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Boynton Canyon Trail #47, AZ

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Guide 197 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
3.8 of 5 by 84
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,500 feet
Elevation Gain 691 feet
Accumulated Gain 898 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.69
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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9  2019-05-05 Yoder
6  2018-10-12 MandaBearPig
11  2018-10-11
Red Rock Wander
6  2018-04-08 amy1300
10  2018-04-07 The_Eagle
10  2018-04-07 joebartels
1  2018-01-29 AZBeaver
11  2017-04-15 Nightstalker
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Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,834
Trips 4,261 map ( 21,471 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → 10 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
Few trails offer the pure experience contained within Boynton Canyon. From beginning to end Boynton Canyon has it all. Rock formations, Indian ruins, lush forest, thick manzanita lined paths, seasonal rain waterfalls, and a winding stone creek ending in tall Ponderosa pines. Whew this is a TRAIL! Did I mention the rock ledges and shear canyon walls. Okay the beginning is ever so slightly blemished by a resort lining the trail. The hike is nearly over when the canyon closes in where it's tough to continue . Take the short scramble up an extremely steep slope to the right ( north ). The trail data given above ends after a 145 foot ascent to gain better views. You could save the final 145 foot ascent to make this an easier hike. You might want to explore the ledge a little to the east too!

Indian ruins are hidden in this canyon. If that's your passion, simply explore a little. It's hard to get real lost here, simply go back down. Please respect the ruins and leave them alone, as in don't move anything. Enjoy the hike.

According to the 2018 FS map camping is allowed at the end outside the green line. There is an "overnight" column in the trailhead register too. That said, probably best to confirm with the FS. If you can't read a map, do not camp anywhere on planet earth.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

1998-05-01 joebartels
  • book
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  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
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    100 Classic Hikes - 2007
  • wilderness related
  • Boynton Canyon Area Map
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    Boynton Canyon Area Map
  • Sedona Trails 2018
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    Sedona Trails 2018

Coconino FS Details
Boynton Canyon is one of the most scenic of the box canyons that make Arizona Red Rock Country so famous. This particular trail enjoys the additional advantage of being conveniently accessible to nearby towns on well paved roads. As you might suspect, that is both good and bad news for those who choose to come here. The good news is you don't have to bounce down a dusty jeep track to get to the trailhead. The bad news is you may have more company than you hoped for when you arrive.

Boynton Canyon always has been popular for its outstanding scenery. Lately it has become even more so, since it developed a reputation as a site of a New Age "vortex" - a sort of energy field emanating from inner earth. Whether or not you subscribe to this bit of modern mysticism, you'll no doubt agree that some sort of magic exists here among the towering buttes, crimson cliffs, and natural desert gardens.

The trail starts out by skirting a luxury resort that was recently built here. It quickly returns to the canyon floor where the walking is pleasant and easy. As you hike, take note of the variety of plants that live in this rather harsh environment, and keep an eye out for the area's plentiful wildlife which includes everything from colorful songbirds to bristling, shy whitetail deer.

USGS Maps: Wilson Mt., Loy Butte
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.

Most recent of 26 deeper Triplog Reviews
Boynton Canyon Trail #47
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Boynton Canyon TH was parked full when I got there. (Busy spring weekend in Sedona!) Luckily it's a pretty short walk between the TH and FR152C, where it's legal to park on the side of the road. (If you don't like buying the Red Rock Pass, this seems like a good option.)

I did parts of this canyon hike off-trail, in the dry creekbed, and my photos were all taken during those parts. The trail, itself, was pretty crowded, but the creekbed was great. The Enchantment Resort seems to extend for about the first mile of the hike -- you are theoretically in the Wilderness, but seeing buildings, satellite dishes, cars on a resort road, etc. Also for that first mile you have to walk the official trail. After you get past the last of the buildings, the trail gets a bit shadier, and the first place where the trail meets creekbed is just a bit after the last building - creekbed veering off to the right.

EDIT - Oh yeah, and there's a sign near the Boynton TH about a bear that had to be destroyed in 2014, because some people fed it, and then it became aggressive toward people, trying to get easy calories. The sign reminds, "A fed bear is a dead bear." If you choose to backpack this canyon, please keep it in mind.

