Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Capitol Butte - Sedona

Capitol Butte Hike
Sedona, Arizona
Mileage - 4.4
Time - 4:21
AEG - 1,930ft

Capitol Butte, or "Thunder Mountain" as its commonly called, sits directly in the middle of Sedona, Arizona and captures your attention from any direction in town.  I've heard this mountain described as "majestic" and given the vibe emanating from Sedona, it's very fitting.  Not only are the colors and formations visually stunning, Capitol Butte has a prominent summit just begging to be climbed!

Once my hiking friends found out I would be moving to California before the end of January, a trip was in the works.  Since it would be my farewell outing, they left it up to me to choose the destination.  I didn't hesitate for a second.  A little research into the trail and a meeting location were all that was left to get this one underway.  On Sunday morning I met Brian, Duane, Wally and Reena (the warrior princess) at Starbucks in Anthem and we took Brian's vehicle from there.   
To be clear, there is not a designated route to the peak, though a faint trail does exist with intermittent cairns to guide you most of the way up. From the trailhead off Dry Creek Road, we briefly followed the Lizard Head trail towards the Lizard Head for a photo opp.  It wasn't until you get past the "spine" that the adventure begins as you navigate your way up a 3rd class scramble on the final half mile to reach the peak.  I've been to Sedona at least 15-20 times in the last 6 years, and until Sunday, I have never seen a view quite like this!

If someone asked me what a perfect day on the trail would be like, I would have painted the picture of today's hike.  Great friends, great weather, a challenging climb with the big payoff being one of the greatest views in Arizona, possibly even the entire United States!

The Lizard Head

Eastern View from the Summit

Looking North at Mt Humphreys near Flagstaff
Wally, Brian, Boone, Duane & Reena

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