Brins Mesa Trail Fast Facts
Length: 4.5 miles
Elevation gain: 950 ft
Type: Out and Back
Dogs: Yes, on a leash
Approximate time to hike: 2-3 hours
Parking: Brins Mesa Trailhead
About Brins Mesa Trail
Brins Mesa Trail is the perfect trail for so many reasons. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, a photographer, or a little of all three- Brins Mesa Trail will not disappoint! Be sure to pack plenty of water and sun protection, as there is little shade along this trail and the temperatures can be pretty brutal in the summer months.
Starting from the trailhead, head north for about 5 minutes and you’ll cross over into the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness. Here, and for about the next 20 minutes, the trail remains relatively flat and the terrain consists mostly of trees, rocks, and red dirt.
After hiking for a bit, the trail begins to head to the west and you’ll be confronted with the only significant elevation gain. You won’t need to do any crazy scrambling or climbing, simply follow the natural rock staircase winding up the mesa. There are several points along the way to stop and take a break, in case you need a quick breather.
After another 10 minutes or so, you’ll make it to the mesa, at the site of the historic Brins Fire which burned 4,000 acres of trees as a result of an illegal campfire in 2006. Grass has grown in place of the trees, which make for a beautiful, idyllic setting atop the mesa. This is the highest part of the trail in terms of elevation, and in terms of foot traffic. Photographers love this part of the trail, particularly at sunrise or sunset.
To get back to your car, you have a few options. You could take the trail that you followed originally to get back, but if you want a change of scenery you could follow the trail down and connect with Soldier Pass Trail and make it a 7 mile lollipop loop.
Photography Pro Tips
When hiking Brins Mesa Trail, it’s really hard to go wrong when it comes to taking a good picture. There’s ample opportunity to take photos of quintessential Sedona landscape, foliage, and animals, and there’s no shortage of good views. The best tip that we can offer would be to arrive at the trailhead about 1.5 hours before sunrise or sunset, this way you can be atop the mesa for one of the best light shows on earth. Make sure you bring a headlamp or flashlight for the way back if you’re going to be taking photos of sunset.