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Coconino National Forest Plans Improvements, Approves Parking Expansion to Popular Red Rock Trails

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The Coconino National Forest plans to improve the Mescal Day Use Trailhead area by constructing a new trailhead, providing a new access point to four popular trails: Mescal, Chuckwagon, Long Canyon, Devil’s Bridge, and to Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness.

This project will provide through-route parking for at least forty vehicles, including two oversize spots, an accessible parking spot, and a shuttle stop. About half the existing parking area will remain open during construction, with minimal road closures on Long Canyon Road to accommodate visitor access. Construction will begin Jan. 10 with completion expected early summer.

Worsening congestion along Long Canyon Road and limited access to popular trails prompted this project.

“We are excited to start construction on this much-needed recreation site located in the heart of one of the busiest visitor destinations on the entire District,” said Red Rock District Ranger Amy Tinderholt.

With cars regularly parking along the road and blocking traffic, the area poses an increased safety concern to visitors. This proposed parking site is currently vacant and easily accessed from Sedona along Dry Creek Road, making it the ideal location for additional parking. The Coconino NF is partnering with Colorado contractor Medved Global, Inc. to complete the project.

The new trailhead will be a part of the Red Rock Pass program and include picnic tables, a restroom, patrolling, trash facilities, and an interpretive kiosk near the trailhead. A scenic vista point will also be developed to emphasize year-round scenic viewing on site. On-site mature vegetation will be incorporated and maintained to the fullest extent within the development of this area. Trail access parking will focus on hiking and mountain biking with moderate equestrian use. Horse trailer parking is currently provided at nearby Girdner, Fay Canyon, and Aerie trailheads.

The Mescal Day Use Trailhead is located about three miles from Sedona, along Long Canyon Road.

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