Rocky Sidewinder / 153A
Munds Park, Arizona (Coconino) Technical Rating: 3-4
Last Updated: 06-18-2016
Jacks Canyon Road
Coconino National Forest
Rocky Sidewinder / 153A Highlights
Are you looking for a trail around the eastern section of Schnebly Hill Road, but want more of a challenge and less tourist traffic? This is the trail for you! This trail is a quick bypass of Schnebly Hill Road, and it is very rocky and winding. You will travel through forest and majestic mountain scenes on this trail, and while it is short, it will offer a quick respite from Jeep tour companies clogging Schnebly HIll Road. Don't forget to stop on the westernmost portion of 153A, as part of Hot Loop to take in the beautiful view of Sedona and the surrounding area!
Technical rating: (3-4) Easy
Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves but rocks to 9". Water crossings usually less than hub deep. Passable mud. Grades moderate, up to 15 degrees. Side hill moderate up to 15 degrees. 4WD under most conditions. No width problems, vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.
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Directions to Trailhead
From Schnebly Hill Road, both ends of Rocky Sidewinder (153A) are within a mile east of the Schnebly Hill Vista, with the west end of being within a couple hundred feet of Schnebly Hill Vista.
FR 153A is a rocky trail that never stops curving in one direction or another. It starts and ends with an intersection with Schnebly Hill Road. The trail is very rocky and also has multiple ledges. The western end of the trail is also considered as being part of Hot Loop / Schnebly Hill Loop. Rain can make this trail considerably muddy as well, and the eastern portion is seasonally closed for Winter. The trail winds through both a piney forest and a high desert overlook of the red cliffs located near Sedona.
2: South Spur (0.2mi)
Stay to the northeast as there's a short spur to the southeast that just dead-ends.
3: Mountain View (0.8mi)
You can get a good look at Munds Mountain Wilderness area from here, as well as the radio tower.
4: 9494F Intersection / HotLoop (1.1mi)
Head straight onto the Hot Loop Trail to get back towards Schnebly Hill Road. Heading south will take you deeper into the forest as you loop around Schnebly Hill.
5: Cattle Guard (1.2mi)
Continue straight through the cattle guard staying to the south of the big cement trough.
6: Campsite Intersection (1.3mi)
From here you can head North or Southeast on 153A, or Southwest to a very scenic campsite.
7: Seanic Campsite (1.4mi)
This optional jaunt off the main road takes you to a very nice, scenic, yet primitive camping spot, and it's far enough back from the main trails in the area that you have a chance you won't be seeing too many neighbors.
8: Seanic Overlook (1.5mi)
This is a great spot to stop and take photos of the amazing red rock formations in the valley below. Of course, it's not the only one in the area.
9: Big Rocks (2.2mi)
This spot offers a nice challenge that's not too challenging unless you're in a stock vehicle.
10: More Big Rocks (2.4mi)
This spot offers another nice challenge that's not too challenging unless you're in a stock vehicle.
11: Big Obstacles (2.6mi)
This spot offers yet another nice challenge that's not too challenging unless you're in a stock vehicle.
12: Vista Campsite Intersection (2.7mi)
To the North is Schnebly Hill Road. To the Southwest is the Schnebly Hill Vista Campsite. To the South is further into the Hot Loop and 153A trails. This intersection can be a bit of a challenge all on its own for stock or low profile vehicles.
13: Schnebly Hill Vista Campsite (2.8mi)
This campsite is another great spot for camping with a nice scenic overlook of the valley, and of the lower part of Schnebly Hill Road.
14: Schnebly Hill West (2.8mi)
To the South of this location is FR 153A, which is also considered a trailhead for Hot Loop Off-road 4x4 Trail. Just West of here is the Schnebly Hill Vista Overlook and the beginning of a large no camping area within the Coconino National Forest. To the East along Schnebly Hill Road about 5.6 miles are I-17 and lots of dispersed camping spots along the way.
This trail is closed during the Winter - Dec 15 - Apr 1 - to prevent erosion as the trail can get snow and become very wet and muddy. It may also be closed at other times of year when there's inclement weather in the area. Check with the Coconino Forest Service for updates.
Camping and Lodging
Camping is technically not allowed along this trail based on the Coconino National Forest MVUM, but you will find some great spots to camp along it, and nearby.
Questions & AnswersNo questions have been submitted.
Offroaded on 06-18-2016
Low Temperature: 60° F
High Temperature: 78° F
Camping GPS Coordinates:
32° 52' 26.47"N
111° 41' 59.03"W
On a lovely cloudless Friday afternoon, wanted to test out my Offroad trailer on this stunning loop. We took my FJ Cruiser and M100 trailer along 153A from the east end, boulder crawling for a bit, through the forest and finally up the hill to the furthest SW point on the road, where we set up camp and watched the sunset. Saturday we exited at the West end near the Schnebly hill overlook.
The road seemed a tad more washed out than I remembered and I had to be careful about the lines I took to avoid undercarriage involvement, but overall, a stock 4x4 vehicle with typical ground clearance ( like 12"+) should have little difficulty navigating this trail.
We landed at an empty campspot, at the point where the old Mund's wagon rd, from Sedona to Mund's park, crests the rim overlooking an amazing vista of red rocks. The video starts here, in the middle and is my 1st gopro attempt ( father's day loot). YouTube asked if I wanted to stabilize the video, which destabilized the captions. At first you might hate it as I did, but it grows on you.
The morning of the 18th we collapsed/packed our gear and headed out the "Jeep trail" ( as labeled on the topo) portion and it proved to be quite rocky, as evidenced in the video. The views are amazing (you might add other adjectives when you stand there). We found about 6 pull offs to the left leading to unique overlooks, each as breathtaking as the others . I was a little concerned about having to back out with the trailer but the two overlook spots we stopped at had turn around loops.
This trail is quite secluded and only some cattle visited us during our stay. I was surprised by this as every campground near Lake Mary, Mormon Lake and dispersed campspot around Flagstaff had a camper in it. Something to do with 117 degrees in the valley I would suspect.
Cool enough for sweaters in the morning up here though.
Offroaded on 04-14-2016
Low Temperature: 50° F
High Temperature: 78° F
I was running Hot Loop which also takes you through the western half of 153A. The trail was mostly the same as it has been the last time I went on it, but some of the larger rocks seemed a bit more exposed, likely due to winter erosion. Every time I'm here the scenary of looking out over the Northeastern Verde Valley is always breath taking.
Start the video at 6:35 for FR 153A.
Offroaded on 09-12-2015
Low Temperature: 40° F
High Temperature: 89° F
Camping GPS Coordinates:
34° 53' 49.69"N
111° 38' 54.15"W
A small group of people from AZFJ decided to camp out and take a few trails around Sedona. We camped off Schnebly Hill Road and the next day we headed out for a day of adventure. I started by taking Schnebly Hill Rd. from the I-17 end toward Sedona and took a side trip around the 153A loop.
I've also done a portion of this loop as part of Hot Loop.