly moderate in grade, and offers occasional shade under Arizona cypress. Once the main highway between Sedona and Flagstaff, Munds hasn’t been passable to wagons for many decades. Today it’s a gradual uphill climb for hikers, frequently passing close to a creek bed with interesting plantlife, and taking you to two major rock formations: Cow Pies and The Carousel. Long before the modern Schnebly Road was built in the 1930s, cattleman Jim Munds moved his herd from Verde Valley to the summer pastures at Munds Park. By the late 1800s this cattle route was transformed into a wagon route by growers and ranchers, shaving off a day’s journey to Flagstaff. The historic Munds Wagon Trail was recently rediscovered by forest service personnel, and resurrected as another Sedona hiking trail.
  • Mitten Ridge Eyelet Arch: Vista point of this hole in an arch which you can hike to from Sedona below.
  • Merry-Go-Round Rock: Another eyelet arch formation which has trails that you can use to hike this formation.
  • Cow Pie Mesa: This rock formation gets it’s name because it looks like a massive pile of cow dung. Also, has a hiking trail.
  • Narrow Bridge: with a sharp U-corner making visibility difficult.
  • Hangover Trailhead Parking: This parking lot is here for people wanting to hike the Hangover Trail. It also connects with the Munds Wagon Trail that goes west to the parking lot closer to Sedona, and east further up the canyon. This has steep slickrock hiking and a very narrow cliff path! Not for the faint of heart!
  • Overhang: Here we get to drive under a beautifully formed rock formation that overhangs the road.
  • The Ledge: This is a massive rock in/under the middle of the road that can sometimes create a good sized ledge depending on how much erosion has occurred since the last time the road was maintained. We can usually go around it to the side closes to the canyon, but it can also be a fun obstacle to climb or descend. (I go around!)
  • Damfino Canyon: is a viewing point from below looking up to the Schnebly Hill Vista that we travel to the top of.

NOTE: Red Rock Pass is needed if you plan to Hike and leave the vehicle.

Explore Downtown Sedona

Once we arrive in beautiful Sedona after our off-road excursion there are many restaurants and shops in the downtown area to explore and grab a bite to eat at.

Road Closures:

Road quality will vary depending on weather. We keep in mind that rain or other poor conditions could close the road. Contact PJE to check for road closures.

Note: during the winter months road closures from the so-called Merry-Go-Round to the vista are common, especially after winter storms and snow. Because of this it would be a good idea to call the Red Rock Ranger District ahead of time at 928-203-2900 to ensure that the entire road is open.

Schnebly Hill Road Sedona Day Trip



Time : 8:00 am


Meet in and Depart from Fountain Hills. (Hotel Pick-up Included)


On-Road (North up I-17)

Travel on-road 2 hours 20 minutes to the entrance of Schnebly Hill Road.


Off-Road (Schnebly Hill Road)

Enter the off-road portion of the Schnebly Hill Road for 11.8 miles.

Schnebly Hill Vista

Vista Stop

Stop at the Schnebly Hill Vista to take in the sweeping views of the mountains and valley.

Schnebly Hill Trail

Hiking (Optional)

Schnebly Hill Trail hike begins nearly a mile past the Schnebly Hill Vista. There’s not much shade at the lower levels, but as you near the mesa top you’ll slip into thickets of oak, juniper and pine. Once atop the ridge, you’ll pass a series of outstanding overlooks just off the trail. NOTE: Red Rock Pass needed if you plan to Hike.

TRAVEL (Part 3)

Traveling Down to Sedona

From the vista we will continue to travel down off-road towards the town of Sedona. There are a number of spots to take in the sights and put your camera to good use.

Explore Sedona

Meal Time!

Once we arrive in Sedona there are many spots in the downtown area to explore and grab a bite to eat.

TRAVEL (Part 4)

Drive Home

Drive on-road for 2 hours back to Fountain Hills (or your hotel).

How Sedona Got It’s Name

(Read the full story here: How Sedona Got Its Name)

Carl Schnebly, who arrived at Oak Creek in 1900, first used the road to transport lumber from Flagstaff to build a two-story, 11-room home, now the site of the world-renowned Los Abrigados resort. Once his home was completed, Schnebly then used the road to transport wagon loads of produce north to Flagstaff and supplies south to his small general store. He also petitioned for a post office, which he proposed to call either “Oak Creek Crossing” or “Schnebly Station,” names rejected because they were too long to fit on a cancellation stamp. So Schnebly named the new postal site after his wife, Sedona, who became the namesake for the town.

Travelers coming down off the mountain on their way to the Verde Valley would often stop at the Schnebly home, which Sedona converted into an inn. Before long, people associated the road with the Schnebly family, and the route assumed its present name. Traffic on this steep trail declined in 1914, when the even shorter Oak Creek Canyon Road – State Route 89 – was completed.

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