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Broken Arrow 4x4 Trail - Sedona, AZ

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Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona SE
4.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Lasso-Loop 3.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,354 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
14  2019-07-29 cw50must
17  2014-04-19 cw50must
15  2011-04-02 cw50must
8  2011-03-25 chumley
Author chumley
author avatar Guides 75
Routes 667
Photos 13,162
Trips 1,416 map ( 10,534 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Tempe, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Feb → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:12am - 6:30pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Red Without The Pink
by chumley

This Sedona Jeep trail has been made famous by the tours run by a local company that utilizes pink Jeeps. After years of use (many would argue overuse), mismanagement, debate, and argument, recent times have been somewhat placid for this trail. It seems that the agreement that has been made with the forest service allows only one of the many Jeep tour companies in Sedona to run this trail, limiting the use somewhat from its past highs. Now, in partnership with the FS, the jeep tour company helps maintain the road, keeps it clean, prevents overuse, off-trail driving, resource damage, etc.

While you can enjoy this ride in the back of a pink Jeep, it is also a normal forest road that the public can access provided they have a vehicle capable of it. This trail is conveniently located near downtown and offers up some spectacular scenery with relative ease.

I'm posting this brief description here on HAZ because in my previous research, I was hard-pressed to find any detailed or valuable information on what should seemingly be easy to find. (Not like this is in the middle of nowhere or anything obscure!)

In a nutshell: you need a Jeep. Or another highly-capable 4x4 with low range. The road is narrow and tight so big trucks can't do it. My attempt was in a stock 08 Tacoma (TRD Off-road). Skid plates took a healthy beating. Approach and departure angles hurt me, and I would've done better with a shorter wheelbase and a little bit more clearance. Rear bumper took a direct blow a couple of times, as did the skid under the front bumper. I didn't have the goods to conquer the "Devil's Staircase" (at least not without risking more damage than I was willing to put on the line).

The FS has installed a nice man-made step at the start of the trail. It verifies that you're Ford Taurus-rental tourists don't even attempt the trail. You can make it over the step and still end up in trouble later, but it's a good deterrent.

Step by step: The trail begins at the manmade step and proceeds easily for a few hundred yards before a small pullout and sign warning users again of proper driving use and the dangers ahead. (This is where my GPS track begins).

After the pullout, a couple of short, easy climb up and down some solid Sedona red rock before ascending a hill and being presented with a fork in the road. Go right for the 200-yard spur to the Devil's Dining Room sinkhole. Turn around and head back out to the main road.

Shortly, the road splits again, but this time there's an arrow indicating that you should go to the right. It goes around a hill and joins back up with the main road shortly thereafter.

Continue for about 1/2 a mile along a narrow section of trail that parallels a wash and features some tight turns and narrow fits between trees and brush (pinstriping on this trail isn't guaranteed, but it's a good liklihood). You'll pass another road which goes to the right. This is where you will come out on the return trip. It's about 100 yards below the Devil's Staircase, and if you're in a stock off-road 4x4 like mine, it might be worth parking in a nearby pull-out and taking a short hike up to check it out from below. It will save you a lot of backtracking against traffic later on if you decide not to go for it.

At about the 1 mile mark the road forks again, one way leading right and up hill, and another continuing straight, down through a dry wash, and the first real challenging climb of the trip. (I believe the jeep tours go right here, and cross the wash on the way back, but you can go either way). After crossing the wash and making the very short but steep climb up the other side, the road continues for a couple of hundred yards to a parking area at Submarine Rock. There is no driving allowed on Submarine Rock, but getting out for a walk or picnic here is a great idea. If you time it right, you can be alone. If you don't, there might be as many as 3 or 4 pink jeeps and all of their tourists on the rock with you, so you might keep that in mind when choosing which fork to take when.

After visiting Submarine Rock, head back to the main road, enjoying the noise of metal on rock as you descend the steep drop back into the wash.

Continue along for another half mile and pass a road on the right. Don't turn here yet as this will be the road you return on. Note that from this road forward, you are much more likely to encounter oncoming traffic as there is no alternate route in this area.

A quarter mile further and you will reach the end of the road at Chicken Point. As with Submarine Rock, you may be sharing this area with numerous people, jeeps, and even hikers as there are two or three hiking trails that converge at this spot. Enjoy the views or a picnic and head back the way you came.

Heading back downhill, you will take the left fork I mentioned above. If you couldn't make it to Submarine Rock earlier in the trip, don't bother taking this road to the left. You won't make it. This section features tougher climbs, bigger steps, and more fun ... if you're in the right truck! Keep in mind, that if you head back the way you came, you will likely encounter oncoming traffic, which will require sections of reverse since there are infrequent pullouts for passing. If you're not comfortable driving in reverse in 4wd on a tight rocky road, you shouldn't be out here anyway.

