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Loy Canyon Trail #5, AZ

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Guide 68 Triplogs  5 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
3.6 of 5 by 25
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 5.25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,736 feet
Elevation Gain 1,856 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,930 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.68
Backpack Yes & Possibly Connect
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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31  2019-04-06
Loy's Hidden Secrets
26  2019-04-03
Loy Butte
16  2019-02-16 DarthStiller
10  2019-02-16 wallyfrack
10  2019-01-29
Loy Butte
15  2018-11-04
Loy Canyon - Secret Mountain
9  2018-11-04
Loy Canyon - Secret Mountain
31  2018-10-25
Loy Canyon to Secret Cabin
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author Mike
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 249
Trips 12 map ( 4 miles )
Age 61 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Oct, Nov → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:12am - 6:32pm
Official Route
9 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Indian Ruins & Secret Mountain
by Mike

Note: steep, rocky sections in the last mile & half

The Loy Canyon Trail (#5) begins at the entrance to the Hancock Ranch, on FS-525. The trail heads uphill along the fence line of the ranch, making a left turn after a short distance where it drops back downhill along the eastern side of the ranch. (You will be passing through private property along this section, please respect the ranch owners wishes and remain on the trail.) Soon, you will be treated to a quaint view of the ranch, backed by Loy Butte.

Just beyond the ranch, on the west (left) side of the trail, a large natural amphitheatre can be seen in the face of Loy Butte. According to several guidebooks, there should be a number of small cliff dwellings in this area. I did not search for them on this trip, but when the weather is cooler, I will likely return to do so. The trail through this lower section of the canyon is very scenic with views of Loy Butte and the western face of Secret Mountain. The trail here passes through thick, soft sand and is very open. Gradually the trail begins to climb higher and the canyon closes in more.

After about 3 1/2 miles you'll be in a more forested area and the trail will take a noticeable turn to the northeast, becoming steeper. Great views down the canyon can be found all along this section. About 1/2 mile later, the trail makes a sudden steep climb and switchbacks to the west. The trail emerges from pines into a manzanita forest, becoming more open. After a series of about four long, very steep and rocky switchbacks, the trail levels off below the edge of the Mogollon Rim and heads east toward a saddle between Secret Mountain and the Rim. There is one more climbing section, another short level section and then suddenly, you're back in the trees and on the saddle. This saddle is quite narrow at the top, with the eastern side sloping off into Secret Canyon and the right side sloping into the head of Loy Canyon. The trail connects here to the Secret Mountain Trail(#109), which can be followed south out onto Secret Mountain to Secret Cabin, and several scenic overlooks. To the north, the trail ascends a short distance to the top of the Mogollon Rim at FS-538.

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2001-04-30 Mike
  • wilderness related
  • Sedona Trails 2018
    region related
    Sedona Trails 2018

Coconino FS Details
This easy to hike trail leads up a desert wilderness canyon offering excellent views not only at trail's end, but all along the way as well. The wide, well constructed path was used by the Samuel Loy family on the 1880's to move their livestock to and from summer pastures on the rim. The trail starts out by skirting the fence line of the Hancock Ranch. Sheer cliffs of vermilion and buff sandstone form a colorful backdrop for the desert garden of manzanita, catclaw, cholla and prickly pear that carpets the canyon floor. Natural rock sculptures carved by flash floods and spring runoff that seasonally course down this normally dry streambed provide scenic settings for lunch stops along the way. If there's been a recent rain the sculpture may include a picturesque reflecting pool or a natural bathtub for a cool dip on a hot day. Underground moisture is sufficient year-round to support a desert riparian area rich in bird and other animal life.

Near the end of the canyon, the trail completes the majority of the 1680 foot climb to a high saddle that leads to the top of a mesa called Secret Mountain. Here you can continue along the Secret Mountain Trail for more spectacular overlooks or catch your breath for the return trip and a different perspective on all that you've passed through on the hike up.

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.

Most recent of 27 deeper Triplog Reviews
Loy Canyon Trail #5
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Secret Mountain 6607
Dial back to 2009. I had a deep desire to walk on Secret Mountain. Father Dave, Denny, Snowlar System Kokopelli and I failed to access via [ Boynton's Backyard ] . 2 months later, Christmas came 7 days early. Without prayer or chip kokopelli we made it happen in kryptonite snow. You can drive up the mountain. That drive is 7 hrs RT from the skillet. 3 hrs more hiking / less driving is more appealing for myself.

