Summary: A wonderful, picturesque hike along a flowing creek
Challenge Level: Moderate
Hiking Distance: About 5 - 7.2 miles round trip, depending how far you decide to hike
Trailhead Directions: From the "Y" (the intersection of State Route 89A and State Route 179), drive north on SR 89A toward Flagstaff for 10 1/2 miles. Turn left in to the parking area. The trail starts on the far side of the parking area, furthest away from the entrance.
Description: Located about 10 miles up Highway 89A from the "Y", the West Fork hike is one of our favorites. You'll pay $10 to park here. As you start the hike, check behind the small building adjacent to the parking area for hiking sticks left by hikers before you. The sticks help you navigate the creek crossings ahead. You'll be crossing the water about a dozen times (actually a total of 13 times if you hike to the end where you need to wade in the creek to continue, some 3.6 miles in from the parking area) as you hike the trail. You have to step from stone to stone to cross, so the hike isn't recommended in high water times (you'll get your feet wet!!). Because of the presence of water, there are many trees along the trail. If you decide to continue beyond the 3.6 mile mark, see the photos below in the section entitled, "Beyond the End."
West Fork has two wonderful seasons, Spring and Fall. Here's a link to a typical Spring hike (http://youtu.be/CmpZBZ7rLEI)
The most beautiful season is Fall, when the trees display glorious colors. The third week in October seems to be when the colors are at their peak. Here's a link to a video of one of our fall hikes (http://youtu.be/hxIPk2Zi6Ho).
SPECIAL NOTE: The West Fork Trail was closed for most of the summer 2014 because of the Slide Fire. The trail was reopened and we hiked it on October 20, 2014. I'm pleased to report that there appears to be minimal damage to the trail. You have to look hard to see where the fire struck. The colors were excellent.
Click on the photos below for a bigger view
Here are some photos taken by Lou Camp in October 2006
Here are photos taken by David Butler on our October 2009 hike
And photos by Lou Camp on our October 2009 hike
And photos by Lou Camp on our May 2010 hike
Beyond the End:
These photos, taken by Mark Watson, show what lies beyond the the 3.8 mile point where you need to wade to continue
For those of you who have a GPS unit, I have GPS data available for the hike which include "tracks," the route and waypoints.
For detailed information on this hike, consider purchasing a copy of Great Sedona Hikes by clicking HERE.
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Great Sedona Hikes
Last Updated November 29, 2014
Web Page by Bill Bohan (firstname.lastname@example.org)