Date Index Person/Place Index Person/Date Index Place/Person Index Place/Date Index Time Index Home

John Guilford's Hikes

West Fork Oak Creek, Sedona on 2008-06-27

Date: 2008-06-27

Location: West Fork Oak Creek, Sedona

People: (including myself): Pam

Start:		10:15	0
Swimming hole:	11:00
Turn Around:	1:00	3
Swimming hole:	2:30
Out:		2:45	6
This was our longest and most enjoyable hike on our Sedona visit.  We heard about the West Fork trail the previous day while on a Pink Jeep Tour and decided to give it a go.  The trail is on the northern end of Oak Creek Canyon that leads north out of Sedona on 89A.  The parking area for the West Fork trail is clearly marked on the west side of the road. 

Most places in the Sedona area require a "Red Rock Pass" for parking.  These passes can be bought in local area stores as Day Passes, Weekly Passes, or Annual Passes.  The West Fork parking lot charged a parking fee, though the Weekly (but not the Daily) Red Rock Pass counted and allowed us to park without paying extra. 

We chose this hike for several reasons.  It was a different terrain that what we'd seen on this trip already as it followed a creek and was wetter than our other hikes.  Also, being near the top end of the canyon, it was somewhat higher (about a thousand feet) and hence (we hoped) a bit cooler.  It was also shadier. 

So with plenty of water, a lunch, and no looming deadlines, we could take our time and enjoy this hike more than our earlier Sedona hikes. 

[ PIX1 ] [ PIX2 ] The trail first crosses over Oak Creek on a modern bridge.  For the first part of the trail, the path is sandy and smooth.  Just past the bridge the trail passes through an old orchard and the ruins of an old homestead. 

[ PIX3 ] After the orchard, the trail gets more serious but remains an easy walk.  Not too far up the trail, we came to a place were the creek flows in some deep pools often used for swimming/wading.  On our way past it in the morning, there was only one wader there, but on our return in the afternoon, it was pretty crowded. 

[ PIX5 ] The trail crosses West Fork Oak Creek numerous times as it meanders up the valley.  Generally there were rocks and/or logs at the crossing points to make it easier.  We did okay on most of the crossings, though Pam did slip on one of the first crossings and got her feet wet. 

[ PIX4 ] [ PIX6 ] [ PIX9 ] We were enchanted as we passed up the valley with the flora and fauna we saw, including this Columbine flower, the butterfly, and several different colors of dragonflies.  At one point we even saw a heron a ways up the creek.  We only noticed it due to another couple who had stopped to watch it.  Unfortunately, it flew away before I could get my camera out.  At times we stopped for a while to take pictures as we weren't in any hurry. 

[ PIX7 ] [ PIX8 ] The canyon walls reared up on either side, sometimes wider, sometimes narrower.  They reminded me at times of my trip down the Zion Narrows. 

[ PIXa ] As we neared the end of the easily passable part of the canyon, the trail got a bit rougher though it was still relatively easy to follow.  We started seeing more interesting patterns in the color and texture of the rock of the side walls of the canyon. 

[ PIXb ] Finally we got to the end, at least as far as we were going.  This is the point where the creek extends fully across the width of the canyon.  To go beyond this point requires wading at a minimum.  According to the US Forest Service, one can travel all 14 miles from end to end of the canyon, but that requires wading, boulder hopping, and even swimming. 

Despite it being cooler than downtown Sedona, the day was getting warm by the time we turned around.  We found a shady spot on some rocks and had lunch.  We made better time on the way out as we didn't spend nearly as much time stopping to look at things and take pictures.  As I mentioned above, the "swimming hole" was much more crowded in the afternoon.  We were glad we went in earlier in the day when it was less crowded and quieter. 

All in all, this was a very enjoyable hike and is recommended. 


[ PIX1 ] Bridge over Oak Creek

[ PIX2 ] Oak Creek

[ PIX3 ] Swimming hole in West Fork Oak Creek

[ PIX4 ] Columbine flower

[ PIX5 ] Pam, on one of the numerous crossings over West Fork Oak Creek

[ PIX6 ] Butterfly

[ PIX7 ] View of one of the canyon walls

[ PIX8 ] West Fork Oak Creek and canyon wall

[ PIX9 ] Blue dragon fly

[ PIXa ] Colorful rock patterns near the head end of canyon

[ PIXb ] Top of the canyon.  Beyond here you need to wade. 

Date Index Person/Place Index Person/Date Index Place/Person Index Place/Date Index Time Index Home
Please send comments or corrections to
Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015