Loy Canyon Trail #5
Several miles of nice forest hunkered in a red rock canyon is mighty enjoyable in nice weather. Semi sandy tread for a mile, lack of a running creek and bumpy road access keeps the wild idiots or whatever the current term is out.

A meaty ascent then dynamite views seal the deal.

Secret Mountain Trail #109
First time on the trail past the cabin. Pines were better than anticipated. My second fav to North Rim GC with canyon views. Here you get red rock canyon views plus the San Francisco Peaks. The trail is great then swallowed by manzanita 0.3 miles before 6607... wild buffer. The most forgiving manzanita I recall but let's keep that on the down low.

Content with turning around the eagle forged on. Grateful. A view I never expected opened up.

This is a 3.2 out of 5 for 4 out of 5. A solid 5 for this mixed up kokopelli that enjoys Piestewa Peak.

2009 memories with a great kokopelli
- petrified wood 3:45
- music & views 6:30
Loy Canyon Trail #5
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Loy Canyon - Secret Mountain - 6607
I've always liked the Loy Canyon trail and the top of Secret Mountain contains some beautiful stands of pines. I'd only been on the Secret Mountain Trail #109 as far as the not so secret, "Secret Cabin". When Joe suggested hitting the trail to the end and beyond to 6607, I was in.

After a few problems with my intrepid Navigator, we finally reached the TH for a later that expected 8am start.

Loy Canyon Trail #5 climbs relatively gently for the first 4 miles, gaining about 1000'. The final mile to the saddle gains an additional 750', most of it in one steep section. The first 4 miles is pretty, shaded with pines and mixed deciduous trees and spotty canyon views. The first two miles has a few pesky areas of sand.

When you get to the Saddle where you intersect Secret Mountain Trail #109, you still have another 200' of climbing to do before dropping into the cabin area, 1.2 miles from the saddle.

From the cabin it's about 5.5 miles, rollercoastering 5 climbs of 75' to 200' to get to the end. At the top of the climb out of the cabin, where the trail takes a hard left, take a few minutes to go straight and check out the first of many great views for the day. We had some pretty strong winds on the day, gusting to more than 40mph, that forced you to not get to close to the edge.

[ youtube video ]

You go through areas of nice established pine forest, thick new growth pine, mixed hardwoods and some areas of manzanita. There are quite a few areas that you can walk slightly off the trail to get some good views. This trail is in much better than expected shape, until it abruptly ends prior to reaching peak 6607'.

We busted through the Manzanita to reach the non climactic peak 6607', before retreating to some rim views of the east fork of Long Canyon for lunch.

Temps were perfect with the high winds all day and almost cold a few times. I found myself saying "I need to get out of the shade and into the sun".

Won't be saying that much longer.

Loy Canyon Trail #5
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Met up with the crew for a nice hike in west Sedona. We left the Happy Valley Park n Ride a few minutes after 7am and headed north. We drove through Cottonwood and followed FR525 (Very good condition) to the Loy Canyon Trailhead and were hiking by 9am.

We started our hike and met Lee & Jackie near the ruins roughly a mile in. Once together our group of five plus four dogs continued the hike in. The Loy Canyon Trail is in excellent condition as it makes a steady climb for the first few miles. It’s easy going and very scenic. The trail becomes much steeper around the 4 mile mark as it makes a big switchback up. We took a snack break roughly a half mile from the saddle. The final stretch to the saddle gains a couple hundred feet as it traverses to the east.

Once we reached the saddle, we decided to head north for Hidden Cabin. The going is fairly easy as you gain a few hundred feet on the Secret Mountain Trail. After a few minutes we reached the road and continued on to Hidden Cabin. We took a short break there and took a few pics. This looks like a great area to car camp. From there we headed back south towards the saddle.

From the saddle, we continued south for Secret Cabin. This section of trail is in great condition as well as you hike through a shaded forest. The trail has a slight drop in elevation as you pass three tanks with lots of water in them. The drainage also has plenty of water so now is a great time to backpack to this area. We took our lunch break at Secret Cabin which is deteriorating quickly. The entire roof is gone and the walls are roughly four feet high. The cabin sits in a small scenic valley and has a corral and a fire ring. This is a great spot to backpack to.

