West Fork Trail

EASY 1,023 reviews

West Fork Trail is a 7.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features a river and is good for all skill levels. 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
820 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Semi-shaded by trees and towering canyon walls make this the perfect 7 mile Sedona hike if you want to beat the heat. Trekking up Oak Creek's west fork offers one of the best hiking experiences in Sedona, an area already known as a hiker's paradise. The steep canyon walls and the shade of trees make this a perfect trail if you're looking to avoid the heat of the Arizona sun. Trace the creek upstream along pleasant sandy trails and thirteen separate river crossings and enjoy the imposing views of the canyon walls towering above you. Unless the waters are high, the crossings are relatively easy, and the elevation gain on this trail is slight. The trail ends where the canyon walls close in on you and there's nowhere else to go without getting your feet wet. Enjoy the great views, make the most of the photo opportunities and marvel at how the water has etched away at the rock over the millennia. If you're suitably equipped, you can continue to wade upstream for another quarter of a mile or so. The pebbly creek bed can be a little hard on bare feet, but it might be tolerable to you - also be careful of the smoother rock surfaces underfoot which are particularly slippery. Eleven miles north of Sedona, the trailhead at the Call of the Canyon day use area has limited parking availability, which may be an inconvenience to some, but early arrivals will enjoy a relatively uncrowded trail. Elevation gain: - Approx 400ft (from 5,320 to 5,660ft)

hiking
18 hours ago

Just completed this hike. And it was phenomenal! One of my favorite hikes in Sedona, debating between this and Devil's Bridge. Very well shaded trail with plenty of creek crossings. I would rate this hike moderate based off distance, but the actual hike is relatively flat. We stopped where the water was getting too deep, but you can go a lot further based from what we heard from locals. Be sure to get to the parking lot early as it does get really crowded. An absolute must do hike if you're in Sedona!

hiking
20 hours ago

Always a treat! the first time I did this trail was in October and I ran it. the trail is heavily trafficked. surprisingly it wasn't too busy. Out and back 7.42 miles.

hiking
1 day ago

Super nice seven mile hike on maintained trail system. Many stream crossings and 800 foot rise hiking in.

Fern, oak, elm and pine primal rain forest setting. Inside protected wet canyon under canopy of trees.

Grapes, black berries and small apples all good to eat on the hike.

Stream crossings are slick and mossy. I witnessed several slip and falls.

Great hike. Takes about 4 hours if you don’t take breaks.

It was raining on my hike and was super nice.

6 days ago

Very easy to get off the main trail! We were off track for about 30 minutes. If you ever question “is this the trail?” You’re not on it!! The main trail is about 3 ft wide the whole way. Pretty easy to cross the creek - need some balance at some parts. Would recommend wearing hiking boots and bring plenty of water!

7 days ago

I cannot understand anyone rating thus hike, beliw a five star. Excellent condition. Amazing canyon walls. Beautiful.

hiking
8 days ago

Great hiking trail but also quite populated. We started hiking at 12:30 on a Friday. Couldn’t finish the trail due to needing to meet up with family in town, but we will be back to do exactly that on another day. There is a $10 fee to get in to the parking area.

8 days ago

Beautiful scenery and not a terribly tough hike but it's incredibly dusty and pretty crowded..lots of fun crossing the creeks but there are a lot of other trails that have views just a beautiful without all the dust and crowds. Wear waterproof boots and expect to wait to cross the creeks as others will probably be lined up to go across as well. The trail is almost completely shaded as well so really nice on a hot day. Very family and dog friendly. If you're looking for solitude this is NOT the hike for you. I suggest hiking poles as there are a lot of crossings and it can get slippery in spots.

11 days ago

Beautiful hike, best time would be in the morning this time of year, around 8.

hiking
11 days ago

Best in the afternoon. The shades of light really enhance the experience

15 days ago

just a nature walk with occasional views, not worth the price or wait.

