No visit to Arizona is complete without spending a day or two in Sedona. Renowned on the internet as a great hiking destination and a hot spot for alien portals, Sedona certainly has a lot of trails. The question is which trails should you hike? I recommend you hike Sedona’s best: the West Fork Trail.
I’m not big on tourist spots. When I’m visiting a popular hiking destination, it is always my immediate goal to get into the backcountry asap to escape the crowds. Sedona is a tourist spot. In truth, it’s a circus. Parking is cramped and expensive in some spots. You have to buy a recreation pass to hike. Heavy traffic and overuse have eroded the trails. There are noisy people and their dogs everywhere. Buildings spoil the view in many spots. It is a bit of a branded spiritual Disney Land.
Sedona takes a degree of patience and tolerance. I am not an expert on Sedona hiking because frankly, I couldn’t stand being there for more than 2 days. That being said, I would go there again. For me, it is a place to experience in small doses preferably in the off-season. Back to the West Fork Trail though, I do highly recommend that you hike Sedona’s best: the West Fork Trail.
The West Fork isn’t the quintessential Sedona hike. There aren’t open red rock outcrops to climb atop or people engaged in unusual new-age rituals around vortices (none that I saw anyway). On this hike, you will see soaring canyon walls of great beauty and varying colors. It is an enchanting, scenic trail along, and sometimes in, a creek. Much like Zion National Park, you are looking up. They call Sedona an outdoor cathedral. This hike embodies that concept in a down-to-earth, unaffected way.
It is an easy 6 mile out and back. Be sure to get there early. Parking is limited, and it gets crowded fast. If you arrive early enough, you may not have to pay for parking. You could potentially find some along the narrow and twisting road: 89A. The West Fork Trail ends in a slot-like canyon with a peaceful pool of water. If you’re looking for an overnight, you could continue upstream in the creek for another 11 miles.
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