Parsons Trail along Sycamore Canyon

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Sycamore Canyon Wilderness

Parsons Trail along Sycamore Canyon is a 7.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Clarkdale, 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: 810 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

cave

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

Please be aware that the river may be too deep to cross after recent rainfall. Note: A high clearance/4WD or AWD is required to access this trail.

True story. On the way out on this trail, my boyfriend threw a rock into one of the caves about 2 miles in. “Careful, you’ll hit Bigfoot” I laughed (who’s rumored to live in Sycamore Canyon). On the way back, 1 mile from the trailhead, we heard growling from the cavern system. And two rocks were thrown at us. Lesson learned. Don’t throw rocks at Bigfoot.

hiking
rocky
5 days ago

Great day full of adventure, lots of shade and places to soak your feet or go for a swim. Bring plenty of water. Watch for the trail markings, because some of them can be confusing. Also wear good hiking shoes, lots of river rocks to cross on. Great day. Hardest part the last 1/4 mile back to my truck, very hard incline.

hiking
bugs
8 days ago

Great for a day at the creek!

hiking
off trail
rocky
12 days ago

So pretty! READY, SET, REVIEW: 1. Easy trail. The hardest part is the decent into the canyon. 2. We started at 9am and left around 1pm. There was no one really there for awhile but, on our way back 1230/1 HIGH TRAFFIC going along the trail. 3. As for the 4x4 Needed topic: We took my Corolla... now it is possible to do the 5 dirt miles in the car. Keep this in mind tho: it took 24mins to drive 5miles! Several times i heard a massive rock hitting my car. It is possible to do but, I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT IF YOU VALUE YOUR CAR (I added some pictures of the drive) 4. Go all the way to the last spring! It’s beautiful and worth the 3.5mile hike! 5. You will probably wonder off path because, it is poorly marked passed 2.5miles.

hiking
13 days ago

Great swimming spot. You do not need to go all the way to the spring if all you want to do is swim. The spring itself is shallow.

hiking
rocky
14 days ago

Definitely kid and dog friendly— especially to the first big waterhole. The full out and back, the 4year-Olds would not have handled quite as well. The only hard part is the first 0.2 miles, straight down on the way in, straight up on the way back. Highly recommend plenty of water. It’s hot out there. And very few shady sections.

Hot in the sun in may. Beautiful views and awesome cliff jumping! Didn’t make it to parsons with the 4yo and 21mo old. Will be back!

hiking
15 days ago

Hiked 5/14/20 Started at 0800 to beat the heat and the crowds; successful on both. The trail was pretty easy, and then on occasion, would disappear. Carens have been placed at various spots by previous hikers to mark river crossings to reconnect trails. Lots of river Boulder walking; so tighten up those laces for ankle support. Used 3 liters of H2o, but, plenty of places to filter if you need. Clocked 8 miles total. However, the highlight of the hike was the large pool, surrounded by the red canyon rock; beautiful. By late morning though, on the way out, the party folks were out in force at the water sights; loud music and alcohol. Glad we started early. Previous reviews stated 4×4 needed; not so. High clearance would be nice, but driving slow, a standard auto can make it with a cautious driver.

hiking
19 days ago

Nice hike. Bring water in the summer.

hiking
21 days ago

This is a great hike. I would rate it as easy besides the first 0.25 mile where the descend into the canyon can be a little rocky. But, definitely easy for anyone if you take it slow. The rest of the hike is more of a walk. It takes about 2.5 miles to get to Sycamore Canyon where there is a swimming hole and some cliffs to jump off of. It started to get pretty crowded around 1 pm, which is when I decided to leave. I went on a Wednesday, I can only imagine how popular it would be on the weekends. You also need a 4WD vehicle to get there, as the last 5 miles of the drive is very rocky.

hiking
27 days ago

Nice hike. Lots of pretty flowers, decent shade, and plenty of streams to swim in. The trail was pretty easy to follow. I do recommend that you drive there in a vehicle with at least a little bit of clearance -- it's a 5 mile dirt road to get to the trailhead. You don't necessarily need AWD but having some clearance is helpful.

