Dogs No Dogs
Views · Wildflowers
This is the shortest loop to the Airplane Monument via the West Side Trail
, the West Mesa Loop
Fire road, and the Japacha Fire Road
The airplane monument is at 2.2 miles.The monument is a Liberty 12-cylinder aircraft engine mounted on stones, from a DH-4B biplane that crashed on December 7, 1922, killing both the pilot and his traveling companion. Bees have made a hive of it as of 2019.
Park at the Sweetwater Parking Lot and cross the nearby bridge on Highway 79 to catch a mostly shaded stretch of the West Side Trail
that parallels the highway. Usually, you can hop right over the stream that the bridge crosses, but there is a small detour available if the water level is high.
After 0.5 miles, turn onto the Monument Trail
at a well-marked junction. This exposed and somewhat rocky section ascends steadily with good views. At the fork at the 2 mile mark, veer right onto the West Mesa Trail
. After another 0.2 miles, you'll come to the airplane monument. This is a good lunch spot with a view, despite the bees, which didn't seem interested in us or our food.
From the monument, the terrain narrows and become less interesting. The Japacha Fire Road
return is rocky but offers a mix of views and shade.
Flora & Fauna
Stellar's jays, scrub jays, acorn woodpeckers, black-headed grossbeak, and lazuli bunting.
Shared By: Matthew Kidd