|when||Saturday, May 7, 2016|
|Trip Report : November 9, 2013|
|Trip Report : November 4, 2006|
|Trip Report : October 2, 2004|
|Trip Report : October 19, 2002|
|Trip Report : October 21, 2000|
This is one of the most popular hikes in the Sedona area (especially in the Fall),
complete with a dedicated parking area, restrooms, and a ticket booth.
Although we normally do this hike in the fall because of the spectacular fall
colors in the canyon, a hike in early spring can be equally spectacular with all
the trees fully leafed out in lush green and abundant spring wildflowers as an
added bonus. Almost all of the trail that we will be hiking follows the West Fork
of Oak Creek through lush vegetation and thick forests of pine, fir, oak, sycamore,
and red tooth maple. So if it gets a bit warm on the trail, we can always cool
off in the creek. Towering above the trail, we will see the massive red rock cliffs
and colorful canyon walls of the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness.
We will first cross a footbridge over Oak Creek, as we make our way from the trailhead. Past the creek, we will climb up the opposite bank and make a left turn onto a wide sandy track.
About a quarter mile in, we will walk around the ruins of the old Mayhew Lodge, destroyed by fire in 1980. Zane Grey used this location for the setting of his novel The Call of the Canyon. As we follow the gurgling waters of West Fork Creek and penetrate deeper into the canyon, the trail gradually starts climbing and becomes a little rougher and narrower. We will begin to see massive rock shelves overhanging the creek bed, creating a tunnel-like effect in some places. Along the way, the trail crosses the creek numerous times. Steeping stones at the crossing points allow us to stay dry, unless the area has had recent heavy rainfall. In early May the creek will likely be a little higher than in the fall, so bring water shoes and be prepared to get a little wet at some of the crossings. If we have to get wet on this hike, it’s definitely better to do so in May rather than October.
The West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon is actually about twelve miles long. Close to the 3.5-mile mark the canyon narrows down to the point where the creek almost touches the tall vertical canyon walls on either side. Before we reach this point, which will mark our turn-around spot, we will stop and enjoy lunch, while we take in the magical and breathtaking beauty of our surroundings. We’ll return along the same route.
For the more adventuresome in the group there will be an optional half-hour trek upstream past the normal turn-around point, which will add an extra hour to the hike. We could encounter waist-deep water, so bring a pair of water shoes, neoprene socks if you have them, and a pair of hiking poles for extra stability. We’ll discuss this at the meeting location and split the group so those who want to do the optional hike can ride in separate vehicles, so the others won’t have to wait an extra hour. In the event of recent heavy rains, or if the creek is already too high to safely navigate, we will not do this optional hike.
|EC||+-270' elevation change|
|on trail||100% — West Fork Trail #108|
|rating||"C" Rate yourself as a hiker.|
|cost||$10 per vehicle at Call of the Canyon day-use area, plus sharing gas expenses with the driver. The club also allows voluntary contributions of $5/non-member.|
|meet||6:00 AM in the Fry’s parking lot on the SW corner of I-17 & Bell Road. Park behind Denny’s, near the entrance to the Deer Valley Park & Ride. We will leave promptly at 6:15 AM. Sorry about the earlier than normal meeting time, but the Call of the Canyon parking area fills very fast on Saturday mornings. If we leave an hour later, we will likely not have enough parking spaces to accomodate all of our vehicles. We can also take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures.|
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|updated August 28, 2016||© Copyright 2016, Arizona Trailblazers. All rights reserved.|