When it comes to fall hikes in the Sedona, Arizona area, all of us at Sky Rock Inn of Sedona would agree that West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon is the one that shouldn’t be missed! Fall is the most popular time of year to take this hike, when the beautiful red rocks and clear blue skies serve as the perfect backdrop for the vibrant fall foliage in Oak Creek Canyon, but there is no bad time of year to enjoy this hike. The shutterbugs out there will love it; there are awe inspiring images throughout the entire hike.
Hiking West Fork Trail in the Fall
Beginning mid October the fall foliage is amazing and only gets better as the season goes on. Because of the popularity of this trail we highly suggest starting your hike in the early morning. The early morning hikes can be on the chilly side this time of year, a lot of the trail will be shaded, so make sure to dress appropriately. We recommend an over shirt and a jacket that you can take off later and tie around your waist. When you first start the trail plenty of sunshine will warm you, but the further you get along the trees provide a great deal of shade, making those early morning hikes a bit chilly.
When you get to the bridge that crosses the creek make sure to take a minute and just hang out and enjoy the scenery. Not too far from the bridge you come into a section of the canyon were towering cliffs engulf you. You can’t help but stand there in amazement. You can see where water falls off the cliff, slowly running down the rocks from a rain storm or snow melt.
First Three Miles
Novice hikers will have no problem with the first three miles of the trail. This three mile hike takes you into the beautiful canyon and stays fairly level and near the creek. You will however benefit from wearing a good pair of hiking boots. There are tree roots that you can easily trip over if you are not paying attention to where you are walking! Also keep in mind that there are places on the trail where you will be crossing the creek. The rocks can be a bit slippery, the last thing you want to do is take a splash on a cool morning! But just in case we always suggest bringing an extra pair of socks!
There will be a three mile marker that marks the end of the official path and hiking beyond this point takes a very experienced hiker. In fact if you choose to travel all 14 miles from one end of the canyon trail to the other, plan to do a lot of wading and boulder hopping, and even some swimming.
*The West Fork of Oak Creek Trailhead (Call of the Canyon Picnic Area) is operated by a concessionaire. Only the Grand Annual Red Rock Pass is accepted here, or you may pay the daily rate at the gate: Day-use: $10 per vehicle (up to 5 people), Walk-in, bicycle, bus: $2 per person.
To check out some of our photos of this hike click here.