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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Sunburst Canyon, AZ

no permit
104 12 1
Guide 12 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
3.8 of 5 by 6
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Distance Round Trip 4.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,777 feet
Elevation Gain -1,315 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,700 feet
Kokopelli Seeds 12.8
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
5  2015-09-26 CoryTallman
14  2013-09-01 desert_boonie
34  2013-08-31 GrottoGirl
45  2010-06-13 Vaporman
6  2010-06-13 nonot
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Sun  6:12am - 6:30pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby

Likely In-Season!

Author Full Detail Guide
Overview: Another technical canyoneering trip into upper Secret Canyon with 9 or more rappels

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  • Sedona Trails 2018
    region related
    Sedona Trails 2018
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 Triplog Reviews
Sunburst Canyon
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Sunburst Canyon
Approach and slot were pretty straight forward. Pools were mostly dry, I managed to get thru only getting one leg wet to the shin. Max rap was about 60ft. There were two longish raps otherwise everything is pretty short, many down-climbable spots.

Return canyon hike is easy enough to find and remains beautiful. We followed an errant cairn and exited the canyon early. Our mistake was a huge one we kept going when we should have gone back down. We ended up climbing a 4th class ridge to "lightening peak" where we were drenched by unforecasted monsoons. This added probably an extra 1500ft climb. The descent was much easier eventually connecting to the correct return trail not far from the big cairn where you first enter Sunburst drainage. Big day, but we still made decent time. Good folks: Jess, Sayfe, and Mark K. This canyon (even done right) is a lot of work.

Sunburst Canyon
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
With a Saturday trip of Sunburst in motion with Pete and Mike mother nature did not agree with us so we had to delay the trip a day to Sunday. Good thing we had Monday off of work because it sure was a long day. Pete couldn't make it Sunday so Mike and I headed on up north in the morning, drove through a fog covered highway for 10 minutes north of the Verde Valley, got into Flagstaff and the morning looked great. Onto the long drive in on FR 231 and a mile from the start I looked into the side mirror and noticed the rear tire on Mike's truck was flat. We stopped and shook our heads as our recent trips have had their share of minor vehicle problems to cause delay. We made the change there but were delayed a little more by a stripped lug that wouldn't come off. Mike had just gotten new wheels on the truck a month ago so it had to be over tightend or stripped while put on which caused for a few curse words to come out as the both of us used all of our might. Finally it popped off and we noticed the tip of the lug bolt was broken away. 5 out of 6 lugs should do for a day? And it did.

Finally we arrived at the parking spot, geared up and made our way down this log jammed/downed area to the start of Sunburst. What an amazing canyon, a few rapid fire short rappels followed by an opening to the narrows where the views are incredible to see the surrounding area of Secret Canyon and the way down Sunburst. The longer rappels down the walls into the bowl shaped shallow pools were some of the best rappels I have done in a canyon. A recent trek down by another group had me crying with joy as I saw great built anchors and not questionable ones I have come to see too often. We made our way down to the end and into the portion of Secret Canyon where the red supai all around us was amazing. Too bad my camera jammed up with dirt halfway down Sunburst and didn't work anymore, some great photo spots for sure. The sun lit up the top portion of the high walls and it didn't feel like AZ to me. We came across 2 or 3 pools up to our waist or chest if you were Mike, one of them filled with log debris that made it seem like we were in horrible muck.

We found the drainage we wanted to take back up and I made the mistake of missing the side drainage out of this one to lead us to the best way back up and out if there is such a term for that as this area is horrible. We bushwhacked up to the top of a ridge where I saw we were a bit off. Mike was tired and let out a few more curse words. I probably led us 300ft up which we had to drop back down all through brush. I should have paid more attention and when I come back to do Voodoo that will not happen again. Back into the other brushy drainage and on up and out. Back to the last hill to climb where I zig zagged around avoiding anymore of the down logs and thich brush. Back to the truck just as it got dark and Mike was done for. I gave him a beer and high five to cheer him up. A long 5 or just longer miles for sure, but totally worth it. On the drive back out we took a wrong turn on the FR and drove about 5 minutes not really thinking this is what we came in on. Back tracked and found the right roads on out, boy did this day throw everything at us.

