Schnebly Hill Road, Sedona Arizona USA

Sedona Travel Blog

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Schnebly Hill Road

I left my camp just West of Flagstaff and rode a few miles Eastbound on Interstate Hwy 40 and took the US Hwy 89A to enjoy the beautiful red rock canyons of the "Sedona Vortex". My first stop would be on a very large overlook with great multiple views of the red rocks of Oak Creek Canyon. That overlook on the Mogollon Rim with views, happy people, Navajo venders, rest rooms, and a outpost wooden booth for the Coconino N forest. I wanted to see the Forest Service employees to buy a five dollor "Red Rock Permit" and get local road conditions. You can drive through the red rock canyons without a permit; but if you want to stop to enjoy the very nice canyons a permit is required starting about ten years ago. (In the 1950s they made many "cowboy-indian" movies in Oak Creek Canyon and Bear Wallow Canyon.

Schnebly Hill Road
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The Mogollon Rim runs East-West across 75% of Arizona splitting the state in half, and forms the Southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. The slow rising of the Mogollon Rim is the main force that helped the Colorado River slowly carve out the Grand Canyon. The cliffs of the Mogollon Rim runs about zero feet at the East and West side, and over 1000 feet high in the middle. The Mogollon Rim is the most important geological feature in Arizona and was formed over 10 million years ago when Arizona geology was very active with active faults and volcanoes.

We road less then a mile on US Hwy 89A and saw a big red sign "US 89A closed at mile marker (whatever)". Not wanting a dead end road We returned to the Interstate Hwy 40 and quickly took US Interstate Hwy 17 about 25 miles to the Northern end of Schnebly Hill Road.

Schnebly Hill Road

We road over Schnebly Hill with the fair sized Ponderosa pines. Then it was downhill to Schnebly Hill Vista with a very large parking area and red rock views of Oak Creek Canyon and Casner Canyon. (Only a short distance before the Vista was the new "no camping" sign that replaced the older no camping sign.) The Vista was the top of the Mogollon Rim covered with a thick layer of basalt. The Sedona Vortex had strong positive energy, giving me a great peaceful feeling from this geo-phisical force from Mother Earth. The Native Americans knew about the Vortex and was sacred ground for them for thousands of years.

Last year when I visited, as usual, the road was in fair shape with many cars and trucks passing through and people walking the trails.

Schnebly Hill
Around the time of the start of the red rock permits all the red rock areas were closed to camping. The no camping was OK with me cuz the ever growing number of campers caused a problem by camping on the very nice walking trails. (It was not polite to walk through somebodys camp; but also not polite to camp on a good trail and limit the walkers access.) I would spend the day in the red rock Vortex in Bear Wallow Canyon, then drive just above the Schnebly Hill Vista into the legal Forest Service camping on the basalt.

Strangely, I noticed that there was no traffic or people in this popular area. I started to drive down Casner Canyon on a bad road that appairently received no maintenance since last year. Before I could turn around and drive back, the road turned into a four wheel drive road.

Schnebly Hill
Old Blue has two wheel drive and only one foot of ground clearance under the truck. The ruts and protruding rocks needed more ground clearance and we were in danger of getting very stuck here. With no possibility of driving uphill, our only chance was to drive downhill (gravity assist) for another six miles of unknown hazards. So Blue maxed out her large block straight four cylinder with supercharger (LOL) so we could power our way through the large road hazards with Blue taking a real beating on her underbelly. At all costs, we must miss the large rocks from hitting the motor oil pan; that would be the death of Old Blue. At the worst four wheel drive areas I shut down Blue and got out to study the hazards to plan the best lanes for the wheels. Then in first gear we just had to power our way through the road hazard.
Schnebly Hill
My thrill of the Sedona Vortex was history.

Last year (and before that) Schnebly Hill Road was rough, but even cars could make this road if they were carefull. There were hundreds of people driving this road ever day during the past peak seasons.

