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One of sedona's best hikes, but be sure to leave plenty of time.

there are really three parts to the hike to know and plan around. The first big climb up to the bench, part 2 to the summit trails, and part three which is typically a quick 10 min to the Sedona lookout, or another 30-40 min to the north lookout.

if you really want to explore the best parts of the hike, plan lots of extra time!

Great hike with great views. Hiked out to both overlooks. Got pretty warm on the way down

hiking
3 days ago

amazing views at the end of the trail ! I don't consider this trail as streneous, but start it early because there is no shade.

hiking
10 days ago

great views, well maintained trail, start early to avoid heat!

trail running
15 days ago

This is now one of my favorite trails. You get a little bit of every type of forest with every 500ft or so of elevation change, and the views are breathtaking. Well worth the effort to reach the top.

Did this hike at around 11am on a Saturday in July, yeah not really smart. We only made it about a mile in due to our friends dog hurting their paws from the hot sand. I would recommend boots for our four legged friends or just don’t be stupid and hike mid day in July

The full Parsons trail is long but beautiful. Pace yourself and take plenty of water (a filter is ideal so you can refill). There are some places where the trail has washed out or crosses a rock field; take the time to make cairns. Most of all enjoy the beautiful scenery!

hiking
1 month ago

Deceptively easy for the first four miles, but the last mile is a burner. We continued right on the Secret Mountain trail for another three miles for a total of 16 round trip. We had the trail to ourselves. Good hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Challenging hike but well worth it for the views of not only Sedona but the surrounding areas. Difficult to run due to rocky terrain but I suppose it is a mountain after all. Lots of folks looked pretty miserable on the trail- not a lot of shade. Parking sucks but upside is there is less traffic on the trail.

This is a a favorite for hiking in Sedona. Easy to follow the trail.

Just completed this trail 6/9/18, and it's a great moderate trail with beautiful scenery.

First off, play attention to the stack of rocks on the trail. (guidance rocks)

Secondly, the road to get the trail is pavement/dirt road. As a Offroading hobbiest *You DO NOT need a 4wd or Awd vehicle*; took a Honda Civic and no problem. If you have driven to Fossil Creek, it is alot less bumpier than that.
Moreover, the trail has a few swimming spots, the first 1.5 mile you will see spots to cliff jump and relax. We were told by several people the trail ended a mile after, boy they where wrong. We ran into *a boulder where the dirt trail ends* what they didn't notice was the trail veers off to the right.
Once you follow the trail you will cross small creek beds. At one river bed you will find a pile of rocks on the other side to guide you. You will find small cave holes, stagnant water spots, and great views of rock deformation.

At the end of the trail you will find a beautiful Oasis. The water is clear with small turtles, fish and crawdads.
*Warning* the rocks are very slippery even with water shoes, take it slow going down as the rocks in the water a covered with light moss.
Enjoy and whatever you pack it in, pack it out!

Great swimming hole about 1.5 miles in on the trail. Took young kids with us and they did fine. Take plenty of water and decent hiking shoes. 4wd vehicle is not needed to get to trail head.

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
3 months ago

Found this trail to be pretty difficult. Path finding is difficult and the trail is extremely easy to loose. Over half the hike is was large periodically loose river rock which made hiking with a heavier pack slow and rough on the ankles. Only standing pools infested with mosquitos were found. The whole hike was worth it for the beautiful red rock surroundings and abundant greenery. Its a difficult one so be prepared to bring ample water.

Very nice trail, good swimming spots. Small camping area several miles in was pretty crowded with weekend warriors.

Favorite swimming hole in that area.

hiking
3 months ago

Pleasantly wonderful! Yes this trail is a little sandy. It had rained the night before, so the sand was packed down. Which made it easier to hike on. The trail is under a forest canopy. Old Alligator Juniper lay witness to it all. Some as wide as 5 feet. The trail has a constant wash crossing , through out the first 3 miles. It is very clear that you are some place else. As it appears to be ancient stomping grounds. The Honanki Indian ruins are a 1/2 mile further west of the trail head. So you can just imagine what life was like during that time. The last 2 miles are a combination of switch backs and elevation gain. But take your time- you’ll do fine. When you reach the saddle, hang a left - another 1/3 of a mile is the Secret Mountain trailhead. And that spot opens up to a wide view. You can be proud of yourself! You just hiked all through that view! WOW

Loved it! Highly recommend - great views.

BEAR! I can't believe nobody has posted that they have seen him!! Huge bear is living at the end of the trail where my boyfriend and I camped for a night and had a very close scary encounter he is NOT AFRAID OF HUMANS please please be careful going down there

hiking
3 months ago

Misleading mileage. Once you reach the summit, there is still another 30 minutes to hike out to the Sedona viewpoint. I did not have time to do this, as that would add an hour and about 2 more miles to hike. I hiked to summit and clocked 11.5 miles. I imagine with the vista it’s nearly a 15 mile hike! There is no vista at summit, as it’s hidden in trees, which is always a disappoint after such a grueling hike!