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful hike, nice to be shaded and out of sun. Hike to the end and spend a night if you wish.

hiking
24 days ago

All the other reviews cover what I'd say - it's a beautiful, well-populated, almost fully shaded, and will require you to hike with soggy feet if you don't have proper footwear.
I hiked this mid-day in July, which was fine, despite it being a 100-degree day. There were so many creek-crossings that my feet stayed cool, and I had the opportunity to splash water on my legs when I wanted a bit more refreshment.
There are several idyllic spots to stop along the way, where you can sit, relax and enjoy the view of the creek, hearing the water lapping and rippling downstream.
There was no parking in the parking lot when I visited, which I expected, but I did find parking up the road a bit, on the side of the highway. This made for another mile of hiking to/from car. I considered Uber'ing, but didn't want to risk sitting in an Uber with wet shorts, if I decided to splash around. Either way, you may consider Uber'ing if you anticipate parking issues - which you should if you're going at any point in mild temps.
This trail was well populated with dogs and children, thus is accessible to all skill levels. I don't have hiking poles and was fine because my shoes are grippy; but, for those who are injured or have minimal balance, I don't recommend creek crossing. The parts of the creek you cross are shallow, so there's no need to expect water rising beyond your ankles.
This trail is often ranked as one of the top 5 hikes in Arizona. And while I agree it is a lovely hike that all will enjoy, at the risk of sounding like a Debbie Downer, I didn't feel this trail was any more beautiful than several other Sedona trails. The views are mostly of the woodland around the creek. Yes, you have cliffs and red rocks looming around you from time to time, but the majority of this hike has no red rock view. This is not a trail that takes you high, where you can overlook a lovely red rock valley - this trail is the valley itself, and you're down inside with mostly woodland views. ...which are quite beautiful.
For this reason, I expect this trail to be more beautiful in Autumn. If you want to be wow'd, I recommend you opt to hike it then, rather than winter or summer.
The next day after this hike, I completed Fay Canyon Trail, which was similar, but without water. And, Fay Canyon trail is shorter (2.2 miles) with a valley view at the end, and an arch 1/2-way through. In my opinion, Fay Canyon is more conducive to families with smaller children because it's just as flat as West Fork, shorter, shaded, and has more options for views. ...but it has no water.
Either way, West Fork is beautiful, and I do recommend it.

hiking
26 days ago

Wow! Wow! Wow! This hike is a MUST do when visiting Sedona!

Couple of tips:

- Go early. We went at 7:45am and there was no one there. We were able to let the dogs off the leash and they could run through the trails and the creeks! As we were leaving, around 10am, there was a line to get into the parking lot.

- We took our two dogs, German Shepherds, and they LOVED it, especially since we went early.

- Wear shoes that could get wet. You cross over many streams. We were able to make it across by stepping on the rocks and not getting our feet wet. However, one wrong move and you’re wet!

- You are shaded for most of the trail, but make sure you bring plenty of water.

- The trails were not clearly marked so it’s hard to make sure you were staying on the right path. Either way you go is beautiful.

I can’t get over how beautiful this trail was. It did not feel like we were in Arizona. So green and lush! Beautiful spot for photos.

hiking
27 days ago

Great, really beautiful hike. Nice shade for a summer hike. Mostly flat, you do cross the shallow creek many times so watch your step so you don’t get wet shoes. The creek provided good water for our dog. Our Garmin said it was a 4 mile out and 4 mile back - took a total of 4 hours with stopping for lunch and dog water breaks. Parking lot was full by 9am and we had to wait until someone left to park - that took about 30 minutes but that would have stressed me out if we hadn’t been 2nd in line. Get there early to park. $10 cash needed (no credit cards) and they do have pit toilets but no running water for dogs, etc. Would love to go back in the fall to see the leaves.

