Ernie Hikes the Sedona Broken Arrow Trail to Chicken Point and Beyond

Contributed by Ernie on . Posted in Sedona and the Verde Valley

Broken Arrow Trail features magnificent red rock formations along the path.

One of the more enjoyable things I get to do is to go on hikes with my peoples. I am not crazy about being leashed up all of the time on the hikes, because my peoples have a tendency to drag me along and not let me sniff all of the bushes and trees along the trail. Give me a break! I know that they don’t like to sniff like I do, but let’s have some consideration here. Normally, I’m the one out front dragging them along watching for dangers along the trail, and if it weren’t for me, who knows what would happen to the peoples. Peoples are frustrating. Sometimes they just don’t get it.

One of the great things about where we live is that all of the trails in the Broken Arrow area are within walking distance of the peoples' house. On this day, my peoples decided to hike the Broken Arrow Trail to Chicken Point and beyond. They decided to combine the Broken Arrow Trail with some other trails in the area, to create a loop hike. However, there are numerous points along the trail where the hiker can either back track to the Morgan Road parking lot or exit the trail system at other locations along the loop. The trail begins near the parking lot at the end of Morgan Road.

ernie meets friend on broken arrow trail

As we began to head up the trail, another peoples were coming down the trail being led by a Bishon Frise dog named Pasha. This was one classy looking dog and she had all of the traits that make my blood boil. We did the dance for a few minutes and it was clear that Pasha was really crazy about me. She was attracted to the tough guy side of me, and clearly was crazy about my body. I would be lying if I said I was not interested in Pasha, but it was clear that we were from different sides of the railroad tracks and that it would never work out.

She was refined and graceful, obviously from show dog stock, and was meticulously trimmed, with a bow in her hair. I, on the other hand, was just a scrappy Boston Terrier with some pretty bad habits that come from being raised in a tough blue collar neighborhood, and I possessed none of the refinements and education required to fit in with such a classy dog. I needed to stay on my side of the tracks, and hang out with some of the flea-bitten mutts in the neighborhood, like Roxie. She didn’t have Pasha’s looks and class, but could really show me a great time.

I knew I would break Pasha’s heart, but this was a dead-end road with nothing but a broken heart at the end. As I headed up the trail with my peoples, I glanced back at Pasha. She was whining, pulling at her leash, calling out to me. Love can be tough, but life goes on.

The Broken Arrow Trail, from the trailhead to Chicken Point is approximately 1.7 miles. It is approximately a 300-foot elevation gain, but is gradual enough that it can be easily negotiated by just about any hiker. From the trailhead, the trail heads south. Not too far into the hike, the trail takes the hiker past Devils Dining Room Sinkhole, a 90-foot deep sinkhole that is one of seven sinkholes around the Sedona area. This sinkhole is the home of a bat colony, so care should be taken not to disturb the bats. As a dog, even I can appreciate the need foe some peace and quiet. About a mile from the trailhead, the trail intersects with the Submarine Rock trail spur. Although this spur will add an additional 1.5 miles to the hike, it is definitely worth the time and effort. Submarine Rock is visible from the intersection of the two trails, and is one of the more distinguishing red rock formations in the Sedona area.

Ernie stops to look around along the Broken Arrow trail in Sedona, Arizona.

After leaving the trail intersection and continuing on the Broken Arrow Trail, the Twin Buttes will be on your left as the hiker approaches Chicken Point. When you reach Chicken Point, the views to the south and the east are spectacular! Don’t be surprised if you run into a tour jeep or two, in that Chicken point is one of the popular destinations for one of the local jeep companies. With all of the tourists mulling around, handouts are easy. In fact, this is so easy that I almost feel like a con artist. All I have to do is act cute for a few seconds, and everyone wants to pet me and offer me snacks. This is a piece of cake. I wonder if other businesses in Sedona play the tourists like I do.

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If you look up at the sheer walls to the west of Chicken Point, it is very possible you will see rock climbers scaling the cliff face. You will need to look closely, because when I was there, they rock climbers look like ants because they are so far up the cliff face. The Broken Arrow area and in particular, Twin Buttes, is a very popular location for rock climbing

From Chicken Point, it is easy to connect to the Little Horse Trail. The Little Horse Trail winds downhill through the wooded landscape, and after approximately .4 miles, intersects with the Chapel Trail. This .7-mile trail winds around a residential neighborhood, and leads you to the historic Chapel of the Holy Cross. If you have time, it is well worth it to visit this popular tourist attraction. The Chapel was constructed in 1956, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in November 2011.

After leaving the Chapel of the Holy Cross, the hiker should follow Chapel Road for about .2 to the Mystic Trail trailhead. The trailhead will be on your right. The Mystic Trail is approximately .9 miles and exits at Pine Drive. From this point, it will be necessary to follow Highway 179 about .2 miles to Morgan Road, then follow Morgan Road for about .6 miles to the parking lot at the trailhead. The entire loop hike is about 4.8 miles. If you take the Submarine Rock trail spur, it will add approximately 1.5 miles to the total.

Trail Details

Access: The trail can be accessed from a number of different locations in the area. Besides the Morgan Road trailhead, Chicken Point can be accessed from the Little Horse Trail trailhead, and the Chapel trailhead.

Length: The length varies depending on the route chosen but the above-described hike is approximately 4.8 miles in length. If the Submarine Rock spur trail is included, the length increases to approximately 6.3 miles.

Rating: The above-described hike is rated as moderate to difficult in places.

Use: Heavy, especially from March through May, and September through November. Also, there is a very popular jeep trail that ends at Chicken Point, so expect to see some tour jeeps that frequent this area.

Season: Year round, but hikers should wear protection from the sun such as wide-brimmed hats and sun block, and carry at least two quarts of water if hiking this trail in the summer.

Hiking Time: Varies, but the above-described hike should take approximately three to four hours. Add an additional hour if you choose to hike the Submarine Rock spur trail.

Cumulative Elevation: From Morgan Road, the elevation gain to Chicken Point is approximately 300 feet.