Hiking and Camping

West Fork Trail Hiking Guide

West Fork Trail

Overview

West Fork Trail is a popular hike near Sedona, Arizona that takes you along a creek bottom surrounded by massive red rock walls. The scenes you experience here are similar to those found in Zion National Park, Utah and are sure to impress.

The route is seven miles out and back and requires that you cross the creek 13 times each way. Unless the water is high, this proves to be undemanding as there are plenty of solid rocks to step on in the stream bed.

Due to its accessibility and grandeur, the trailhead is often packed. Arrive early to make sure you get a parking spot.

Note: Hike statistics were recorded with Gaia GPS app.

Quick Facts

  • Distance: 7 miles out and back
  • Hike Time: 3 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 400 feet
  • Fee: $10 per vehicle
  • Dogs: Yes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Description

West Fork Trail begins at Call of the Canyon Picnic Site, located in Oak Creek Canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona. Parking is limited, especially during weekends, holidays, and fall colors. Trailhead amenities include picnic tables and pit toilets.

To begin, walk the path over a footbridge and through the orchard on the left. Soon, you will notice structural remnants of Mayhew Lodge, established in the 1870s. In 1922, it served as a set for the Western silent film, Call of the Canyon. The lodge survived until 1976, when it was damaged by a fire.

West Fork Trail - Mayhew Lodge
A few dilapidated buildings are all that remain of Mayhew Lodge

From this point until the official end of West Fork Trail, the path is easy to follow. By and large, the route is sandy with brief rocky sections as it crosses Oak Creek multiple times. There are 13 crossings each way, so 26 total.

It is worthwhile to hike to the end in order to see where the canyon narrows to a waterlogged slot canyon. Here, the forces of erosion have carved a tunnel-like shape into the sandstone and the reflective water makes for a picturesque setting.

If you are prepared to wade, it is possible to continue up the canyon from this point 10.5 strenuous miles. Once you have slogged at least 2.5 miles, you are allowed to backcountry camp.

Location

The hike begins at West Fork Oak Creek Trail Parking Lot at Call of the Canyon Picnic Site. The turnoff is located halfway between mileposts 384 and 385 on Arizona State Route 89A. It is about 9.5 miles north of Sedona and 17.5 miles south of Flagstaff.

Get Directions

Map

Download GPX File

Resources

Guidebooks

Topographic Map

Tips

  • Best Time to Travel: March through November
  • Safety: Check flash flood warnings and know the forecast before you go.

Photos

West Fork Trail Sedona
Hikers who venture to the end of West Fork Trail are rewarded by a serene narrow canyon
Another photo from the West Fork Trail
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