Elevation: 4,550 to 4,600 ft
On our last day in Sedona, I did not get up and hike early in the morning. I lucked out later in the day, however, because once the thermometer reached a warm 75 degrees, my mother, whom we call Judy of the Tundra, complained of the heat. My father and I dropped her off at our vacation rental, gleefully put on shorts, and headed out to hike.
I had looked in the book for a short, easy trail that wouldn't over tax him. While the Andante Trail was listed as easy, I would call it moderate simply because it drifted up and down through small gullies that were very rocky.
Andante and Thunder Mountain form a loop if taken together. They exist on the northern side of Sedona, just outside a housing track. The views of the red rocks dominate the scenery but many of the plants and birds also got our attention. There were quite a few Quail, and even a very vocal specimen high up in a shrub, his "head ornament" flapping as his head bobbed up and down. Scrub Jays were also plentiful.
You don't escape from urban life on the Thunder Mountain Trail, but with views like this, do you care?
There are a lot of social trails in the area that gave us pause once in a while, but with the view of Sedona's houses within sight, we didn't have to worry about getting lost in the wilderness.