After lunch we started our return. The hike back to the saddle went by quickly and we cruised back down the Loy Canyon Trail. There were some clouds and a few drops of rain but nothing significant. We neared the ruins and FOTG & Chumley headed up to take a look. Kyle and I headed back to the truck at the TH. We were back in Phoenix around 5:30pm.

This was a fun hike with great views. All of us really enjoyed it and would return another time. It was great hiking with Lee, Jackie and the pups again. And thanks Chumley for driving!
Loy Canyon Trail #5
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Loy Hidden Secret
Despite getting a late start due to the valleywide Verizon outage that prevented communication between us, we somehow all ended up in the same place within an hour or so of each other. :)

Great day. Perfect temps. A little breezy. Almost chilly up on top during breaks. I think we saw 7 other people on the day. Not bad for a spectacular Sedona hike.

Loy Canyon really is scenic, but you have to get off the trail to have a real view. Lee and I hit up the ruins on the way back and even I was excited. I might have wet my pants! :lol:

Good day on a new trail for me. It's a nice time of year to be in Red Rock Country.
Loy Canyon Trail #5
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Casner - Cabins - Loy - Robbers Loop
Needed to get to cooler ground...

I had some unfinished business in this area and reused a couple of past hikes to create a loop.

There were two (Turned out to be 3) cabins up in the pines that I had not seen yet, Plus I'd never been to the Sedona version of the Robbers Roost.

In pre-production, I stumbled on a Ruin while trying to minimize the road walk, so that added one more "Destination".

We started a tad south of the Robbers Roost and saved that for the end of the day.

We bushwhacked over to the Ruins and Class 4'd it to the top. A small but interesting perch.

Next it was up the Multi-use Casner Mountain Trail #8. If you start from FR 525C, it's a 2.8 mile steady climb, 2100' to the top. It's an old road, but you do get some tremendous views of the Red Rock-Secret Mountain and Sycamore Canyon Wilderness areas. There have been some rock slides, but most ORV's can still make it.

The first cabin up was Buck Ridge Cabin. This one actually turned out to be two Cabins. The first, a log cabin built long ago, sadly had taken a direct hit from a fallen tree. The roof had caved in. The 2nd cabin was more recent maybe from the 60's or 70's. It had a well that came into the cabin, with a pump, into the sink. It even had a poured concrete floor.

Just outside was one of the nicest tanks I'd see. All nestled in the pines, it almost looked like a swimin' hole.

We bushwhacked over to the area of the next cabin. We stumbled on some old roads that could have made it a bit easier, but I'd never seen them on the Sat. views.

I expected Hidden Cabin to Hidden. But there it was in view from the FR. The WARNING HANTAVIRUS sign on the front of the building was apropos. The rodents had overrun that cabin.

Secret Mountain Trail #109 to Loy Canyon Trail #5, was our way off the mountain. Always spectacular views here. The upper mile of Loy is sun exposed, but after that you are in the pines and a gentler grade for the remaining 5.5 miles.

The next part I was a bit worried about. I could see some houses on the Sat. view. We approached a few closed gates across the FR, and could see larger signs on them. No motorized traffic, respect others property, etc. so we continued through without incident.

For the next off trail section, I tried to pick stuff on the Sat. view that looked "Less Thick". There were only a couple of catclaw sections that wanted to decorate my legs. Somehow I managed not to kick any of the low growing, grass hidden prickly pear.

Finally with darkness coming, we were on an old mining road and with a stop at the Robbers Roost left. Just as we approached the Roost, 3 college aged young ladies emerged saying how they's just finished a Photo Shoot, complete with costume change?? hmmmm.

Robbers Roost smelled like purfume.... much different that the Robbers Roost in the Superstitions.
Loy Canyon Trail #5
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Casner - Cabins - Loy - Robbers Loop
Casner Mountain Trail #8
We enjoyed this one five years ago and it held it's value. It is a high rolling road perched over red rock views. If you remotely like Ord via Slate this easier version with world class views will smack you silly.

Buck Ridge Cabin
After a nice walk through pines this was a great find. Most notable is the nearby tank, lake sized compared to most tanks surrounded by a nice forest.

We walked through a lot of pines with wind wisping above. The hike was a therapeutic recharge. In the summer you get hints of coolness. Today we got hints of scorching radiation. Sure was nice to turn the tables on that badboy.

