Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club
Pine Flat Car Camping, Sedona
May 26-29, 2017
Yes, it is February. 70°F outside, but do you know, the average low and high temperatures on Memorial Day weekend in Phoenix are 75.2°F and 102°F?
How about Oak Creek? Well, the average low and high temperatures are 53.2°F and 85.8°F. So what is your decision for the Memorial Day weekend? Phoenix, or Oak Creek Canyon?
Oak Creek Canyon is the top tourist attraction among the red rocks of Sedona.
Oak Creek Canyon is often described as a small cousin of the Grand Canyon because of its scenic beauty. The drive up Oak Creek Canyon has been described by Rand McNally as one of America’s Top 10 scenic drives. Oak Creek Canyon is also one of many people’s favorite places to go in the HOT summer in AZ. And Pine Flat is one of my favorite campgrounds in Oak Creek Canyon. For this car camping trip, we will stay at Pine Flat Campground for 3 nights and 4 days (May 26-29). For those four days at Oak Creek, we will hike Lava River Cave, Weatherford Canyon (exploratory hike), West Folk and Lew Tank Meadow (exploratory hike). At this moment we have reserved 11 sites at Pine Flat (there is no group campsite at Oak Creek Canyon) for the nights of May 26-28.
Friday, May 26:  Meet in the Fry’s parking lot on the SW corner of I-17 & Bell Road. We will leave 7:30 AM to go to Lava River Cave, which is 148 miles away, then hike the longest cave of this kind in Arizona. It is a one-mile-long cave but will take two hours to complete this hike, due to darkness and uneven terrain. Dress appropriately when you hike this cave. It is as cold as 42°F even in the summer. After the hike we will have quick lunch, fuel up gas in Flagstaff before heading to our campground, which is a one hour drive from the Lava Cave. After arriving at the campground, we will set up tents and be ready to relax and enjoy the cool night.
Pine Flat Campground.
Typical Pine Flat Campsite.
Saturday, May 27:  Leave at 7:30 AM, drive to Weatherford Canyon Trailhead to do our 6-mile loop hike at 8,024 to 9,500 feet, an exploratory hike. This area is known as scenic Alpine canyon, and the view is beautiful. We will just take our time to enjoy the cool weather there. After returning to the campground, we will enjoy a one-of-a-kind AZ Trailblazers Potluck.
Weatherford Trail starts here.
Sunday, May 28:  Leave at 7:30 AM, drive few miles to West Folk Trailhead and enjoy our cool and awesome Oak Creek Canyon hike. It is only 6+ miles, but it is so beautiful, will take about 3-4 hours. We could leave later, but it is one of the most popular trails in the Sedona area and the parking spaces are limited. Usually the parking lot is full before 8:00 AM during summer weekends. We will pack snacks with us. We should be back to our campground before 1 PM. For those hard-core hikers, you can hike few more trails if the temperature is not too hot in Sedona (Fay Canyon is a partially shaded trail, and it is easy and pretty). Or for most of us, we can just sit by the creek, drink beer, read a book, go fishing or snooze in the tent.
West Fork Trail.
Fay Canyon.
Monday, May 29:  Today is the last day of our camping trip. For those of us who want to do one more hike before heading back to Phoenix, we will drive to Lew Tank Meadow Trailhead to do our 5 miles hike at 8,600 to 9,600 feet. This is an exploratory hike. The view is beautiful, and you will see wildlife and Alpine meadows. We are planning to leave our campground 9:30 AM or earlier (disassemble the tent and pack all of our equipment). For other hikers who just want to soak in the cool air, enjoy the relaxing morning and skip the hike, they can just pack up and leave and go home. That is also a great plan.
Bismarck Lake.
Contact:    You must email the leader to confirm.
More info regarding the trails:
•  Lava River Cave
•  Weatherford Trail
•  West Fork Trail
•  Lew Tank Meadow

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updated February 21, 2017 © Copyright 2017, Arizona Trailblazers.  All rights reserved.