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H.S. Canyon Trail #50, AZ

Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance One Way 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,722 feet
Elevation Gain 450 feet
Accumulated Gain 500 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.17
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
8  2022-05-07 roaminghiker
10  2013-04-27
Secret & HS Canyon Combo Loop
5  2013-04-27
Secret & HS Canyon Combo
14  2010-02-13 Jim_H
5  2008-12-13
Bear Sign / Secret Loop
author avatar Guides 63
Routes 67
Photos 8,818
Trips 1,981 map ( 11,986 miles )
Age 42 Male Gender
Location Marana, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:34am - 7:33pm
3 Alternative

Seldom Used Spur
by Jim_H

The H.S. Canyon Trail is a rarely hiked spur trail that branches off from the Secret Canyon Trail #121. If you are doing several short trails in the area, or you don't have time to do Secret Canyon but want to see some of the area, this may be a good option for you. If you can get to the Secret Canyon Trail, you can reach H.S. Canyon with ease. The only obstacle may be high water on the normally dry, Dry Creek. The day I did H.S., the creek was running with snowmelt, but it wasn't hard to get across.

H.S. Canyon Trail is reached by taking the Secret Canyon Trail about 2/3 to 3/4 of a mile from the parking area. The first creek crossing is at the start of the Secret Canyon Trail, and the H.S. Canyon Trail junction is just after the second creek crossing. At the junction of the two trails, there is a small metal sign that marks the entrance to H.S., and it may be easy to miss if not paying attention.

Once on the H.S. Canyon Trail, you might notice that the trail narrows and starts to become overgrown. This trail sees very few hikers, and when I did it on the 13th of February, 2010, the trail had leaves on it which appeared to have never been crushed by foot traffic. Numerous shrub branches were hanging over the trail, and the further I went in, the harder it got to proceed. There were a few spots where I needed to look for cairns as the trail was hard to distinguish from the wash it paralleled and crossed, and the vegetation made it confusing. According to the Forest Service, the trail ends up as a series of switchbacks that take you to a view of a box canyon. I ended up stopping sometime before that to relax at a view of some canyon walls, or at least I think I did. My friend who continued on a little further up trail told me that there appeared to be nothing like that, and in fact, the trail eventually just dwindled to a bushwhack. I had to ascend a couple of switchbacks to reach the spot I relaxed at, and I did have a view of a canyon, but I don't know if I was actually at the official end of the trail or not. I suspect that unless there is maintenance done to the H.S. Canyon Trail, few people will ever know. I had to get through a short stretch of trail that was a bushwhack, so it may be that the trail opened up shortly after my friend turned back. Maybe YOU! can penetrate this mystery!

I don't want to paint a picture that this is a horrible trail. I enjoyed my hike for the most part, and I can see this being a nice, quiet place to view and listen to neo-tropical migrants in spring. While relaxing at my turnaround point I had the pleasure of viewing and listening to a Western Scrub-Jay calling in its territory. It is very pretty back there, and if you find crowds irritating, it can be an isolated canyon to visit. It is worth a trip once, and autumn is probably a nice time of year as maples are numerous the further you go. As with all Sedona canyons, the late-day sun on the canyon walls is always a nice thing to see.

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2010-02-14 Jim_H
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Coconino FS Details
This is an infrequently used trail. It is sufficiently shaded to allow hiking in summer.

Start on Secret Canyon Trail. Its signed trailhead is across the usually dry streambed of Dry Creek, west of the parking area. It immediately enters Wilderness. Follow this wide, nearly flat trail for 2/3 mile and look for the sign for HS Canyon Trail on the left. The trail climbs gradually in the shade of oak and alligator juniper.

At about 1.5 miles from the parking area, views of red rock formations open up. The trail narrows further as it climbs moderately beside the small canyon drainage. At 2.25 miles, the trail approaches the sheer face of Maroon Mountain and switchbacks up to a small clearing for nice views of the mountain and the end of the box canyon. Return by the same route for a 5 mile rountrip hike.

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.

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 / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
From the junction of Routes 89A and 179, take 89A west 3.2 miles to Dry Creek Road on the right. Go 1.9 miles to FS 152 on the right. Take this unpaved road 3.4 miles to trailhead parking on the left. Forest Road 152 is normally passable for any car but should be avoided in wet weather. Though some cars would make the 3.4 miles in on FS 152, I would not be able to get my Honda Civic there and I recommend a connection with another access trail or a hike up the road.
page created by Jim_H on Feb 14 2010 10:57 am
90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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