Brins Mesa Trail, Jordan Trailhead, Sedona: Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness, Arizona

Brins Mesa Trail - 7.3 miles

Jordan Trailhead

Early morning on the Brins Mesa Trail

Early morning on the Brins Mesa Trail

Round-Trip Length: 7.3 miles
Start-End Elevation: 4,527' - 4,642' (5,073' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +112' net elevation gain (+1,117' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Brins Mesa Trail - 7.3 Miles Round-Trip

The Brins Mesa Trail runs 3.65 miles from the Jordan Trailhead in uptown Sedona to the Brins Mesa Trailhead on FR 152 in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The Brins Mesa Trail rises through stunning red rock formations to the eponymous mesa top, where it levels across a broad plateau and drops through heavy forest to its northern terminus.

Visitors will enjoy varied terrain and vegetation with rangy views across Capitol Butte, Mormon Canyon, and Brins Mesa on this popular trail. A connection with the Soldiers Pass Trail offers additional routing options through an archetypal Sedona desert landscape:

The Brins Mesa Trail heads northwest through intervals of cypress, pinyon, juniper, yucca, manzanita, agave, prickly pear, and cats claw. Cryptobiotic soil crusts between these plots absorb moisture and fix nitrogen, a critical process for this delicate ecosystem.

At 1.0 mile (4,722') the grade steepens on a stone-stepping climb to the mesa top (1.4 miles : 5,073'), where it levels and drops gently down a sloping plateau.

On June 18, 2006 a fire broke out on Brins Mesa that affected nearly 4,500 acres. While many trees were charred grasses, brush, and wildflowers have filled open spaces, and the area is recovering naturally.

The trail glides down the mesa with good views across the adjacent canyon, and north to Lost Wilson Mountain (6,762') and Maroon Mountain (6,666'). Look for deer, rabbit, and snakes in this wide open space.

The trail dips to the Soldiers Pass Trail split (2.05 miles : 4,935'), past which grades steepen down the heavily forested backside of Brins Mesa.

It gradually levels on the backside of the mesa along a wash, which it loosely follows and crosses several times en route to the Brins Mesa Trailhead on FR 152 (3.65 miles : 4,642'). While unspectacular these final 1.6 miles are shady, lightly traveled, and offer a better chance to see wildlife- particularly javelina.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N34 53.279 W111 46.107 — 0.0 miles : Brins Mesa Trailhead
  • N34 53.469 W111 46.426 — .5 miles : Moderate travel in mid-desert
  • N34 53.848 W111 46.501 — 1.0 miles : Begin steep climb
  • N34 54.023 W111 46.765 — 1.4 miles : Crest and level on Mesa top
  • N34 54.305 W111 47.297 — 2.05 miles : Soldiers Pass Trail split
  • N34 54.536  W111 47.498 — 2.4 miles : Begin drop down backside of Mesa
  • N34 54.801 W111 47.988 — 3.0 miles : Mild descent through forest
  • N34 54.940 W111 48.095 — 3.2 miles : Cross slickrock wash
  • N34 55.014 W111 48.362 — 3.45 miles : Pass through wilderness gate
  • N34 55.009  W111 48.514 — 3.65 miles : End of trail on road 152

Worth Noting

  • Consider returning via the Soldiers Pass, Jordan, and Cibola trails, which form a gorgeous loop back to the trailhead. Doing so adds 3.15 miles to the hike.

  • The Brins Mesa Trailhead sees heavy traffic all year long, especially on weekend mornings. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.

  • Much of the Brins Mesa Trail is exposed to heat, wind, and storms. Avoid this trail in midday sun, and if storms threaten.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • There are no designated backcountry campsites in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. Dispersed camping is permitted in specific areas past trailheads and roads (see map page to view the PDF). It's advisable to contact visitor services at 928.203.2900 to review your itinerary in advance.

  • Backpackers must be at least one mile from the trailhead, or as indicated by the map or signs at trailheads (guidelines may vary slightly by trail).

  • Backpackers are encouraged to occupy sites used by others, and practice leave no trace ethics.

  • Water is scarce. Plan on carrying all of your own into the backcountry.

  • Campfires are permitted on a seasonal and forest condition basis. Fire restrictions are strictly enforced.

  • Bears and others animals capable of reaching your food inhabit Red Rock Country. Store supplies safely by hanging or using bear canisters.

  • There are 7 developed campgrounds in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness vicinity: Pine Flat, Cave Springs, Manzanita, Chavez Crossing, Clear Creek, and Clear Creek Group Camp. There are at least 186 combined individual sites and 4 group sites.

  • Individual sites range $16-18 per night, and group sites $65-200. Coconino Forest Campgrounds do not accept Credit Cards on site (except Cave Springs). Cash and in-state checks only. Reservations and credit card payments may be made in advance through or by calling 877.444.6777.

Rules and Regulations

Red Rock Pass - a fee is required to recreate in the Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness:

  • Daily Pass: $5

  • Weekly Pass: $15

  • Annual Pass: $20

The Red Rock Pass is valid for use as a parking permit to recreate in Red Rock Country, including access to Red Rock Country Heritage Sites.

It's not valid for other fee areas such as developed campgrounds, Grasshopper Point Picnic and Swimming Area, Crescent Moon Day Use Area, and Call O' the Canyon (West Fork Trailhead).

Passes may be obtained at all Ranger Stations, Visitor Centers, Online, and at a number of local kiosks and commercial vendors (e.g. grocery stores).

Directions to Trailhead

The Jordan Trailhead is located 1.7 miles from the Highway 179 - 89A split in Sedona, AZ. The trailhead is located above a residential community on the north side of town.

From the 179 - 89A split, drive .2 miles north on 89A to Jordan Road. Turn left on Jordan Road and drive .8 miles to Park Ridge Road. Turn left on Park Ridge and follow signs into the parking lot cul-de-sac. There are signs for the trailhead along this short drive. Note the last few hundred yards are packed dirt-gravel.

Contact Information

Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness
Red Rock Ranger District
8375 State Route 179 (just south of the village of Oak Creek)
Sedona, Arizona 86341
8:00 - 4:30 Monday - Friday

Visitor Information: 928.203.2900

Administration Office: 928.203.7500 or 928.282.4119

Coconino National Forest
1824 S. Thompson St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Visitor Information: 928.526.0866
Supervisor's Office: 928.527.3600

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