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.

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.

backpacking
7 days ago

I wouldn't recommend doing this hike unless you bring a chainsaw with you. It is extremely overgrown and unmaintained; I kept losing the trail. Expect to make extremely slow progress after the "The Dutch Kid" trail ends (which isn't labeled on here). Didn't see anyone until I was up on the ridge.

I want to give this a higher rating for the scenery and how remote you get, but it desperately needs maintenance.

Awesome trail. Good workout. Fairly well maintained

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.

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 towardPackard 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.

Great hike! Lots of trees and babbling brooks. Took the grandkids .. they did great!

Great hike. brought my younger siblings 13 and 10, super easy hike. the only "moderate" part was the initial drop down into the canyon and coming back up. overall a fairly flat trail with lots of spots to pop into the water if you get of the trail a little. cool swimming hole about a mile in. Overall a great trip. Glad we went

Great views at the top.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful scenery but disappointed by the end of the trail. It doesn't really go anywhere and just peters out to nothing. Well worth doing though. Also very few other people out on this trail which is a definite bonus!

The full Parsons trail is long but beautiful. Pace yourself and take plenty of water (a filter is ideal so you can refill). There are some places where the trail has washed out or crosses a rock field; take the time to make cairns. Most of all enjoy the beautiful scenery!

I’m sure this is a great trail but the only way to get to the GPS coordinates is by trespassing. Wasted my wife’s morning getting here and now I feel awful - thanks.

Just completed this trail 6/9/18, and it's a great moderate trail with beautiful scenery.

First off, play attention to the stack of rocks on the trail. (guidance rocks)

Secondly, the road to get the trail is pavement/dirt road. As a Offroading hobbiest *You DO NOT need a 4wd or Awd vehicle*; took a Honda Civic and no problem. If you have driven to Fossil Creek, it is alot less bumpier than that.
Moreover, the trail has a few swimming spots, the first 1.5 mile you will see spots to cliff jump and relax. We were told by several people the trail ended a mile after, boy they where wrong. We ran into *a boulder where the dirt trail ends* what they didn't notice was the trail veers off to the right.
Once you follow the trail you will cross small creek beds. At one river bed you will find a pile of rocks on the other side to guide you. You will find small cave holes, stagnant water spots, and great views of rock deformation.

At the end of the trail you will find a beautiful Oasis. The water is clear with small turtles, fish and crawdads.
*Warning* the rocks are very slippery even with water shoes, take it slow going down as the rocks in the water a covered with light moss.
Enjoy and whatever you pack it in, pack it out!

hiking
4 months ago

We only had time to hike half the trail but loved the views and critters along the way.

Great swimming hole about 1.5 miles in on the trail. Took young kids with us and they did fine. Take plenty of water and decent hiking shoes. 4wd vehicle is not needed to get to trail head.

backpacking
6 months 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
8 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
9 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
9 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.
.

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

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

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