Broken Arrow Trail to Chicken Point & Submarine Rock

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“Broken Arrow” is just one possible name of this trail.  It could just as easily be called the Chicken Point or Submarine Rock trail, even though these are two separate destinations (the trail splits about halfway in).  No matter which destination you choose, you won’t be disappointed by the sweeping views of the mountains and wilderness southeast of downtown Sedona.

The easiest way to find this trail, is to watch for the “Broken Arrow” sign off Rte. 179, just south of the “Y”.  The road isn’t called “Broken Arrow”, it’s actually Morgan Road.  I think “Broken Arrow” refers to the subdivision of homes.  Anyway, turn at the sign, and follow Morgan Road until the pavement runs out.  Just beyond, there’s a parking area.  A Red Rock Pass is required. 

There are a couple of things you should know about this trail, before we get started.  First, this is one of the few trails in the Sedona area that’s mountain bike-friendly.  Bicycles aren’t allowed in any wilderness areas, and most trails at least touch some designated wilderness land.  So if you’re hiking, you’ll have to share the trail and possibly move over for oncoming traffic.  Second, you don’t have to hike at all to see either Chicken Point or Submarine Rock.  There’s a jeep road that parallels the trail, and there’s a very good chance that an entire group of sightseers, riding on one of those popular Pink Jeep tours, will be at your destination.

Knowing all this, I decided this would still be a worthwhile hike, and I set off.

For the first part of the trail, you’re walking around the base of this red rock mountain.  The path is marked by cairns, and travels over relatively smooth slickrock.

Once you’ve rounded the base of that first hill (that’s it on the left), you gain a little elevation, and start hiking around another one.

About 3/4 of a mile from the trailhead, you arrive at a big hole in the ground, known as the Devil’s Dining Room.  It’s actually a sinkhole, formed when water eroded away the limestone, deep underground.  Eventually, the ground collapsed, forming a hole that’s about 60-90 feet deep, and about 30 feet wide at the rim.  The Devil’s Dining Room is surrounded by a fence–you could easily climb through it for a closer look, but I imagine a fall to the bottom of the hole would ruin your hike, and your entire day.

You can’t get close enough to the sinkhole to see the bottom (not to mention it’s dark, so you probably couldn’t see much anyhow).  A sign nearby tells you to be quiet, since bats may be sleeping, hibernating, or raising their young inside.

After you leave the Devil’s Dining Room, it’s not long before you’re faced with a decision:

Chicken Point or Submarine Rock?  I wanted to do both, so I decided I’d check out Chicken Point first, then pick up Submarine Rock on the return.

To reach Chicken Point, a little more climbing is necessary.  You can kinda see the trail winding back and forth in this picture.  Also take note of the protruding mountainside that’s nearly in the center of the picture: that’s the first hill you walked around, after leaving the trailhead–now well over 1.5 miles away, I’d estimate.

Chicken Point is a wide-open slickrock clearing, on the northern side of a nearby mountain.  You’re high enough here to get an excellent view of the surrounding valley.

The mountains in the distance are simply perfect.  By the way, that’s Submarine Rock near the bottom of the picture.

After hiking alone on the trail for the past hour, suddenly I was surrounded by people, all of whom had put out almost no effort to reach Chicken Point.  They were hopping on and off those Pink Jeeps, running around and taking pictures, as I huffed and puffed my way up the final slickrock slopes of Chicken Point.

You can see the path used by jeeps, clearly worn into the rock.  While the jeep tours look like a lot of fun, I was interested in getting away from the crowds, so I found a remote spot on the hillside near Chicken Point, for a few minutes of peace and quiet.

After spending a while backtracking, I once again found myself at the crossroads.  I took the turn for Submarine Rock.

This part of the path led through some slightly more shady forest, all the while keeping those beautiful mountains in view, in the distance.

After crossing a jeep trail, the footpath drops down through a dry wash, then back up again, at the foot of Submarine Rock.

Submarine Rock looks a little like a pile of mashed potatoes.  You know the kind, just a little too soupy?  There’s no right way or wrong way to climb to the top.  Just figure it out as you go, and don’t be afraid to use your hands.  (On the way down, you’ll also be fully utilizing your butt.)

The view from atop Submarine Rock might very well be one of the best in Sedona.  And that’s saying something, because after all, Sedona is one incredible place.  It’s extraordinary, because it’s a 360-degree view.  Everywhere you turn, there’s something incredible.

Looking back to the northwest, you can see Sedona and Wilson Mountain…

… and to the north and northeast is Marg’s Draw and the ragged edges of Munds Mountain.

If the weather is cool, Submarine Rock is a great place to stake out a spot, sit down, and relax for a while (there’s no shade, so it would be brutally hot in the summer).  That’s exactly what I did.  Fortunately, most of the tourists that arrived by jeep stayed down at the other end of the rock, just far enough away to be out of sight, and out of mind.

On the return trip, I decided it might be shorter to follow the jeep road instead of the trail.  The two run so closely together in places, that it was easy to hop back on the footpath after a while.  All told, I probably walked about 4-5 miles, round trip, but I can’t be certain.

Note: This trip was first published in 2007.

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