One of the most memorable sites when hiking in Sedona is the towering figure of Thunder Mountain. Its imposing, striped face is impossible to miss as you enter the city of Sedona from the north (Highway 89a). If you would like a hike that is fast & delightful, yet offers some physical challenges, we would recommend doing the Thunder Mountain and Lower Chimney Trails. This is one of our personal favorites. The panoramic view is accessible within twenty-five minutes if you park off Thunder Mountain Road and just ten minutes when parking at the Andante Road parking lot. *Please note: we do NOT recommend trying to hike to the top of Thunder Mountain. The mountain has claimed lives, and even experienced hikers have fallen. Please sign in at all trailheads for your safety.
Hiking in Sedona: Thunder Mountain
During your Sedona Retreat, we enjoy parking off Thunder Mountain Road, due to the fact that it is less crowded that the Andante Road parking. This lovely hike is a figure-eight loop that will take approximately one hour and fifteen minutes if one does not take time to rest and take photos. The trail is wide and well-manicured. This is a local favorite and you will be able to tell that it is highly trafficked. Despite being a very popular hiking destination, Thunder Mountain Trail is still private and offers many places to be in silence and take in the nature that surrounds you. As you wrap around the smaller mountain you can look up and see the Chimney Rock protrusion that towers above. At a distance, it looks small, but once you are right next to it, you will see just how large these formations really are.
Sedona Retreat: Stupa
Moving up and down through various washes you will pass the Stupa on your right (that is if you took the trail to the right at the juncture, which we recommend). This is a wonderful place to visit and we at SpiritQuest love to go to the Stupa to meditate during a Sedona Retreat. It is only a mere 10 feet off this trail. After passing the Stupa you will start to see the face of Thunder Mountain right in front of you. It stands tall and demanding as the size of Chimney Rock starts to shrink in its shadow. At this point the trail bolts up the side on Chimney Rock, this is a very steep incline. A beautiful man-made rock staircase has been built into the mountain. After a good climb up the stairs, you will come to a slick rock patio where the view is nothing less than breathtaking.
A Perfect Silence: Cultivate Gratitude
This is a perfect place to sit and have a picnic, take photos, and/or meditate on this beauty. During your Sedona Retreat, we suggest finding a quiet spot in the shade and sitting in stillness. Focus on your breath as you ponder the Divinity before you. This is a perfect place to be introspective and reflective on one’s life. What is most dear to you? How do you define your purpose on this planet? Or if you do not feel like internalizing an existential thought, then maybe just focus on gratitude! However you choose to spend the time hiking in Sedona, it will be worth it!
Heading Back: Hiking in Sedona Completed
Now the trail will start to drop down just as fast as it climbed, leading you around the other side of Chimney Rock. At this junction, go right. This is the figure eight-piece that was referenced above. (This is where you can climb to the summit of Chimney Rock, which we recommend). Lower Chimney Rock trail is fast and smooth. The trail will then conclude back at the Thunder Mountain Trailhead parking. We hope that you enjoyed this description and hope that you will come and visit us at our beautiful and serene healing retreat center for our Sedona Retreat Packages. We offer many different sessions on meditation and spiritual guidance if you are interested in expanding your spiritual practice, or would simply like to learn how to meditate.