Hike the West Fork Trail
Arizona › Oak Creek
Added by wendy wernet
A Beautiful canyon, rich in color. There are Several places to have a picnic on a rock, bask in the sun, or hide in the shade.
This is one of the most beautiful hikes in Sedona, Arizona. It is a fairly easy hike, although it is 6 miles roundtrip. A lot of families come here, and children love to play in the water. There are various stream crossings, but for most of them, you should be able to keep dry.
The canyon walls are majestic and vivid in color, and you'll twist and turn your way through the canyon. Fall would be a great time to go, with the aspen changing color.
If you plan on backpacking, you'll go an additional 1.5 miles downstream, where there is supposedly a campground. It is also possible to continue another 11 miles after the end of the marked 3 mile trail to reach a forest road, but you'll be wading through water and boulder hopping.
Getting there: Take 89A, either south from Flagstaff, or north from Sedona. This is a paid parking spot, and you'll have to be patient, because the parking lot fills up quickly, and it is controlled by a booth attendant. It is worth the wait.
- Lunch - there are plenty of places to sit and rest on the rocks
- Patience for trying to get a parking spot - you can walk in (you'll still have to pay), there is more parking about a mile and a half up the road
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Backpacking, Hiking, Photography
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Easy and beautiful hike, you cross the river multiple times as you hike the trail which makes it a lot of fun! The scenery is absolutely stunning!! The smells of the woods are soul cleansing. Can be pretty busy on the trail but everybody is courteous and accommodating. Will be doing this hike again soon!
Red Rock District!
The West Fork Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes in Arizona. It also has some interesting history with the Mayhew Lodge. One of the most enjoyable times to hike this trail is during the fall when leaves are changing. While the temps are cooler you also have less foot traffic. If staying in town, check out the Butterfly Garden Inn for a one-of-a-kind experience!
Favorite trail in Arizona
Missing the West Fork Trail if you're passing through Sedona should be considered a crime. It's an easy hike, beautiful all the way through, and if Oak Creek isn't running low you have a handful of swimming holes. Definitely hike beyond the established trail, which extends another 14 miles. There is an overnight camping option available halfway through the trail. Ask the ranger about a permit. You can hike it any time of year. The winter snow turns this trail into a winter wonderland, especially when Oak Creek freezes over. It creates a whole different experience from the summer.
If you are in the Sedona area, then you should definitely try and visit the west fork. It is generally touristy at times, but if you can get there when there is minimal traffic on the trail, the views are amazing. You will have to pay to park directly at the trailhead, if not you can park in other areas along the roadside and walk. The creek flows through and you will have to cross it a few times, but it is generally pretty low with rocks to help you cross. The trail is also pet friendly, so bring your friends!
My All Time Fav
This is my all time favorite hike. I grew up just a few miles from the trailhead and hiked it often with my family. The fire in 2014 was heartbreaking but happily left the trail and canyon mostly unaffected. As it is my favorite hike in Az, I make sure to visit it once a year, in spite of living hours away now. If you have the ability to make it here in the fall, it can be the most beautiful, color filled hike in all Az. Highly recommended! Oh and start early before the masses show up and the parking lot gets full. I usually arrive about 6 and am 3rd or 4th to arrive.
More Adventures Nearby
Hike the Abineau-Bear Jaw Loop
Arizona / Abineau-Bear Jaw loop
This trail is slightly more hidden on the northern slope of the San Francisco Peaks, but well worth the drive just outside of Flagstaff.
Camp At Waheap Campground
Arizona / Wahweap RV Campground
This modern campground is just steps from the beach and centrally located on the Arizona / Utah border -- perfect for exploring both sides of the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area.