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Home arrow Hiking arrow Arizona Hikes arrow Bell Trail


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Bell Trail Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Tuesday, 14 November 2006
Early November, 2006, my dad and I took a quick day hike along Bell Trail. This trail is located about 1.5 hours north of Phoenix and about 45 minutes east of Sedona. It follows Wet Beaver Creek for a few miles and then, after crossing the creek, climbs to the top of the Mogollon Rim where there are spectacular views in all directions. Hiking this trail in the Fall allowed us to see lots of colorful leaves -- something we don't see much of in Phoenix. The pictures for this hike can be found in my Bell Trail Gallery.
We arrived at the trailhead right around 7:30am. The sky was cloudy and it was quite cold. The clouds didn't look dark and heavy enough for rain so I wasn't too concerned about that. Two other cars were in the parking lot. Early risers, I figured. After getting our gear together we walked around the barricade and started down an old jeep road.
A few hundred yards down the road was a sign that explained the history of Bell Trail and showed us a map. The guidebook I had been reading said the hike was a bit over 4 miles in each direction. The map here said it was 6 miles in each direction. By the end of the day we were pretty much convinced that the map was right. It felt a lot more like a 12 mile hike than an 8 mile hike.
The trail led us next to Wet Beaver Creek which was lined with a large number of trees that displayed many different shades of red, yellow, and orange in their leaves. It was nice to see these fall colors again. Since our move from Oregon these sights have been rare. During most of the trip we could hear the moving water in the creek.
Many of the hills and cliffs that we walked past showed the same red rock that Sedona is famous for. I'm sure that the rocks here are a part of the same geological structure that makes up Sedona. Even though the rocks were red, it wasn't as impressive as the formations seen in Sedona.
After about 4 miles we got to the Wet Beaver Creek crossing. At this point the trail crosses the creek and begins a steep climb to the top. The crossing is very picturesque. The trees create multi-colored canopies and sheltered areas that look like they would be wonderful camping spots. In fact, we saw one tent tucked away a bit off of the trail here. It looked like someone spent the night. When we came back through the crossing on the way out the tent was gone.
I was prepared to get wet for the crossing but it wasn't necessary. Several large boulders were exposed at strategic points so it was a simple matter of hopping from rock to rock to cross without getting wet.
The climb to the top was steep. We gained about 1200 feet in about 2 miles. Much of the climb was walking up steps that were cut into the rock along the sides of the hills. When we got to the top we discovered that it had been worth it. There were great views in all directions.
My dad and I cooked up some water (we had brought a backpacking stove) and had some tea and coffee while we took in the scenery. It was nice and relaxing. After about 30 minutes there we started back down the trail. That was when we started noticing other people.
We passed several small parties on our way down to the crossing. After crossing the creek we ran into many more groups of people heading either to the crossing or to the creek following Weir Trail. When we got back out to the parking lot I was surprised to see over 20 cars there. Apparently this trail is quite popular this time of the year.
On this hike I was trying my new trail shoes. Up until now I've always worn hiking boots for these kind of trips. On my last trip, the one to Havasupai, I developed several blisters from my boots and was just not comfortable with them. Input on hiking forums suggested that I try using trail shoes instead. The pair I got worked great and were very comfortable.
We look forward to another hike but we might have to wait till after the new year. November and December can be very busy months.
 

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