This canyon trek is awesome minus the brush. A long canyon with many rappels, some nice pools, an incredible exit canyon which made the trip worth it. Guess i'm going to have to explore Secret Canyon some more.
Sunburst Canyon
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After doing Barney Springs into the West Fork the day before, I camped the night up on the rim and slept in a bit and then dropped back into this sweet gem of a canyon on the south Secret Canyon side. :D With my car I was able to get almost as far off of FR231 as we did last time and just road walked the rest of the way in. :sweat: This canyon is still so much fun even on the second time thru this summer. Still loads of down climbing, bushwhacking, tree fall to climb over & around, and almost a dozen rappels to navigate thru. By far the sweetest section is still that narrows from optional rappel #3 to #6. Not quite as much water as when we were here a couple months ago but still plenty of waders to navigate. I think my ragged pair of 5.10 canyoneers saw there last canyon in Barney Springs so I tried out my new comfy pair of chacos in Sunburst and they worked wonderfully with a pair of neoprene socks of course. :) The hike out was just as long & ardurous as before but I knew it was coming and just kept on pushing and slowly hauled myself back out of the canyon. :sweat: It always seems more adventurous and intimate when canyoneering solo in the quiet remote wilderness all by yourself and this canyon truely exemplifies that and I couldn't have asked for better weather! :y:
Sunburst Canyon
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
The Fantastic Four hammers out another two sweet canyons! :sl: Well after a long day doing Voodoo yesterday, all of us were looking forward to an easier day in Sunburst Canyon since we didn't have to climb that extra ridge, we'd do better at sticking together, and hopefully not make the same mistake up the exit canyon. ;) Dropping down the ridge and into Sunburst Canyon was easy enough and after the confluence of the two forks, the canyon gets damp & lush with some pools to wade thru and narrows up fairly quickly requiring us to gear up for the day. The technical section starts off with 3 drops of 15ft that saw us down climbing two of them and most of us rappelling the middle one as the canyon drops us deeper into a narrows section. The canyon also straightened up giving us a distant view of Secret Canyon way off as the canyon drops a good 300ft in the next 500-1000ft forward. :o Sweet, is this still Arizona or am I back in Zion?!? :GB: Official rappel #4 but our 2nd rappel was a double drop of 45ft from a small half-dead tree down to a pool and a ledge where we did another 50ft rappel from a fallen log into another pool. This rappel required an exposed reach to grab a hold of the anchors. :o At the bottom of that drop was another log to perform another 60ft rappel even deeper into the narrows. That was soon followed by an angled 50ft down climb just before rappel #7 of 35ft into a pool in a cool alcove. We did a short down climb around the corner and did another extra short rappel #7b from another log into another cold wader before reaching that interesting deadman anchor :roll: for rappel #8 of 25ft into a sandy alcove. The last official rappel was a 20ft drop where Steve was a meat anchor for the rest of us while from below we spotted an anchor and he preformed a tricky rappel to make that drop down. : rambo : We thought we were done with the wet stuff so we dropped our wetsuits and I even put my harness away but we ran into a few more short rappels, loads of tree fall to climb around, some waders and even a deep pool to try and jump across that saw us stripping our shirts and even one of us stripping down to his briefs to avoid getting our dry clothes wet. Meow! :lol: So I think we down climbed 2 of the official 9 rappels but picked up a good 5-6 extra rappels before reaching the confluence with Secret Canyon where we could put the gear for sure before making the long hike back out. :sweat: Deja Vu, it feels like I was just here! :roll: We were fairly quiet thru this stretch probably because none of us were looking forward to that ugly exit canyon. Once in that exit canyon, we realized the mistake we make yesterday and took the correct right drainage at that triple confluence :whistle: and the brushy hike up to the saddle actually wasn't too bad now that we were in the proper exit canyon. We dropped back down into upper Sundance and made the climb back out that ridge which was kinna ardurous for me since I was running out of steam after a long weekend of canyoneering. :sweat: But eventually we rolled into camp to put on some much needed clean clothes and refuel our tired bodies. Now I probably won't do Voodoo anytime soon, but I could see myself enjoying another run down Sunburst. :D

Permit $$
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Map Drive
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To canyon trip
Located off of Woody Mountain Rd.
page created by Vaporman on Jun 16 2010 7:19 pm
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