So ... assuming you take the left fork on the way back, you are immediately presented with a nice step to climb, followed by a narrow turn through some trees. Another small step and a climb up some rock results in some of the best views of the day as you top out at some rock formation that I don't know the name of. There's just enough room to drive around the formation in a complete circle if you want, before continuing up the rock to a higher point. Here the road heads downhill and to the right, but there's another very short "play" loop that goes left and features an impressive and bumpy drop that the jeep tours seem to take to entertain the younger guests (it's sort of like a roller coaster). Again, I'll mention that if your vehicle can't do this "play" loop descent, head back now because there's no point continuing.

Following the road downhill features quite a bit of straight red rock driving, a couple of small steps and shelves, and some tight turns. A little bit more than a quarter of a mile from the "play" loop you will reach the top of the Devil's Staircase. This is a series of steps that has been well traveled. It's steeper and deeper than the photo illustrates, and there is very little technical skill that will keep your vehicle from doing what it wants to do. The well-worn tracks are slick and ultimately your vehicle will settle into those tracks and you will just have to take what it gives you!

Shortly after the staircase, the road re-joins the road you came in on. Turn left to return to the trailhead, or right to head back up toward Submarine Rock.

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2011-03-28 chumley
  • wilderness related
  • 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
Broken Arrow 4x4 Trail - Sedona
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
I had a few days off work so I planned a quick overnight trip to Sedona. Doing broken arrow was my main reason for going and it was 1st on the list for when I arrived Monday morning. This is the 4th vehicle I have taken on this trail, I was excited to get the JK up there. The trail itself was in great shape as always, in fact the pink jeep people had a truck up there doing some maintenance on a washed out section. As far as crowds go, I know there are always pink jeeps out there, but it seemed to me that this was a lot more than I had noticed before. In fact I ran across a family in an FJ cruiser and saw another Jeep pulling in right as I was leaving, and that was it other than Pink Jeeps.

Video: [ youtube video ]
Broken Arrow 4x4 Trail - Sedona
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
A fun, fairly easy 4x4 trail. I've done it previously in my Cherokee and my old Tacoma, but now I had to do it in the new Tacoma. Brought a friend along too, I know he had been wanting to get out and this is one where you don't have to worry about body damage, plus its very scenic.
Broken Arrow 4x4 Trail - Sedona
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
This was my second time on this trail. We ran it back 5-6 years ago in my cherokee.

We had planned on a few hikes in the area and I knew we would be taking my truck so I wanted to hit up Broken Arrow again.

It was just as I remembered it. The trail itself is easy with just a few obstacles. Its short, and you will probably spend more time sight seeing, than rock crawling. As usual, the Pink Jeeps were in force.

My Tacoma had no issues with this trail, it did as good as my built Cherokee did. The staircase is fun, just put her in low and let her go. :) ITs always fun to hear the comments from all the out of towners on the jeep tours, as they are always surprised that other vehicles can do the trail, if they only knew...

Oh I guess I should mention, 2000 tacoma, 4x4, TRD (E-locker), Sway-a-way coil overs in the front, deaver/bilstien combo in the rear, and 31" (stock size) BFG Allterrains.
Broken Arrow 4x4 Trail - Sedona
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Mom and her sister from Norway will be visiting me next month, and I figured a trip to Sedona is in order. But why spend a couple of hundred bucks on a jeep tour if I can drive it myself? Of course, being a planner-type, I thought it would make more sense to scope out what I could do before bringing a couple of 65-year old ladies on a crazy 4x4 trip and getting stuck or something worse!

So, I decided to check out this trail, despite reading that it would be pushing the limits of the capability of my stock trd taco. Sure enough, I ended up turning back and not pushing my luck on the Devil's Staircase. One of the nice pink jeep drivers said it was possible to get my taco down without too much damage "if I hit it exactly right". Hmmm. Not worth it to me! And now I know what to avoid when I bring mom out there so I don't have to backtrack against all the pink jeep traffic!

Pushes the limits of the taco, not on power or traction, just clearance and approach/departure angles. Definitely a fun road for jeeps and other small trucks with some extra clearance. Short trip, easy to get to. Possibly too crowded, depending on day and time of year.

Some of the tour drivers are nice, others are jerks who seem to think you being there is an impediment to them doing their job. Jeeps will stop and let tourists watch you hit some of the tough/fun spots, which is cool.

Obviously, stunning scenery as typified by my photos and others you can find on HAZ associated with hiking trails nearby.

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.

Map Drive
Strictly 4x4

To Morgan Trailhead
To get to the trailhead from the Village of Oak Creek, head north on AZ-179 about six miles or less to the Morgan Road roundabout. Take Morgan Road to the right (east) for about one-half mile to the dirt road. Take the dirt road in and to the right. The first parking spots are about 450 feet in from the paved road with more parking further in.

Note: to park here you will need a Red Rock Pass, but if you are just driving the road, you don't need a pass. If you plan to take a break or have lunch and will park for more than 15 minutes anywhere along the route, the RRP is required.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 120 mi, 2 hours 9 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 225 mi, 3 hours 49 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 30.4 mi, 43 mins
page created by chumley on Mar 28 2011 8:34 pm
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