Analysing terrain data
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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
This hike, one of those rare routes that both hikers and VERY skilled bikers can equally enjoy, begins at the Huckaby trailhead on Schnebly Hill Rd which requires a recreation pass (either a Red Rock Pass or a Federal Interagency Pass).
The parking area is large, but very busy, as it serves as the starting point for several trails. The 9-mile “lollipop” route begins on the very mellow and scenic Munds Wagon Trail, which is the only out-and-back portion of the trek.
Unlike many other scenic Sedona hikes, this one does not involve steep climbing.
All-in-all, it is a mellow ramble, elevation gain-wise.
The Munds Wagon stretch is a beautiful place to be on a sunny, cool morning. Less than two miles along the Munds Wagon Trail, there is a signed intersection for the Hangover Trail.
Keep going straight, but note that this is where the loop will intersect on the return.
At about 2.5 miles, there is a parking area where you leave the Munds Wagon Trail and head up the Cow Pies Trail.
Perhaps it is named that because the slickrock is dotted with black rocks that resemble cow “pies.” Continue along the Cow Pies Trail, as slickrock begins to dominate the terrain, to the signed Hangover Trail intersection.
The views really kick it up several notches, and keeping one's eyes on the increasingly exposed trail is a challenge.
The Sedona Singletrack Outdoor Recreation Map description of the RIDE is: "Hangover is beyond advanced in required biking skill, especially along the northern side of the butte.
There are many sections of serious height exposure where a fall off the trail will result in serious injury." Keep in mind that even though it is certainly easier to keep upright on foot, the same dangers exist for hikers! The saddle at the end of Mitten Ridge is a popular turnaround point for many hikers, but to complete the entire loop, follow the white arrows on the slickrock to get to the north side.
The trail becomes off-camber, increasingly narrow with huge drop-offs, and in mid-afternoon in the fall, very chilly as it is in total shade for a long stretch. The entire route provides expansive views; look for Wilson Mountain in the distance and far below, clear views of the Midgley Bridge.
Stay aware: there may be some skilled mountain bikers to marvel at as they ride this expert trail. The last part of the Hangover trail is a vast expanse of slickrock that requires some cautious foot placement to descend.
After that, there is a stretch of narrow, exposed tread, followed by a winding, mellow section that ends up back at the Munds Wagon Trail.
From the intersection, all that is left is the non-technical, serene return to the trailhead.