Harding Springs Trail to Cookstove Trail is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Sedona, AZ that features a great forest setting and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and camping and is accessible from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Flagstaff: Drive 17 miles south of Flagstaff or north 10 miles from Sedona to the entrance to Cave Springs Campground at about milepost 385.5. The Harding Springs trailhead is on the east side of the highway. Be careful to take the trail that leads uphill. The other one doesn't go much of anywhere.
Nice little hike. A good option when you need to avoid the bus loads of people cramming themselves into the West Fork Trail.
This is a nice trail. It is often combined with the Cookstove Trail which also ascends Oak Creek Canyon. There is a rim trail along the top of the Canyon that connects these two trails. I chose to ascend Cookstove and descend Harding Springs (mainly because there is parking available across the street from the Cookstove trailhead).
Harding Springs is clearly marked, all in shade, with many switchbacks. It is not as steep as Cookstove. This trail spits you out right on 89A. If you don't have a car shuttle, then you'd have to walk north 1.3 miles along 89A back to your car. Alternately, you could try following Oak Creek back. Either way, there are difficulties in both. 89A has zero shoulder and many curves where cars sneak up on you. The Creek has no trail right along it so it involves some bushwacking/rock-hopping. The effort is worth it in my opinion. The views along the rim trail are beautiful.