The one four wheel drive high clearance jeep (tour for hire) I saw stoped, and we talked for a short while. I asked the driver if we could traverse this very bad road to Sedona. He told me that the bad road got much worse on the way downhill to Sedona. Not good. We continued to drive downhill to Schnebly Hill Butte where the road switches from Casner Canyon to the red rocks of Bear Wallow Canyon. I remembered the great walking trailheads on Schnebly Hill Butte, but all that was on my mind was to pass this survival test.

Schnebly Hill

In Bear Wallow Canyon the bad spots got worse and Blue took a very bad beating to keep us going. I passed another of my favorite walking trailhead but we had to keep moving. I can not concieve how only one year of no maintenance got such bad erosion on this road. Why would the Coconino N Forest would let this wonderful route in the red rocks get virtually unusable to most of the public? (Our tax money at work.)

After over three hours of driving the bad road (less then ten miles) we reached the sign to purchase the red rock passes just before the pavement started near Sedona.

We drove to Sedona and went South on Utah Hwy 179. At the Southern edge of Sedona I stopped at the very large Son Silver West with a hudge selection of stuff.

Schnebly Hill
I just purchased some scenic Sedona post cards to send to my friends at home and in Europe.

Southbound we passed some red rock buttes then got to Bell Rock, reported to be a strong portal for the Sedona Vortex. The North side of Bell Rock had a good walking trail up several layers of Bell Rock. They built a hudge parking lot for the walking trail up Bell Rock. The parking lot was full so I had to move on to the Bell Rock South parking. I did not stay long as I wanted to move on to make my camp and have some strong rum drinks to unwind.

walterman9999 says:
Thanks Paul,
A real compliment from a man who goes to fantastic beautiful places.
Posted on: Jan 04, 2018
walterman9999 says:
Thanks Jim,
The summer before this that road was in reasonable shape for cars, but you would need some ground clearance and drive carefully.
You must have drove the US Hwy 89A up Oak Creek Canyon to the top of the Rim; a good thrill also!
Posted on: Jan 04, 2018
walterman9999 says:
Thanks Sandra.
Western USA and most of Europe have many very good destinations!
Posted on: Jan 04, 2018
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Schnebly Hill Road
Schnebly Hill Road
Schnebly Hill Road
Schnebly Hill Road
Schnebly Hill Road
Schnebly Hill Road
Schnebly Hill
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nearing overlook
nearing overlook
new sign (no camping)
new sign (no camping)
new sign (no camping)
new sign (no camping)
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Schnebly Hill Vista
Casner Canyon
Casner Canyon
Casner Canyon
Casner Canyon
start four wheel drive
start four wheel drive
very bad road
very bad road
view across Oak Creek Canyon
view across Oak Creek Canyon
view
view
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view
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view & rest
view & rest
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view
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view
four wheel drive
four wheel drive
Casner Canyon
Casner Canyon
Schnebly Hill Butte
Schnebly Hill Butte
Schnebly Hill Butte (1994 with Mol…
Schnebly Hill Butte (1994 with Mo…
very bad road
very bad road
view
view
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very bad road
very bad road
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bad road
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two bad choices
two bad choices
very bad road
very bad road
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bad road
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view
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bad road
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bad road
bad road
bad road
bad road
bad road
bad road
bad road
Blue at walking trailhead
Blue at walking trailhead
Blue at walking trailhead
Blue at walking trailhead
view
view
bad road
bad road
bad road
bad road
red rock passes
red rock passes
the check is in the mail (LOL)
the check is in the mail (LOL)
Son Silver West
Son Silver West
red rock buttes
red rock buttes
red rock buttes
red rock buttes
red rock butte
red rock butte
Bell Rock parking (South)
Bell Rock parking (South)
Courthouse Butte
Courthouse Butte
Bell Rock (South)
Bell Rock (South)
Bell Rock (South)
Bell Rock (South)
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photo by: Fitnessguru729