Extremely narrow trail that’s slippery with scree and dangerous drop offs. Trail desperately needs widening. It definitely will not be safe following another monsoon season.

Amazing trail! Backpacked in and camped next to the creek. But be alert as we spotted a mountain lion on a low cliff directly above the trail about 3 miles in. Trekking poles were very helpful for this hike and all of the creek crossings.

trail running
3 months ago

Nice trail and beautiful views from the top. Parking was busy but not many people on the trail. Definitely worth it !

Yeah there’s some sandy bits early on, but it’s no biggy all in all. Very much a trail where you need to search for the excitement and views early on. Climbing the switchbacks and the clifftop traverse make the day. A trot up to secret mountain or the trail head are equally rewarding.

Stuff hike but great views.. if hot takes lots of water. Hardest part is going. Back down!

hiking
4 months ago

Very forested which was nice. As others mentioned the first two miles are very sandy. I had a javelina charge me on this trail so beware. The red rock views are obstructed by the dense forest. Lots of shade. I only went three miles in then came back so maybe I missed the better views.

backpacking
4 months ago

Backpacked in starting on the dirt road from the Dry Creek Trailhead parking lot. Adds more than 3 miles but we didn’t record b/c we’re dumb so not sure how many- by the scale on the map, looks about 5mi. It’s not strenuous by any means but it’s not shaded and it feels long.
The trail to secret canyon is beautiful and challenging, especially with packs, but worth it. Very secluded and lots of camping options along the trail as you make your way into the canyon. We didn’t hike all the way in, found a spot near water and camped, then hiked out the next day.

hiking
4 months ago

Starting out was sandy for bit but gets hard going up, beautiful. We did not see one person.
But we made it to the top. Once you get to the section where the sign says secret mountain trailhead your almost to the top. Beautiful view makes it worth it. This was our first hard hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail, we didn’t see a single person the whole time. Beautiful scenery and great view from the top of the mountain. Bring your hiking poles because the last portion is a bit steep but otherwise it’s a fairly flat trail. Definitely not hard, even the last portion that is uphill was moderate as long as you’ve been hydrating, bring plenty of water since there is hardly any shade! We parked at the first parking lot just off the road and walked in to the trailhead down the dirt road. I wouldn’t recommend driving to the trailhead unless you have a car suited for off roading since there are some bumpy parts. We also saw a coyote driving down the main road to the parking lot so watch for wildlife on the trail. The trail back and out was probably more like 12 km, not 9.4 km as listed on the app.

With continued cold weather at home in Colorado, my wife and I decided to head south to warmer weather. A search on All Trails landed us on the Parsons Trail. We upgraded some backpacking gear and were ready to test run it. Arizona is plenty warm this time of year so we took the opportunity to make a trip of it. Good choice.

First, the road to the canyon. You do not need a 4wheel drive vehicle to get there. It is a bumpy dirt road but not a 4wheel jeep road. I wouldn’t exactly take your low profile sports car on it, but anything like a 2 wheel drive cross over would be just fine. Just take your time.

The steep drop into the canyon is brief and not difficult. Trekking poles come in handy with a backpack for balance so I’d recommend a pair of those. Day packers are fine without it. The start of the trail is easy and flat. After the first mile plus, the trail has sections that get rougher. Again, very doable. This is where you begin to see the red rock portion of the canyon which is majestic.

I must give a shoutout to the folks who carefully placed all the cairns particularly for the creek crossings which were not always intuitive on the back half of the canyon. Lots of fingers and false trails so definitely follow the cairns carefully. Creek crossings were also easier with trekking poles so, another plug to take a pair.

Once we got beyond the sign that lets you know you are allowed to camp, we found a nice sandy creek side spot. Plenty of space and a nice view of the canyon wall. Saw fish and a water turtle in the creek which was great. By chance, it was a full moon that night which lit the canyon like a spotlight. Pretty spectacular.

This was a very nice canyon backpack earning it a solid 4 stars. Enjoy!

Some reviews here say that 4WD is not necessary.. It absolutely is!! The last part of the drive near the trail head gets very steep and rocky with no turn around points. Definitely would not recommend driving a regular little car. I would say that this trail is fairly easy, the only "hard" spot was first part, which is a steep drop to get to the base of the mountains. Getting down is easy, but climbing up it with heavy backpacks can be a little bit rough. The trail is sandy and easy to follow for the most part, but there are a few crossing that can get a bit confusing. The water is crystal clear and there is one really awesome swimming hole with deep blue water before you hit the 3.7 mile mark. We camped at the beach spot near the 3.7 mark and it was BEAUTIFUL. Tucked back behind it there was a little space that you could easily set up a tent and a hammock, and there was a little rock pit for fires. Some reviews on here say it gets super crowded but we only saw two other people, and they were only day hiking. Would definitely hike this again!! Make sure to bring lots of water though and maybe some bug spray depending on the time you go. We went late March and the bugs were all over (naturally).

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