Explore the most popular camping trails near Sedona with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
1 month ago

Found this trail to be pretty difficult. Path finding is difficult and the trail is extremely easy to loose. Over half the hike is was large periodically loose river rock which made hiking with a heavier pack slow and rough on the ankles. Only standing pools infested with mosquitos were found. The whole hike was worth it for the beautiful red rock surroundings and abundant greenery. Its a difficult one so be prepared to bring ample water.

Very nice trail, good swimming spots. Small camping area several miles in was pretty crowded with weekend warriors.

Favorite swimming hole in that area.

BEAR! I can't believe nobody has posted that they have seen him!! Huge bear is living at the end of the trail where my boyfriend and I camped for a night and had a very close scary encounter he is NOT AFRAID OF HUMANS please please be careful going down there

Amazing trail! Backpacked in and camped next to the creek. But be alert as we spotted a mountain lion on a low cliff directly above the trail about 3 miles in. Trekking poles were very helpful for this hike and all of the creek crossings.

With continued cold weather at home in Colorado, my wife and I decided to head south to warmer weather. A search on All Trails landed us on the Parsons Trail. We upgraded some backpacking gear and were ready to test run it. Arizona is plenty warm this time of year so we took the opportunity to make a trip of it. Good choice.

First, the road to the canyon. You do not need a 4wheel drive vehicle to get there. It is a bumpy dirt road but not a 4wheel jeep road. I wouldn’t exactly take your low profile sports car on it, but anything like a 2 wheel drive cross over would be just fine. Just take your time.

The steep drop into the canyon is brief and not difficult. Trekking poles come in handy with a backpack for balance so I’d recommend a pair of those. Day packers are fine without it. The start of the trail is easy and flat. After the first mile plus, the trail has sections that get rougher. Again, very doable. This is where you begin to see the red rock portion of the canyon which is majestic.

I must give a shoutout to the folks who carefully placed all the cairns particularly for the creek crossings which were not always intuitive on the back half of the canyon. Lots of fingers and false trails so definitely follow the cairns carefully. Creek crossings were also easier with trekking poles so, another plug to take a pair.

Once we got beyond the sign that lets you know you are allowed to camp, we found a nice sandy creek side spot. Plenty of space and a nice view of the canyon wall. Saw fish and a water turtle in the creek which was great. By chance, it was a full moon that night which lit the canyon like a spotlight. Pretty spectacular.

This was a very nice canyon backpack earning it a solid 4 stars. Enjoy!

Some reviews here say that 4WD is not necessary.. It absolutely is!! The last part of the drive near the trail head gets very steep and rocky with no turn around points. Definitely would not recommend driving a regular little car. I would say that this trail is fairly easy, the only "hard" spot was first part, which is a steep drop to get to the base of the mountains. Getting down is easy, but climbing up it with heavy backpacks can be a little bit rough. The trail is sandy and easy to follow for the most part, but there are a few crossing that can get a bit confusing. The water is crystal clear and there is one really awesome swimming hole with deep blue water before you hit the 3.7 mile mark. We camped at the beach spot near the 3.7 mark and it was BEAUTIFUL. Tucked back behind it there was a little space that you could easily set up a tent and a hammock, and there was a little rock pit for fires. Some reviews on here say it gets super crowded but we only saw two other people, and they were only day hiking. Would definitely hike this again!! Make sure to bring lots of water though and maybe some bug spray depending on the time you go. We went late March and the bugs were all over (naturally).

trail running
3 months ago

About 70% runnable; peaceful and not crowded. Great run, except for the herd of javalinas I came upon on the way back. Definitely my least favorite part!

Love this trail. Did it last year and this year. We are 58 and 60 and the shear length of it was kind of tough but other than that a pretty easy trail. Saw a javelina 15-20 feet from us so had to grab my dog and cover her eyes so she didn’t get things stirred up.

backpacking
4 months ago

This hike is an @$$-kicker! We may have started out along the wrong trail because we ended up west of the path shown here (which ended up adding an extra 5 miles or so). Even in seasons when there is supposed to be water at the bottom of the river it can be sparse so be prepared and take extra water! Stay along the trail even when you get to the bottom because the river bed is unforgiving (follow cairns!) . Once you arrive at the bottom there is not many places to camp so if you find a great spot I would take it! The hike back up is very steep and there are tons of down logs to hurdle over, but you make it up quicker than you’d think and the views are amazing! Once you hit the “drivable” road you’ve only completed about ½ your day. The switchbacks down Casner Mtn are a bitch, but once you hit level ground again there is only a mile left. Although this loop is tough, you really have a sense of satisfaction for completing it with a pack in a couple of days! Wouldn’t do again, but I definitely don’t regret it! Side note: never found Taylor cabin ☹. Total mileage I believe was 27.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice trail up the canyon, changes from flatter area up to the creek bed which was dry , though if there had been any runoff the beds were fairly wide. Only walked up to where Hit loop trail headed to the north. After the initial flat section it got rocky but overall not strenuous.

Beautiful Hike! The road to the trailhead is long and rough but it’s so worth it! It has everything! Desert, river, greenery, rocks, leaves, tough spots, river crossings, and more! I recorded about 7 miles in and out. We didn’t make it the entire way as about 3.5 miles in there was a spot where we couldn’t all cross so we decided to head back. I would definitely suggest some waterproof (water-friendly) shoes so the water crossing doesn’t hold you back!

Absolutely beautiful!

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.
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Always a great hike for a hot day. plenty of swimming holes.

Nice trail. No trash, no people!! Lots of signs of wildlife.

Amazing hike the weather was overcast (nice) love this hike me and my father did this trail together and definitely are coming back again wow one of the best trails I’ve tried

beautiful trail. one of my favorites!

Great trail. Beautiful views and ZERO trash!!

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!

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!

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!

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

trail running
8 months ago

The first 2 miles is open and not as rocky for a strong start to a hike or trail run. After the cattle gate, the trail gets more rocky with more climbs. Running in and out of the sycamores makes for some good variation on the trail.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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