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 Secret Canyon Trail #121, AZ
Description 96 Triplogs 5 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
 Sedona NW
Difficulty 2.5    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 10 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,800 feet
Elevation Gain 400 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Author Kip
Descriptions 2
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 7 map ( 36 miles )
Age ?
Location Phoenix, AZ
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
13  2014-05-02
Bear Sign / Secret Loop
10  2013-04-27
Secret & HS Canyon Combo
The Eagle
5  2013-04-27
Secret & HS Canyon Combo
joe bartels
27  2012-11-03 ultrazona
52  2012-10-21 paulshikleejr
17  2012-03-16 sirena
13  2012-01-29 JuanJaimeiii
13  2012-01-29 The Dean
22  2011-11-05
Bear Sign / Secret Loop
The Eagle
12  2011-09-17 nahimana222
59  2011-05-21 tibber
8  2011-04-30 sventre
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Map - Beartooth Sedona
Forest Coconino
Wilderness Red Rock-Secret Mountain
Backpack - Yes
Seasons - Spring to Autumn
Official Route
Alternative Routes
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
0.0  Bear Sign / Secret Loop
0.1  H.S. Canyon
0.8  Dry Creek Trail #52
0.8  Vultee Arch Trail #22
0.9  Lost Canyon
1.3  Bear Sign #59
[ View More! ]
     Arizona Mountain Kingsnake
     Arizona Sister Butterfly
     Black Bear
     Black-headed Grosbeak
     Black-necked Garter Snake
     Canyon Tree Frog
     Garter Snake
     Plateau Fence Lizard
     Pond Damselfly
     Wolf Spider
     Arizona Grape*
     Arizona Sycamore*
     Arizona Walnut*
     Bigtooth Maple*
   Crested latesummer mint
     Fremont Cottonwood*
     Gambel Oak*
 Narrowleaf Hoptree*
   Netleaf Hackberry*
     New Mexican Thistle
     Parry's Agave
     Pointleaf Manzanita
     Poison Ivy*
     Pringle's Manzanita
     Velvet Ash*
 Western Hophornbeam*
     Schnebly Hill Formation

unexpected change
by Kip

Overview: On the hike you go through wide open spaces, small pines, big pines, oaks, ferns, wildflowers and red-rock canyons!

0 mile Trailhead
1.9 miles David Miller
2.0 miles Canyon wall views
2.3 miles Good camping
2.9 miles Narrows

Hike: On this trip, there were pockets of brown, stagnant water if you're into filtering that sort of stuff. If not bring your own water.

The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. For the most part the hike is flat. There are a fews ups and downs through ravines. Nothing serious though I'm sure with a pack it might drain you after awhile.

Maybe it's me, but it felt hotter than forecasted during the day and cooler than forecasted during the night. This is especially true when you are in the wide open areas without shade. I'm not sure I would do this hike with a pack any later then May.

A couple good campsites become available around 2.3 miles. There's a great spot with a clear view of the canyon wall, 34 57.256, -111 51.235. This is one of the few spots where you can see the canyon walls without trees in the way. If you want to hike further in, there is a good spot just after the waterfall too, 34 57.391, -111 52.004. Although there is occasional airplane noise, this is the quietest place I've camped in a long time.

In mid May, on this trip at least, the hike provided great photo opportunities for wild flowers, butterflies, and your typical Sedona red canyons. If there's no water, the waterfall is still a good photo opportunity; it gives you the curvy rock / slot canyon picture. Behind the waterfall campsite mentioned above, it's possible to get up on some red rocks and get above the trees: Simply scramble up the wooded hill until you run into the red rocks; from there, walk around until you can find a safe place to get up.

I'm not a plant guy, but after reading Joe's warning, I did come across a number of plants that could pass for poison ivy. The plants were around the river crossings, on stalks about knee-high, had three, spear-shaped leaves, and a number of the leaves were shiny and turning red. If you're not familiar with poison ivy, it can be real nasty stuff; take a few minutes to read up on it.


Coconino FS Reports The Secret Canyon Trail is of moderate length, leading into the Wilderness. The first two miles follows an old road bed, that is fairly flat and easy going. The rest of the way, the trail meanders in and out of the canyon bottom. Vegetation varies from chaparral to mixed conifer along this typically dry water course.

The signed trailhead is across the usually dry streambed of Dry Creek west of the parking area. The trail immediately enters Wilderness. The wide, nearly flat trail leads into the wide canyon mouth with nice views, but no shade from the desert scrub vegetation. At 2/3 mile, HS Canyon Trail branches off to the left. Continue ahead for Secret Canyon. At 2 miles, continue ahead (west) as the trail drops down to cross a drainage. It climbs gently for the next 3 miles beside the canyon drainage, frequently dipping down to cross it.

There is shade from oak and ponderosa and nice views of red rock formations. At 5 miles, the streambed turns sharply left a short distance to an interesting "chute". Return to the trail which continues ahead, climbs sharply, then levels out. At 5.5 miles, there is a deep ravine and a series of pools in the solid rock streambed. An unmaintained trail continues on. Return by the same route for an 11 mile hike. The hike can be shortened and still be worthwhile. The trail can be very hot in summer.

Directions Preferred Months Mar Apr Sep Oct
Water / Source:none, possible seasonal creek
Preferred Start8 AM Cell Phone SignalYes Sunrise6:20am Sunset6:45pm
Road / VehicleHigh Clearance possible when dry
Fees / Permit

To hike
From the 'Y' in Sedona follow 89A 3.1 miles Southwest to Dry Creek Road. Turn Right and go 1.9 miles to Forest Road #152. There is a fairly large sign with the multiple destinations of FS #152. Turn right on to FS #152 and follow it to... oh about 3.5 miles to the Secret Canyon turnoff to the left. I didn't track the mileage exactly, it's clearly marked and easy to find. What's hard to find is the trail from the trailhead. From the big three panel sign cross the creek and pick up the trail on the other side. A trail register is there, so if you don't find it soon you're not in the right area.

Access: Drive 27 miles south from Flagstaff to Sedona on US 89A. Continue through Sedona to Dry Creek Road (152C) at the west end of town. Turn right on Dry Creek Road and drive for two miles to Forest Road 152. This road is rough, but can be traveled by passenger vehicles. It is not recommended during wet weather. About 3 miles up this road on the left (west) side of the road is a two-track road. Turn onto this road. There is a trailhead sign at the junction of these two roads. The parking area is approximately 200 feet behind the sign.

Rated high clearance for the majority. Cars do drive this road.
Login for Mapped Driving Directions
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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