Winter hikes in Sedona can be breathtaking! Recently a good friend of mine and I decided to take a girls weekend and explore the red rocks in the snow. We hiked an area on the northern part of AZ State Route 89A along Oak Creek Canyon and found a gorgeous and historical trail, West Fork of Oak Creek.
This beautiful trail is considered an easy trail that covers 7 miles along Oak Creek. It involves crossing the creek a number of times and in winter it can be a little tricky when the stones along the creek are covered in ice. As you venture further back into the trail the red rock cliffs above the creek are spectacular.
One of my favorite things about this trail is the historical old hunting lodge located at the beginning of the trailhead. You can see the ruins of the historic Mayhew Lodge that was originally built in 1925. If your familiar with Western Literature and the author Zane Grey, you will love exploring the location where he stayed and wrote the book Call of the Canyon.
West Fork is one of the most popular hikes in Sedona. I would recommend going anytime of year but for me my favorite time is after a fresh snow storm. I love how icicles hang from the red rock overhangs, the cold air is so invigorating and there are so few people when it is really cold.
Below are my top tips for enjoying a Winter Hike on the West Fork:
- Make sure you have sturdy trekking poles, the ice along the trail can be very slippery and the poles with help you find your footing.
- Parking at the trailhead is very limited. Get there early, the gates open at 9am and the parking lot is full by 9:30.
- Allow at least 3 hours to complete the trail. You will want to stop to take pictures and enjoy the view, it’s absolutely stunning!
- Bring water and a snack. Even in winter, your body needs to stay hydrated and there is no water or facilities along the trail.
- Make sure your hiking boots are waterproof. There are a number of water crossings and the water is freezing! Bring extra socks in case your feet get wet, your toes will thank you.
- Dress in warm layers that are easy to remove and put in your backpack. I personally prefer a warm vest, hat, and a long sleeve top with sweat wicking fabric.
- Always check trail conditions when planning your hike. My go to site for updated weather, parking and directions for Sedona is USDA National Forest: Coconino Trails
My hiking outfit:
Pants: Nike Pro Compression Pants
Vest: REI Co-op Down Vest
Boots: REI Co-op Hiking Boots
Hat: REI Co-op Beanie