Mescal Trail #517 may be the least-known trail on Mingus Mountain, but it’s worth the trek because of the moderate workout, the flowers and the views. With usually very few people on it, this could also be a great choice for those who like a little solitude.
About half the trail is exposed to sun, so during these hot days you either want to go down early in the day or in the evening.
This 6.3-mile trail is rated moderate as it climbs from 6,200 to 7,000 feet. It tops out at the rest-stop picnic area at the top of Mingus, and this is a great place for lunch, a snack or just time to enjoy the cool air. There are ramadas with benches and restrooms here. Wild turkeys have come right up to me during my stops here. Elk, deer and bear are also nearby.
Larkspur, blue flax, Indian paintbrush and mariposa lilies are among the flowers you’ll find on Mingus. Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and maple provide the hiker with shade in many spots along the Mescal Trail. Views of Sedona and the mountains are plentiful.
While Mescal Trail does have some scree on it, most of it is easy walking. Sedona resident Mark Purcell recently led this hike for the North Mountain Visitors Center hiking club.
Mescal Trail has some history to it. The bottom half follows the route of an old wagon road into Jerome, and some old rock walls are left from this historical use of Mescal Gulch.
On the final leg out of the hike we passed a cross on a spot that could be a grave, but there is no historical account of anyone being buried here that I’ve been able to find. Mescal Trail also puts you close to Jerome and its restaurants.
Directions: From Fain Road turn onto 89A and go 12 miles to the summit rest area, then another 2.8 miles to the parking area on the left near the Prescott National Forest sign. The trailhead itself is at the far end of the guardrail on the other side of the highway.
Stan Bindell is always looking for a good hike. If you have one, contact him at thebluesmagician@gmail. com