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Parsons Trail along Sycamore Canyon

MODERATE 125 reviews
#28 of 203 trails in

Parsons Trail along Sycamore Canyon is a 7.2 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: 7.2 miles Elevation Gain: 836 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

cave

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

hiking
21 days 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.

hiking
bugs
off trail
over grown
rocky
washed out
2 months ago

The first few miles are alright but unless you like playing Indiana Jones getting lost, roughing it with lots of overgrowth, endless deep moldy creek crossings, washed out rocks, boulders while trying not to eat dirt then this isn’t for you. The trail isn’t maintained and not recommended for camping.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

This trail takes you to two springs (keep walking to hit the spring head of Parsons Spring) and many still pools. The trail gets washed out at some points but meanders along a spring and creek, on the edge of red rock canyons, to many views and swimming holes. This trail is mostly shaded. Some creek crossings and a lot of Rocky trails. Some trails are very narrow and next to steep drops. Would not recommend for dogs. Did this tea in tevas but would be fine in shoes if you don't mind getting them a little wet now and then. Would recommend ateast one trekking pole for Rocky paths.

hiking
over grown
3 months ago

A great trail and much easier than expected. The only tough part is the steep decline then incline at the beginning and end respectively. The rest is pretty easy hiking. Lovely, serene views of the river and the 6 water crossings at this time of year are no sweat. The highlights were the canyon and the red rock views at the first large swimming hole, and the swimming of course! We saw 4 people at the swimming hole but no one on the trail. Drawbacks were a lot of sand and the very thorny, overgrown part about 1/4 mile from the end near the campground. I wouldn't do that part again. But the rest was very enjoyable. There is also good shade for the majority of the way.

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

Beautiful trail! Hiked a little past the main swimming hole and then headed back. Not crowded at all the weekday I went, but I’ve heard if you go on a weekend, it’s pretty congested. The hike it self is pretty flat and easy, but the last climb out of the canyon will get your heart heart up for sure! A few easy water crossings as well. Lots of shade on this trail, but there are a few exposed areas so make sure you still lather on that sunscreen. Saw lizards, a variety of beetles and LOTS of crawdads on this trail. High clearance vehicle would be best to get to the trail head.

hiking
3 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike! Glad we took a truck to get there since the dirt road is so bumpy. The first part of the hike is a descent into the canyon so that was a little tough on our way back out in the heat but totally manageable. Our dogs also really enjoyed the hike for the most part. A lot of the trail down in the canyon is covered in sand and when there isn’t shade cover the sand gets pretty hot, which was tough on our young dogs paws. We will definitely bring them booties the next time we go!

hiking
4 months ago

Trail may be a little overgrown for the last mile or so (past the camping permitted marker), but still a very fun and picturesque hike.

4 months ago

Took my son out for his first overnight hike / camp. A little challenging for him but he is ready for his next trip already. The trail is easy to follow for the most part until you get farther in. You just have to keep an eye out for the rock cairns. Creek crossing wasn't an issue for us. Truly, a beautiful hike for this city dweller.

hiking
washed out
4 months ago

I was carrying 40 pounds in my backpack and got a half a mile to the end and found it impossible to finish Very dangerous cliff edges I would’ve had to crawl and drag behind me almost impossible even for a 68-year-old I’m waiting to see if anybody else is coming back this way I can’t believe this is a trail

hiking
5 months ago

Great day hike, lots of spots to enjoy the water.

backpacking
no shade
rocky
scramble
washed out
5 months ago

awesome trail. did it April 12th weekend. plently of water for backpacking. hiking shoes are a must, poles come in handy too. trail did become a little rough to follow at times thankful there were plenty of cairns. beautiful camping spot once you are permitted to do so.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

backpacking
6 months ago

Spent the weekend backpacking this beautiful trail with a somewhat large group of women. Be prepared to get your feet wet this time of year, the creek is definitely flowing. It's only ankle-deep, though. If it was any deeper, it may not be safe to cross. The trail gets a little hard to follow towards the end so make sure you pay attention to where you are.

hiking
over grown
rocky
6 months ago

Very thorny and bushy. Super difficult to navigate to the camp site areas.

blowdown
over grown
6 months ago

We did this trail March 24. Beautiful first mile with wildflowers and butterflies. Due to recent storms the stream is running quickly and deeper than usual. We managed the first 2 crossings by wading across. It's about 2ft. deep at the first and 1 ft. deep at the second. A little tricky due to current and slippery rocks. Hiking poles were very helpful. Don't recommend children or dogs trying to cross while the water is this high. Rest of the trail is scenic, but lots of deadfall and overgrown branches.

hiking
6 months ago

This trail has six river crossings and when we got to the first River Crossing it did not seem safe to cross it was deep waist deep and the water was flowing quickly over the rocks.

hiking
9 months ago

Gorgeous even in January!!! Be prepared for the road to the trailhead. High clearance is definitely the way to go! The road takes a lot longer than what you would think. Wear layers, it was freezing then warm then back to freezing..... expect to get your feet wet too! Super fun and just beautiful hike.

camping
10 months ago

Couple things before I launch into the review: 1. To the people wanting to take their Honda Civic because a previous reviewer said it would be fine. It is mostly fine if you're driving 4mph over the rocks. But you should opt for a larger vehicle if you don't have the patience. 2. To "Nikki" and those giving this trail a one star because you saw a bear. If you don't want to see animals, DON'T GO INTO THE WILDERNESS. Complaining about seeing a bear in its NATURAL HABITAT is like a bear complaining because it went into your house and saw you on your couch. If you're scared of animals or are ill-equipped if you meet one, you seriously shouldn't be in a forest full of wild animals. Ridiculous. Now.. this trail was AMAZING. Did it in mid-November, and the fallen leaves were beautiful. There are 6 streams to cross, and it's fun figuring out which rocks are loose and might kill you. Fairly easy trail overall, but seriously breathtaking. Trail can get lost at times, but hikers have done a great job of marking trails that are hard to locate.

hiking
Saturday, October 13, 2018

Easy hike. The drop into the canyon is steep (like a stair climb) --- but once down it is a stroll. Cool and green -- it is a nice contrast to most of the Sedona hikes. I would agree that a high-clearance car is needed to get to the trailhead -- the road is not bad, but there are a few spots where it is rough enough that I would have killed my own car. The trail is a little hard to follow at times -- and the creek crossings are a challenge without free hands --- but other than that it is a wonderful and refreshing hike. Cottonwood and downtown Clarkdale are cute -- there are nice places to try "local wines" (ask them where they source their grapes) and the Red Rooster is reliable for breakfast/lunch.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Summer Spring was beautiful and not too busy. The cliffs rise up with a mix of red rock and limestone. There are places to wade into and areas to jump when the water is deep enough. The trail is easy to follow and is partially shaded. The area has lots of massive overturned trees, rock formations, washes, and creek accesses to explore. We also crossed the river toward Packard Trail. Cairns show the way but areas are overgrown and depending on water flow crossing the creek might require some creativity. Road in was long but passable with a sedan.

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