30 days ago

What a beautiful hike! You cross over the creek pretty much the whole way & wild flowers were blooming everywhere. It is not well marked in some areas, so the AllTrails map is very helpful. Many places to swim, so come prepared.

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
bugs
washed out
1 month ago

Truly an amazing hike. So beautiful and green. There is a lot of water for filtering if you are backpacking in. Highly advise bringing the water shoes and swim shorts. So many great swimming holes and the trail was well kept up.

hiking
1 month ago

Very beautiful hike with amazing swimming holes! The trail is easy, but there are lots of places you can stop and swim so this is good for a hot day. The road isn't great but can be done by a passenger car (assuming no recent rains). We had a 4X4 but we passed a mini Cooper on the way out and they seemed just fine, so don't let the note about high clearance deter you. I give 4 stars because I expected this trail to be on the empty side, and it was packed! JAM PACKED! Could be due to COVID-19 closures but it was unexpectedly busy which was kind of a bummer. Nevertheless, we were still able to find a private swimming hole and had a great day :)

Beautiful trail in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness! 6 stream crossings and lots of beautiful views.

Somewhat more than moderate trail because of a couple of adventurous spots. Beautiful along the way though. Big descent at start so big ascent at finish. Not too bad though. After 1.7 mi or so is the beautiful water hole seen in the pics everywhere. After that we ran into a seeming dead end only to have someone who had been thru show us a teeny ledge over the water to pass over. Lean into the rock and go. Then you find a great sun spot over super quiet lagoon like area. Finally we hit a real dead end about half mile short of parson Springs. Tried to find a creek crossing but to no avail. Anyone with hints for the next time? Two stone hopping crossings along the way. Poles helped.

hiking
6 months ago

We wanted to get somewhere more remote and off the usual beaten path from Sedona, so we chose this hike. Perhaps I’m unfairly comparing it to West Fork, but I was very underwhelmed. The swimming holes are very nice and quite lovely, but the rest of the hike was fairly boring. Would be better in October when the colors are more vibrant I’m sure. Was also quite a bit more crowded than expected, as we passed a couple dozen people at least. Unless you are local to the area, I’d skip this one if just in Sedona for a visit. (It was good for our dogs and they enjoyed the water).

backpacking
6 months ago

Awesome Trail-you do have to hike in a little but of sand once your in the canyon, also theres a lot of creek crossings so beware of where you put your feet there was a lot of unstable rocks. When i went which was in early november, the creek was pretty deep during the crossing, but at the campsite i put my body in and it wasn’t that cold. Very beautiful and i highly recommend!!

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

It’s absolutely beautiful when you get to the cave and pond area. A wee bit rocky and we had to make an actual bridge with a fallen log to get over the river. So far, so good. :)

hiking
over grown
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

10-20-19. Sunrise Hike welcomed by a couple mule deer and jack rabbits. Take your time on the dirt road, SUV recommended! Absolutely beautiful scenic hike with 6 river crossings, able to rock hop creeks and not get wet...water is crystal clear and the two pools are a beautiful blue/green! Leaves are just turning yellow and red! Trail well maintained, follow your gps and cairns along the way. Clocked in at 8 miles, lots of photo opps, great workout! No Fees/No washrooms. Plenty of parking...Enjoy!

backpacking
7 months ago

We had a great time Backpacking this trail with seven Boy Scouts and four leaders. The weather was great!

hiking
8 months ago

Completed this trail on 9/20/2019. I would have loved to give this trail a 5-star...but the last 2/3rds of it was not worth the hike. The true spectacle is the swim hole which is about 1.5miles in. The swim hole is so blue/green and clear; it’s beautifully nestled under the red rock canyons and clear blue skies. The remainder 2/3rds is a confusing wander through hot forestry and the occasional stream crossing (about 6 total). This last 2/3rds is poorly marked; the trail says to keep an eye out for cairns....but sometimes they were not even present. We had to bushwhack our way through “what we thought was a trail.” Because of the poor trail markings, we were set off the path..and ended up adding a few extra mins to our hike (which is not ideal when you are carrying limited water supply). My advice, the first 1.5 miles is worth the sweat as you are greeted by a beautiful swim hole. Skip the last 2/3 unless you know for a fact you can phone in help and extra water supply; you’ll be wandering around in the heat for awhile.

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