27 days ago

Did this trail approx 2 miles in. We had 10 kids one in a carrier on Mom and the rest ranged from 4-13 yrs old. They all loved it and was an easy hike. One of the best hikes I've ever done! A good alternative for younger kids who want to see red Rock and love river crossings, of which the trail head sign says 13 but it's probably even more than that if you want to deviate from the trail a little. Do get there early, but the rev that there is only 4 spots is not accurate. There are prob 20 or so but there were already 7 parked when we pulled in at opening around 8am. 10 bucks to park and there are toliets at the trail head but no running water so bring your sanitizer. When we finished up around 11 there was a line of cars waiting to park and lot was full. Can't wait to finish the hike in full prob in 2 weeks or so. Will post another rev then. Have fun, Adventure is out there!!

hiking
28 days ago

Great trail. Scenic. The canopy of the forest is great for summer heat and afternoon rain. Dogs love it.

hiking
28 days ago

Trail was great, you get to walk along and through the creek under huge trees which makes it nice if it’s warm out. The hike itself is very easy with the occasional steps and rocks to hop on to avoid getting wet when crossing the creek. $10 bucks per vehicle (up to 5 persons) & $2 bucks if you’re biking or walking in. They do not accept credit or debit cards so make sure you have cash on you.

1 month ago

Beautiful! Amazing trail!

hiking
1 month ago

Such awesome views! We had four kids in our group and everyone was entertained.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this on July 6th. The parking lot was full when we arrived, so we parked 1/2 mile up the road and paid the $2/person walk-in entry fee.

This was our second time here. The first was in winter, presented with a fantasy of icicles on the red rock overhangs and crust ice on the pools. Not this time. What a wealth of biodiversity. One highlight was a bright red, black and white king snake, later keyed out as the Sonora mountain variety. Also many hummingbirds and butterflies, many unique pockets of plant and insect life nestled in the curves of the creek. Don't get me wrong, I love the deep cut red rock canyon and the patterns of white and black minerals, but more, the way sunlight reflected off the creek plays on the darker walls.

We hiked and waded about an extra mile past the official end of the trail. I wore Teva' s and my wife wore tennis shoes. Follow the instinct to continue, well worth it.

Beautiful hike!! Probably one of favorites. Good shade when it’s hot, you have to cross creeks to be sure to wear, a bit longer than 7 miles but totally worth it. Pet friendly but bring booties, there is hot sand and rocks.

1 month ago

Awesome trail! I did it in January, and even with a little bit of snow left, I really enjoyed crossing the river so many times, and so did my lab.

hiking
1 month ago

I went with my 4-year-old, and we got as far as the first opportunity to walk into the river, and he planted us there for about two hours, skipping stones - or trying to...It is super beautiful, and really easy to get to. But I didn't get all the comments about four parking spots. I made sure I was in the right place. I even asked the parking attendant, whose advice to me was not to believe everything I read on the internet.

1 month ago

Top 5 in Arizona

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous trail! Not too difficult but still burns some calories. Great for families and dogs. Pay attention to trail markers we got off trail a few times on accident especially near the end.

trail running
1 month ago

This a wonderful trail for running and the sand makes it easier on your joint but also increases your work out load. $10 for parking

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike but not as scenic as people make it seem. A fairly easy trail, the only thing that makes it mildly strenuous is the sand. Get here an hourly/45 minutes early so that you can get a spot in the parking area and $10 in cash. Reiterating what the tips tabs says: bring water shoes if you wish to hike past the end of the trail to explore some more or camp. Oh and bring hand-sanitizer, especially if you plan on using the restroom in the park before/after the hike :)

1 month ago

Loved every minute of it! So many breathtaking views! We went to the end and then went back into the water a ways, absolutely stunning.

hiking
1 month ago

enjoyed every minute of it..... recommended

1 month ago

Such a beautiful trail! Does not open until 8 am and is $10, cash only. There are 4 parking spots next to the entrance gate that you can park at IF you get there early. River crossing from the get go! Go all the way to the end, it is worth it. My favorite trail for dogs as well, constant shade from the trees on the trail and cold river makes the trail very easy for all dogs!!

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