Hidden Cabin
The "Hidden Cabin" sign in front of it gives away the secret. Another nice setting. Minus a few brownie points for lack of fishing pond.

Secret Mountain Trail #109
Only a short walk on this storybook trail over to Loy #5. The trailhead is remote and in pristine condition.

Loy Canyon Trail #5
We are currently hitting recorded temps for a good week. It was pretty toasty where this one opens up heading down. Ignore the tears as the views are just outstanding. Down into the canyon you get shade relief back to square one.

Off Trail Joy Joy
In order to make this loop work we came nauseously close to a few houses. It all appeared to be on the up and up, not one stay out sign. Just be respectful, no weapons or motor vehicles. Step two was getting across some thick brush. It wasn't terrible since the worst part was a couple hundred yards. A mile plus dodging prickly pair was the balance. The day was cooling off with the sun dropping behind a ridge so it was semi enjoyable.

Robbers Roost - Sedona
We approached this backwards. Latching to the top of an old 4wd road for a mine. We headed down and worked in the roost just as the sun melted away. No cars at the makeshift trailhead. Then three college girls leaving, surprised us rounding the corner to the roost =)

Bruce threw together a shocking winner in ten minutes. With miles of pines up top I could see hitting this in the summer with an early start. Roaming up top more until the heat subsides then drop back into the oven. It would undoubtedly be a water lugging event.

very isolated, two sprigs of paintbrush were the highlight
Loy Canyon Trail #5
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Visiting our friends Rich & Sue with Korina joining us. We hiked together the same time last year in Sedona. I'd done Loy Canyon in 2007 in December, and had to turn around at about the 3 mile mark because we lost the trail in the snow. Now 10 years later wife and I turned around about the same location because that's as far as my body could take me. Also had the 2 dogs with us and I have to watch the 9 year old.... fine today as temps were in the low 50's and he had lots of water. Found the ruins on the left side of the canyon about the one mile point. Rich/Sue/Korina continued on after we turned about and made it the rim. Only saw two hikers in 3.5 hours.
Loy Canyon Trail #5
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We hiked Loy Canyon to the Secret Cabin site on the Secret Mountain Trail. For the Sedona area, at least during this time of year, this is a good hike if you want to avoid the crowds. We saw 2 deer but they were far enough ahead that we couldn't get a picture. On the return we were able to locate the ruins. Great hike!
Loy Canyon Trail #5
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I don't have much to say about this one. The first four miles in the canyon rate at best a 3, but the hike up the side of the canyon to the junction with the Secret Mountain Trail is a 4 with the views and the cardio and raises this hike to a 4 overall (barely). Moderate Wildflowers today. So I give it a 3.6 which rounds to a 4
Loy Canyon Trail #5
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Loy Canyon to Secret Cabin
Invited Joe to join me and my son up in Sedona.

I liked this hike, more than Joe. The trail was in good shape and it was a nice climb up the Canyon. Beautiful views!

Up on Secret Mountain, just before the cabin, there were a couple of man made Dams holding quite a bit of water.

We at lunch at the cabin, while Joe was trying to determine how he was going to arrange the furniture in the cabin.

We met Elizabeth (AzBackpackr) and a friend on our way down. Nice meeting you Liz!

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 Phoenix
Exit I-17 at the Cornville exit and head west through Cornville to Hwy 89-A. Turn right and drive northeast toward Sedona a few miles to FS-525 and turn left on this well graded dirt road. After about 5 miles, you'll come to a signed fork, which can be confusing, it appears to indicate Loy Butte is to the right, but it's to the left. Another 5 or 6 miles later, you will come to the entrance to the Hancock Ranch, where there is a cattleguard. Just before the entrance, there is a large parking lot on the left and the trailhead is on the right.

From Sedona
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 left on Boynton CANYON Road and drive approximately 4 miles to a signed intersection with Red Canyon Road (FS-525). Turn right and continue about another 4 miles to the trailhead described above just before the entrance to the Hancock Ranch.

Location: About 45 miles south of Flagstaff (14 miles west of Sedona) on paved and graveled roads. The elevationis 4720 feet.

Access: Drive 35 miles south from Flagstaff through Sedona on US 89A. 5 miles past Sedona turn north on FR 525 and follow the signs toward Loy Butte 9.3 miles to the trailhead. Watch for signs on your right and a parking area on your left just before crossing a cattleguard into the Hancock Ranch.
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