Harding Springs Trail to Cookstove Trail

EASY 12 reviews
#99 of 174 trails in

Harding Springs Trail to Cookstove Trail is a 4.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Sedona, Arizona 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 best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.5 miles
1,646 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly



trail running




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.

6 hours ago

Not an easy trail. Went after some rain/snow so there was a lot of water and snow on the trail. Started out with switchbacks straight up the "hill" on the North side of the campground. Also had to cross a lot of water. Many might just be seasonal. Coming down Harding trail was easier, but going up that side could be a challenge with long moderate inclines. No matter how you look at it minus one star for thinking this was in any way easy.

5 months ago

Great views at the top.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

We did a short hike from the parking lot then through the chaparral to visit the tranquil spots along Oak Creek. In a couple areas, the creek was about 3 feet deep, enough for a quick polar plunge. There were few hikers on the trail on a Thursday morning, January.
Free parking across from Harding Springs Trail . No restrooms.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Did this hike while staying in Pine Flat in Oak Creek Canyon. Easy enough to walk to from our cabin. Started at Cave Springs campground and went up...and up. It is very steep. Has been nicely cared for with addition of some "stairs" built in to the steeper portions and some handrails at points. Once you reach the top where the trail splits to Campstove Trail to the left (no signage posted) continue on to the rock lined path to a lovely lookout. This was worth the climb to see. We then went back down Campstove to Pine Flat campground. Talk about steep. Holy moly! Glad we went up Harding Springs and down Campstove. At one point there is a safety barrier put up as you round a tree and it's straight down behind you. Again this one has a lot of nicely added rock steps to get you down (or up if starting in that direction). This has steep elevation change and we were winded on the way up. The trail takes you up to the top of the ridge which you can see from 89A and then back a bit into flatter ground as you round the ridge to Campstove. We saw deer and elk droppings, but not lucky enough to catch a glimpse of either in the flesh. Lovely hike, but be warned, it is steep up and steep down.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

We hiked Harding Springs. Very steep. Beautiful wooded hike, but no big wow pay off point. The top has flat land and great mountain views.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Nice little hike. A good option when you need to avoid the bus loads of people cramming themselves into the West Fork Trail.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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.

5 months ago

8 months ago

Saturday, November 25, 2017