Merry Go Round Rock in Sedona Arizona

Merry Go Round Rock


Mileage: 1.3
Elevation gain: 296 feet
Time to complete: 1 hour
Stars: ★★★★
Difficulty: 1/5 (Ratings explained)
Short but steady incline

Yes, you can get that classic Instagram shot at Merry Go Round Rock, but that’s not the main reason to go. From its perch near Schnebly Hill Road, Merry Go Round Rock offers spectacular views of Sedona, not to mention the fact that it’s a pretty cool formation itself. If you have a capable vehicle, you can drive up to the Cow Pies parking area. Otherwise, you can hike in from the Huckaby Trailhead.

Trail Description

I know, I know. You want that Instagram shot. I get it, but trust me when I say there is much more to this special place than a photo op. You’ll follow a historic wagon trail up to the Merry Go Round, but where you park will depend on what type of vehicle you have.

Cow Pies Trailhead (4WD)

High clearance 4WD vehicles can drive 2.7 miles up Schnebly Hill Road to the Cow Pies parking lot. The road starts off very rough, so that will be the gatekeeper for this option. If you make it past the first 100 yards, you’re golden. Just know it’s rocky the WHOLE way.

Rough terrain on Schnebly Hill Road

The Cow Pies Trailhead is not marked on every map, but you’ll know it because it’s a platform of solid rock. And it will probably have some Jeeps on it. Mine felt right at home there.

Jeeps parked at Cow Pies Trailhead in Sedona, Arizona

Huckaby Trailhead (2WD)

Additional mileage 5.5
Additional elevation gain 1401 feet

Passenger vehicles should park at the Huckaby Trailhead right before the road turns into dirt. This adds 5.5 miles and 1401 feet of elevation gain. From there, take the Munds Wagon Trail to the Cow Pies Trailhead. I didn’t take this route, so you’re on your own for figuring that part out.

Munds Wagon Trail

From the Cow Pies Trailhead, take the Munds Wagon Trail uphill toward Merry Go Round Rock. Or you can follow the road up farther until it intersects with the trail (but why?).

As you hike up the Munds Wagon Trail, you’ll soon be able to see Merry Go Round Rock up ahead. Okay, that’s pretty rad, right? Already worth it.

Merry Go Round Rock in Sedona, Arizona

The trail passes through some nice trees for shade as it climbs steadily up to this cool rock formation.

Once on top of the main level of the Merry Go Round, look down to your left to find the spot for taking that Instagram shot. I have to admit, it did not look anything like I expected (it’s not a cave?). There’s a small window that the photographer stands inside, and we found it best to climb down on the right side and then walk back along a slope that’s only slightly sketchy.

Slightly sketchy walk out to the spot for taking an Instagram shot

Sheesh, people will do anything for an Instagram shot. But yeah, we did it too.

Since the view faces west, it’s a great place to watch the sunset, but the lighting is not great for that Instagram shot later in the day. That’s okay, though, because I didn’t come for the shot. I came for the spectacular views!

The view from Merry Go Round Rock in Sedona Arizona

Be sure to take a stroll around the Merry Go Round for as far as your heart desires, taking in the views at various places. This place is more than just a photo op.

Map & Directions

Location Coconino National Forest, Sedona, Arizona

Google Maps Cow Pies Trailhead or Huckaby Trailhead

For whatever reason, the Cow Pies Trailhead is marked at the Huckaby Trailhead on Google Maps. So, if you search for it, your map will end where the dirt road begins. I marked the actual trailhead on the map below.

Fees/Passes If you park at the Huckaby Trailhead, a Red Rocks Pass or America the Beautiful Pass is required. Pay kiosk at the trailhead.

Trailhead Facilities None

Download KML or GPX

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Disclaimer Outdoor activities have inherent risk, and we will not be able to tell you all the risks you may face. You are responsible for your own safety, so prepare as well as you can and know your limits. Follow this guide at your own risk. And have fun!

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