For most hikers that have visited this trail, we believe that the canyon is so beautiful with its rich color. In fact, the trail offers you some places to enjoy your picnic on the rock and bask in the sun or even hide in the shade. Well, we must say that it is one of the most spectacular hikes to visit in Sedona, Arizona. Best of all, the trail is quite easy to hike even though it requires roundtrip trail to complete at 6 miles. There are many families have visited the area and they brought their kids as well to play in the water. Besides, the area offers the various stream crossings and most of them do not make you completely wet.
The Highlight In The West Fork Trail
Let us talk about the canyon walls. They look so majestic with the vivid color. It is totally fun to twist and then turn your way through the canyon. Most hikers even agree that the best time to visit this place is during fall. The big reason is the aspen with its changing color.
The trail makes you able to explore at 6 miles with 340 feet in elevation gain. What can you do here are hiking, backpacking, and photography. Since the trail is easy to access, this place is great for beginners to visit. The best seasons to visit the places are in summer and spring. If you are looking for the best place to hike together with your family or dog, you should go to this place. This trail also offers scenic river and bathrooms.
Backpacking To The West Fork Trail
In case that you have a plan on backpacking there, you can go on the extra 1.5 miles downstream. There, you should find a campground. Besides, it is possible for you to continue your adventure to take another 11 miles right after the end of the 3-mile trail with a clear mark on it. Continue your adventure and you should reach a forest road. At this point, you will be wading through the water and even boulder hopping.
How To Get The West Fork Trail
You must take 89A if you are south from Flagstaff or north from Sedona. In this location, you have to pay for the parking spot and your patience should be with you since the parking lot can fill up so quickly and a booth attendant controls the parking lot. Therefore, it is worth for you to wait.
What To Pack
Heading to the trail means that you should bring some items as below:
Lunch (There are some areas available to sit and rest on the rocks), water, and patience for trying to get the parking spot
Reasons To Visit The West Fork Trail
- Hike in October and you will never forget the changing colors of forest trees along the way. Even though there are lots of hikers but the views are worth for you. There will be lots of cars parked in the parking lot so you have to take your patience to wait in line until other hikers return from their hike to get their cars and to gain access to the lot. Otherwise, you should park on the side of the highway.
- The trail is so beautiful that it is fun to cross back and forth especially over the creek. We recommend you to bring a hammock and your family. It is a discovery, more than just a hike. The fall colors are so beautiful that can last into the winter. During the spring, you will see some gorgeous flowers that can last into the summer. Even though it is a popular hike, it is long enough that it is usually not very crowded.
- Fall and winter are the best seasons to hike here. Hiking during winter means you should bring more warm layers. If you are from Sedona, we recommend you to stop at the Indian Garden Café. They will serve you delicious and healthy lunch and desserts.
- You need 3 miles to go to the end of the trail but the best reward is the more beautiful canyon scenery. Therefore, take your time to continue passing the marked trail. The hike is easy to go and it does not offer too much elevation gain. The area is so popular for dogs and families. The trail is very clear that you even will not see any litter along the way.
- Visiting the trail in the fall will make you able to see the unmatched views in the Southwest. The reds and yellows are so vibrant completed with the stunning canyon and cliff walls. It is worth to hike there more than once.
- The hike is easy and beautiful that you have to cross the river multiple times anytime you hike the trail and that is very fun. The scenery is stunning with the smells of the woods.
- Capturing the deep reds and yellows during the autumn or fall is great. What you should bring here is the fisheye lens for your camera and the result is so unique.
- The trail has some interesting history related to the Mayhew Lodge. Visit the place in the fall and you will enjoy the cooler temperature, less foot traffic, and leaves are changing. Staying in town means that you should check out the Butterfly Garden Inn, as well.
- If the Oak Creek is not running low, you can even hike and then swim in the swimming holes. Hike beyond the trail and you will get an additional 14 miles to find the overnight camping option at the halfway through the trail. You should ask the ranger about the permit.
- You should put this trail on your list because the trail is so easy that kids even can enjoy. The nice shade for the summer hiking is the perfect reason. Best of all, the creek crossings and the delicious apples are waiting for you in the fall.
So. what are you waiting for? Those reasons are quite many just to help you consider whether it will be on your list or not.