The Deadmans Pass trailhead is off the Boynton, so I decided to check it out on the way back. It's pretty much an inverted "V" of a trail -- you hike steadily uphill for 3/4 of a mile, then you start downhill, with a view of a golf resort ahead of you. Mescal Mountain is on your right (if you're headed NE), and unnamed bluffs on your left. Very thick manzanita forest (with a few junipers and such thrown in) on both sides of the trail. Mtn bikes are allowed, but there were few on the Sunday I hiked it. (The trail is just on top of the wilderness boundary, according to my TI map.) Looks like there are some loop options in this area, among the Deadmans Pass Tr, Long Canyon Tr, Mescal Tr, Aerie Tr and Cockscomb Tr -- will have to check some out on a future trip.
Boynton Canyon Trail #47
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Headed in with the sun at full torch. 2.1 miles to notable forest I started questioning why it's embedded in my mind as a great hike. The red rock slapped me silly for questioning why Boynton delivers. The hike out with a lower sun even made the 2.1 mile access enjoyable. Still swear someone brought in fifty year old shade trees that weren't there on the hike in.
Boynton Canyon Trail #47
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It'd been almost 6 years since we did this one as part of a larger loop.

The best part of this hike is when you get past the Resort, turn to the west and get in the tree cover. I'd forgotten how many maples were back here. We continued past the end and checked out some of the slick rock and alcoves.

We saw no Beavers.
Boynton Canyon Trail #47
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AZWandering Bear and I wanted to hike to the famous "Vortex" area -- Boynton Canyon. This trail is a moderate hike with a 400 foot gain in elevation. It ends in a moderate climb to an overlook in a large box canyon. The first third of the trail skirts the Enchantment Resort. This is a private resort and access is prohibited. The trail starts from the Boynton Canyon parking lot just outside the Enchantment Resort. We first hiked to the Vista Trail to the Boynton Canyon Spire. There we ran into a couple of girls who explained that there are both female and male energies and encouraged us to "touch a juniper tree" for more positive energy. Many flock to Sedona to feel the power of energy vortexes dotting the region. A vortex is a spiraling, tornado-like force of spiritual energy emanating from the center of the Earth. Many believe these places are perfect spots for prayer, meditation and healing, as the energy is said to interact with one’s inner self. Vortexes are also known to increase psychic energy and make you more self aware.

The Boynton Canyon Vortex is one of several main vortexes in the area. It’s located just east of Enchantment Resort. Some vortexes are said to have either masculine or feminine energies. The Boynton Canyon vortex has both, which is supposedly ideal for balancing energy within oneself and with relationships. The center of the vortex is located in a knoll south of the spire. Hikers can climb to the top of the spire. While not lengthy, there is some tricky footing near the tip.

Juniper trees apparently feel the vortexes more than other plants and trees. They grow in a twisting manner the closer you get the center of a vortex.

Deadman's Pass Trail links to Long Canyon Trail and has excellent views of Mescal Mountain.

To reach the parking lot, take Dry Creek Road off of 89A in Sedona. Dry Creek Road ends at a " T " intersection. Follow the signs to Boynton Canyon.

Boynton Canyon Trail #47
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Nice day for a hike in the Red Rocks area. Good trail signage and a beautiful day for a hike. Nice breezes through the canyon and shade for most of the way made for a pleasant hike in early May. Not a fan of the private resort intrusion next to the trail, but what are you going to do?
Boynton Canyon Trail #47
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Boynton trio
The goal was to enjoy the stormy weather and hit a new trail. I decided on Boynton's Backyard after a quick glimpse on HAZ, and seeing that Mr Jamy, Dave, and Joe had enjoyed it I figured it was good for me too. I had hopes of getting up high enough to reach the snow, but I ended up turning around well short of the goal.

All the creeks and side drainages were running lightly and I was able to keep my feet dry in waterproof high-top boots. Unfortunately, as I got higher up in the backyard, the brush closed in and required me to go into full rain gear to stay dry. After my rain pants had soaked through and I wasn't close to the top, I admitted defeat and turned back down canyon. Along the way, I found an excellent use path on the southwest side of the creek. View all the GPS tracks posted here and you'll see what I mean. Absolutely avoid the official track and those that stay in the creek bottom. It is completely unnecessary and much slower!

