Loy Canyon Trail is a 9.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that offers scenic views and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Flagstaff: Drive 35 miles south through Sedona on US 89A. 5 miles past Sedona turn north on FR 525 and follow the signs toward Loy Butte 9.3 miles to the trailhead. Watch for signs and a parking area on your right just before the Hancock Ranch.
First thing, the sign at the trailhead says this hike is rated as easy. This is true of the first 2 miles or so, which follows the dry wash along the canyon bottom, but if you plan to complete the trail it becomes difficult. The majority of this first section is a sandy trail (rather hindering). Also, while you are hiking in the canyon surrounded by beautiful red rock buttes, the view is obscured by trees so you rarely get a full view. After you're done with the "easy" part of the trail at about mile 3 you will ascend notably and eventually encounter some steep switchbacks. The views at the top are worth going beyond the "easy" portion of this trail. Technically it ends at the saddle where the Loy trail meets the Secret Mountain trail. But make the extra 200ft climb up to the Secret Mountain Trailhead to be rewarded with spectacular views and enjoy your lunch!
The trailhead for Loy Canyon is located 10 miles west of Sedona on US 89A, then turn right onto Forest Road 525. Take the right fork after 2.7 miles and the left fork after 5.7 miles. There is a sign that reads, "Loy Butte-4 miles". At 9.2 miles from the highway and just before you cross a tree-lined wash, there is a small Forest Service sign on your right marking the Loy Canyon Trail. We used this trail to access Secret Mountainup to the saddle. The trail itself, begins in desert scrub, following a dry wash. Soon the vegitation becomes dense. After 3.5 miles the switchbacks begin. The trail is moderate and ends at the saddle at the end of Loy Canyon and Secret Mountain. Along with my sons Ron and Bob, we went as far as 1.5 miles past the saddle, where my son hurt his ankle and we had to slowly return to the car. We never got to the overlooks. But any hike is a good hike with family.