We have all been there. You’ve packed your bag with the 10 outdoor essentials, planned your hike and let someone know where you are going, and checked the weather to make sure you hike during the coolest part of the day. You arrive at the trailhead ready to go, only to spend an hour looking for a parking spot. By the time you finally find a parking spot, your friend has already eaten your trail snacks, and the cool morning has transformed into a hot afternoon.
What if there was a way to make your trip more enjoyable and less stressful, give yourself more time for exploring, and minimize your impact, all at the same time? Sign us up, right?!
The Sedona Trailhead Shuttle service in Sedona, Arizona checks all those boxes, and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Leave No Trace to create awareness on this and other sustainability efforts in the area. Here is how to make it part of your visit.
The free shuttle service operates Thursday through Sunday all year round. Pickup locations are at Posse Grounds and 1294 SR 179, and drop off locations are located at five trailheads around the area: Mescal, Dry Creek, Soldier Pass, Cathedral Rock, and Little Horse Trailheads. Shuttle services run to and from the trailheads from around 7 AM to around 5:30 PM, depending on the line. You can visit SedonaShuttle.com or download the app for real time information and schedules.
Taking the shuttle eliminates the question of whether or not you will get a parking spot. You can take the stress out of your trip and be sure that your hard work planning ahead and preparing won’t be sidetracked by a full parking lot. Spend the day hiking the shady trail leading from Dry Creek Trailhead, and know a ride is waiting for you when you finish the 6 mile out and back trip. The shuttle gives you more time to get out by spending less time in the car.
Sounds great, but how does a shuttle help you Leave No Trace?
According to the US Department of Energy, idling from personal vehicles wastes about 3 billion gallons of fuel a year, generating around 30 million tons of CO2. Cutting back on our trailhead idling as we search for a parking spot helps to lessen this, and utilizing the shuttle reduces our emissions even more by eliminating the need for us to drive to and from the trailhead.
But it’s not only emissions. Squeezing more cars into trailhead parking lots can create impacts of its own. Damage from overcrowded parking lots can impact fragile desert plants and soils, create more potential for litter, and create unsafe conditions for other visitors.
So are you up for minimizing impacts, making your trip more sustainable, and eliminating the stress caused by the parking lot circle? We will certainly be seeing you on the shuttle.