Vien R. Guenther
Schuerman Mountain & Vortex Mesa - Arizona
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
With so many hiking trails in Sedona we cant possibly leave without at least doing a little short hike. Schuerman Mountain Trail is a short 3.6 mile-loop trail (0.8 miles to the overlook), good for all skill levels and accessible year-round. The main trailhead is along the eastern section of Red Rock Loop, just a quarter of a mile south of the highway, along a little side road that leads to Sedona Red Rock High School.
There is an overflow parking on the verge of the main road, also used for the Herkenham Trail to the east. The other start point is 1.7 miles down the western section of the loop. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on leash.
The Schuerman Mountain Trail climbs to a viewpoint at the edge of a flat-topped, basalt summit overlooking all of Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek. This is a beautiful trail and photo opportunities abound; just be careful not to be pierced by the many cacti, yucca and thorny plants around (see photo). Beautiful but nasty I tell you, I got pierced once or twice while hiking.
Mountains are always named for someone who had an impact on the area or made some important contribution. Schuerman Mountain is named for a German immigrant, Henry Schuerman, a Prescott hotel owner, who moved to Sedona in the 1800’s when he received, as payment for a $500 debt, 160 acres on the banks of Oak Creek.
His contribution to Arizona's history started when he (according to the Sedona Historical Society), and his wife, Doretta, planted Zinfandel vines on some of the land in the Verde Valley, after discovering wild grape vines growing by the creek side. Although he was not the first to grow grapes in Arizona (cultivation stretched as far back as the missionary Father Eusebio Kino, who arrived in Arizona in the 1690's), Schuerman established Arizona’s first commercial winery.
For about 25 years, Schuerman's winery provided wine to the villagers, loggers, cowboys and miners of the area, until the state’s alcohol prohibition in 1915 (the state instituted Prohibition years ahead of the U.S. constitutional amendment which gave leeway for personal use but not for selling). He was caught carrying several barrels of wine in his car and was put in jail for six months, with a $300 fine. His operation didn't end there. His thriving vineyard ended after a flood swept his winery down the creek five years later, just after the Governor granted him a pardon. Later, at the beginning of the 2000's, the Verde Valley once again is the home of thriving winery operations.
Before we ended the day, we went to check one of the vortex sites. Sedona, they say, is enfolded in spiritual vortex energy. The four best known areas for these are at the Airport Mesa, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and Boynton Canyon.
We've been to Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock, not to seek vortex energy but to look at the landscape. After our hike at Schuerman Mountain, we stopped at the Airport Mesa first to look at the landscape, then we drove down the Airport Road to the Airport Mesa Vortex overlook.
This is probably the easiest viewpoint for vortexes, an easy climb just right by the road, with a small parking area. On top is a beautiful 360 degree view of the city. It was not too crowded surprisingly, and whatever people there were, they were quiet, each one probably trying to feel the energy. One guy was playing a flute, adding ambiance to the place.
So, what is a vortex actually? They say it is a swirling concentration of energy emanating from the earth. One article explains, “Vortex refers to an energetic structure that functions as an interface between the physical world and a divine realm that contains pure healing energy.”
Whatever that may be, we didn’t experience it, but as the saying goes, “whatever floats your boat” is fine. It will probably take deep concentration to experience it, which we didn’t have at that time, since we are eager to explore and see the natural world.
The vortexes are nestled amid red sandstone formations at the south end of the 16-mile Oak Creek Canyon. Regarded by Native Americans as sacred, today they are recognized as places of healing and spiritual renewal for spiritual seekers, artists and healers, as well as day-trippers. They believe this area is the center of vortexes that radiate the earth's power.
The energy field of Sedona spiritual vortexes reaches a circumference of about 22 miles.