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.

Pack List

  • Lunch - there are plenty of places to sit and rest on the rocks
  • Water
  • 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
Read More

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

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer

Trail Type:



6 Miles

Elev. Gain:

340 Feet



Dog Friendly
Family Friendly

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

5 months ago

Favorite Spot

3 miles to the end of the trail, but you can find even more beautiful canyon scenery if you continue past the marked trail. Easy going hike with not much elevation gain/loss. Popular for families and dogs. Also, a very clean trail! I have never seen any litter along the way.

5 months ago

5 months ago

Stunning Falls Colors

This year wasn't the best example but during a great season the fall colors here are unmatched in the Southwest. The vibrant reds and yellows along the canyon and cliff walls are stunning and make this hike worth doing more than once.

5 months ago

6 months ago

Wonderful Woodland Walk

This walk was so beautiful. As it is autumn/fall the colours on the trees were magnificent, the deep reds and yellows gave the perfect photo opportunity. I took the fish eye lens for my camera and the outcome was really unique. This is a stunning hike and the crossing of the river was very fun and challenging in some places! Overall a wonderful walk through a stunning woodland.

6 months ago

8 months ago

Easy/Beautiful Hike!

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!

8 months ago

9 months ago

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!

9 months ago

10 months ago

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.

10 months ago

about 1 year ago

A Hiking Must!

Put this trail on your bucket list. It's an easy trail great for kids and dogs with nice shade for summer hiking. A few creek crossings and delicious apples in the fall

about 1 year ago

about 1 year ago

Amazing Sites!

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!

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

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.

over 1 year ago

Added by wendy wernet

I love traveling and photography, and to be able to combine the 2 is a great experience.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Go John Trail

Arizona / Go John Trailhead

As you park at the trailhead, you have the option to take this trail in either direction. I recommend that you travel north, which will immediately provide 0.75 miles of elevation gain.

Dan Deublein
2 Saves

Hike Cathedral Canyon

Arizona / Cathedral Canyon

Cathedral Canyon is located just south of Page, Arizona and west of Coppermine Road and is entirely on Navajo Land, so access is possible only by permission from a local or with a permit from one of .

Josiah Roe
20 Saves

Hike through Upper Waterholes Canyon

Arizona / Waterholes Canyon Trailhead

Waterholes Canyon is a gorgeous slot canyon located just south of Page, Arizona that empties into Glen Canyon.

Josiah Roe
19 Saves