Back on the trail, I changed into dry clothes before heading up the official Boynton trail. The views at the top were spectacular, and a nice waterfall was flowing off the cliffs above.

On the way out, I hit up the trifecta with the Vista Trail. By this point it was raining pretty hard again, but that didn't prevent a few tourists from venturing out as well. The rain soaked rocks prevented me from making the final move to the summit of the vortex butte, and the vortex energy had me all twisted in knots and craving a beer.

I hadn't done any of these hikes before so it was nice to visit a new area. The rain and temps in the 30s prevented what I'm sure is normally an obnoxiously crowded area that I would typically avoid like the plague.

I'd still like to explore farther up the backyard sometime.
Boynton Canyon Trail #47
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been a while since we were out on boynton. forgot how woodsy it gets. :)

scrambled up to the shelf at the end and walked it out to where you can look back down canyon. wow! that is an extremely impressive view point. adds an extra element to the hike, in my opinion.
Boynton Canyon Trail #47
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Went ahead with plans to hike with friends even though forecast called for rain and high winds. Glad we did as weather cooperated. Met Rich and Sue on our first Grand Canyon trip when Sue came up behind me on S Kaibab and told me to wait as I was about to lose an apple out of my pack. That was 2005 and we have shared a vacation each year since. They are staying 6 weeks in Sedona so joined them and their son Richie and wife Yuko. I've not done Boynton Canyon since before I begin to log hikes on HAZ (Sept 2004). Sometimes I can't remember what I had for breakfast but recalled the spot my dog Kona could not get over the boulders in the wash part of the trail (trail now goes around to the right) and the turnaround in the box canyon. Manzanita were in full bloom. 4:45 minutes
Boynton Canyon Trail #47
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Still one of my favorite trails in Arizona. The open part of the trail was fairly warm near the resort, but it cooled down nicely deeper into the canyon. Didn't see any mule deer this time, but I definitely heard them in the brush across the wash. Other hikers I chatted with reported seeing a half dozen in one area.

Trees are turning from green to yellow along the trail. A couple of smaller trees are red. The fungus is wreaking havoc in this area; lots of areas of brown leaves. There are several areas that are healthy and should put on a good show in several days, but this year I don't think this will be the reliable color producer that it normally is.
Boynton Canyon Trail #47
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Approaching the trail head, I could see rain falling on one peak, and sun on the next. A huge waterfall was flowing in Fay Canyon, and I knew this was going to be good.
The first mile or so by the resort is pretty crappy, though I'm sure it's nice to stay there. Once that was behind me, the trail was similar to Fay, with mostly obstructed views punctuated by openings that revealed top notch red rock. When I reached the Box, I cruised up the right side about three levels on open smooth stone, enjoying the huge views in both directions. I cracked my last Amber Ale and reveled in my surroundings, glad to have jumped at the chance to get out here.
On the way back, I hit the Boynton Vista Trail. The pinnacle itself is climbable, though I skipped the last level. The wind was still gusting and some of the rock felt iffy.
Returning to the truck, I prepared for the drive home. I'd had 27 hours to experience Bear Mountain, Fay Canyon and Arch, Robber's Roost, and now Boynton Canyon. 16.5 miles with 4200 AEG gave me 307 images knocked down to 63. I'd done a few small hikes in Sedona before, but nothing like this. Besides the Canyon, I'd have to say my favorite place in the world, and I know I've only scratched the surface.
And it's less than 2 hours from my house.
I'm a lucky guy.

Permit $$
Red Rock Pass - may or may not be required. Go to Red Rock Pass then check "When is a Red Rock Pass Required?". If you have questions contact the Coconino forest service.

Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness
see map for camping restrictions

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To Boynton Trailhead
From the Sedona 'Y' go Southwest on 89A for 3 miles to Dry Creek Road. Turn Right on to Dry Creek Road and follow 2.8 miles to Boynton PASS Road. Turn Left on to Boynton PASS Road and follow 1.5 miles to Boynton CANYON Road. Turn Right on to Boynton CANYON Road and follow a quarter mile to the trailhead parking area on the right. If you go to far you will end up at the entrance to the Enchantment Resort.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 129 mi - about 2 hours 18 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 234 mi - about 3 hours 46 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 36.2 mi - about 1 hour 1 min
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