Parsons Trail along Sycamore Canyon

MODERATE 41 reviews
#27 of 151 trails in

Parsons Trail along Sycamore Canyon is a 7.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
830 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

Note: A high clearance/4WD or AWD is required to access this trail.

hiking
1 hour ago

beautiful trail. one of my favorites!

15 days ago

Great trail. Beautiful views and ZERO trash!!

hiking
16 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

a long dirt road will get you here. 4wd not necessary but highly recommended unless you're in a rental car whose suspension you don't car about. this is a beautiful hike and the water wasn't that cold, surprisingly, in late October! I only went about 2/3 of the way but I can't wait to go back and actually camp!

backpacking
1 month ago

This is a very cool place, but there are a few things to be aware of. First, NO 4x4 or high-clearance vehicle is required to reach the trailhead. I did it in my Prius, we just had to go very slowly and carefully in some parts. Second, this trail should not be rated as difficult. It is almost all flat and well-marked, except at the end (which I’ll get to). The drop into the canyon from the trail head (maybe 1/5 of a mile?) is really the only incline you have. Third, there are places for backpackers to spend the night, but they are very limited, to the point that I’d be a little nervous to go during a “peak time” for fear of not finding a suitable camp site. Only at the end of the 3.7 mike hike is camping allowed, and once we reached that point we found 2 (maybe 3 if you take up very little space) places to pitch a tent. I guess there could be more, but the trail sure look like it ended to me. One of those sites is a beautiful, huge, riverside sandy beach area that was AMAZING. It was also occupied, leaving us the only other site. The other site is a little patch removed from the river with no views. We didn’t want to have to haul water up the bank to the trail, and then up the trail to the campsite, and luckily the gentlemen at the riverside camp were willing to give us a portion of their space.

Basically, this place is really cool, but maybe better for a day hike than backpacking. We had a nice time, but the campground situation almost upended our trip. Also, the majority of the beautiful views are in the first half of the trip. The trail gets much harder to follow at the end, with more river crossing as well. So, it may be more enjoyable to do the first 2/3rds and not stay the night.

However, the views are stunning, the water is crystal clear and beautiful, and we saw a river otter right where the trail first meets the river! We heard of rattlesnakes from other hikers, but didn’t see any. We went in on Oct 10th, and the colors hadn’t quite changed. The weather was still quite warm, but not summer hot. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead and no fee. Apparently there are panfish in the river, so maybe bring a pole? The majority of the hike is shaded and really nice. Take a camera!

hiking
1 month ago

Not sure why it's rated difficult, or heavily traveled. Beautiful easy hike with a few stream/rock scrambles. Passed only two other hiking parties on a Columbus Day holiday. Bring some water shoes, as there are a few places you'll probably want to step in, maybe swim(?) Brrrr!

backpacking
1 month ago

One of my favorite hikes, Water is all spring fed.
Native fish, Caves, Cliffs, What a Gem.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail. Definitely should be rated as moderate and not hard. I logged 7.5 mi out and back. At the trails end (approx 3.6mi out) there is a sign that says camping permitted beyond this point.

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
3 months ago

Nice easy Hike swimming holes all along the way. Camp sites about 4 miles in for overnighting. Locals day hike in on Friday and Saturday. Took my son on his second backpack trip. Plenty of water so carry filter or purifying tab.

hiking
3 months ago

Once the steep decent it's pretty flat . Would go again not in monsoon season .

4 months ago

I don't know that I'd do it again. definitely won't be in the summer.

backpacking
5 months ago

Spent 3 days and 2 nights on this trail in early June and had a great time. There is an awesome swimming hole a little over a mile in. As other posts have said, the creek crossings can be a bit hard to navigate but stacks of rocks act as trail markers and help a lot. The weather was great and there is lots of shade. The first mile and half is pretty easy hiking apart from the initial decent into the canyon but the last two miles are considerably more challenging. Went through about 4L of water per day so at this time of year bring PLENTY of water.

camping
5 months ago

Not the easiest of hikes but definitely worth it for the views. I didn't realize there were otters in AZ but saw one along the trail. I'll definitely hike this one again.

camping
5 months ago

Lots of spiders and ants where u can camp it's a 3.5 Mile hike to get to the camping area the trail is not marked well passed the 2 mile mark if u get lost I noticed the people stacked rocks to mark the trail some parts are very rocky and wet nice hike but the walk down to trail is very steep

camping
6 months ago

6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

6 months ago