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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.

Boynton's Backyard, AZ

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Guide 23 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
3.7 of 5 by 11
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 9.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,500 feet
Elevation Gain 1,705 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,854 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 18.87
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Yes
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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11  2017-01-01
Boynton trio
5  2016-09-04 lwbenso
13  2013-09-15 VolcanoCLMBR
17  2012-10-27
Boynton Hart Well Loop
30  2012-10-27
Boynton Hart Well Loop
13  2011-12-07 MtnBart01
4  2011-12-04 joebartels
6  2011-12-04 BobP
Page 1,  2,  3
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   Sep, Oct, Mar, Apr → 7 AM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Solitude in Coconino Valley
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
This hike explores the real Boynton Canyon. The popular maintained trail actually takes you to a tributary box below Bear Mountain.

The hike starts from the Boynton Trailhead and follows Boynton Trail in 2.15 miles. Here you will see the trail departing left from a well defined (light colored gravel) usually dry creek bed. Jump off trail and follow the creek up.

It's 1.65 miles up to the turn around point. I found it remarkably easy hiking up the creek. Along the way are several beautiful views of the canyon walls and some sizable spires. A few times on the way up cairns lead you out of the creek to avoid obstacles. A bathroom size boulder blocking the creek is encountered first. The later two or three scrambles out of the creek didn't appear as necessary. On the other hand the trail through the woods is so well defined it's a nice change of pace.

There's plenty of bear scat throughout the canyon. However I didn't find it as evident as going off trail in the Dry Creek labyrinth of canyons. At one point a few rocks fell from a wall where an animal was scurrying above. Later I was practically run down by a few bucks bolting through the canyon. I heard them from a distance and went to grab my camera. Next thing I know they took an unexpected turn towards me. I went from oh cool grab my camera mode to quickly find a blocking tree mode.

Good shade is provided by the canyon walls and trees in the beginning. Approximately two-thirds in from the turnoff the shade gives way to an impressive open view of a high canyon wall on your left. Tree cover soon returns and the final leg is on a well defined trail to creek left. The incline steepens a tad but nothing to be concerned about.

The payoff for this hike is impressive views back down the canyon. The vantage points aren't plentiful but you will know the sweet spot when you come to it. The bonus for this hike is to continue on into what could only be described as Coconino Valley. The walls are 800 feet high on both sides. The sheer wall on your left is Lost Mountain, to your right is Secret Mountain. Oh, by the way, you are standing in heaven.

According to the 2018 FS map camping is allowed after 2.5 miles in which should be outside the green line. For clarification, at least a quarter mile after leaving the trail.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2007-03-07 joebartels
  • 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 of 13 deeper Triplog Reviews
Boynton's Backyard
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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's Backyard
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Boynton Hart Well Loop
My first trip up to Boynton, his backyard and Hart Well Canyon.
The Red Rock machine was busted when I pulled in, so I took my chances and it worked out.

A chilly 36 degrees at the start, hard to believe we were begging for the sun in the canyon to warm us. Saw Ruins #1 high on the cliff but did not make the Climb. Joe led me off to Ruins #2, that he remembered as steep, loose, and just plain dangerous to get to. Not so much.

I had to talk Joe into making the climb past the turnoff to the backyard and continue to the end of the Boynton Canyon trail. I think it was well worth it. Great Autumn colors and played on the red rock shelves at the top for awhile.

On the way back down, we met a couple of guys as we were making the turn to the backyard. The guy asked us if we were at an intersection in the trail, Joe, without missing a beat said "Nope, we're just looking for Beavers." The guy said OK, and just continued up the Boynton Trail.

The Backyard trail get's a little sketchy to follow in places, mainly when it comes out of the drainage. More good colors and interesting rock formations just before you start the steep climb to the saddle.

Joe saw a man in a brown suit.

We ate lunch at the Saddle. Noon is definitely the popular time for chopper tours.
We had 3 come over, plus the Red Baron.

We hit some more ruins on the way down Hart Well.

I didn't care much for the road walk to get back to my truck.

Good to get some barbs in with the Teva again today.

Perfect Weather!
Boynton's Backyard
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This hike had the potential to be good but unfortunately none of us were prepared for all the snow. At least up to our waists in some sections! We made it up to some saddle (I forget the name) where we would have continued on to Secret Canyon but decided to call it quits. Joe was cold and then hot and then cold. Bob broke his elbow. And my feet were completely soaked and getting quite cold. Sneakers were definitely a bad idea! The good part was seeing some neat looking ruins from a distance that I would like to check out some time if anyone is interested...

Thanks for driving Bob!
Boynton's Backyard
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Happy Sunday!

21 degrees at the trailhead. Anyone that has hiked with me in cold weather knows I'm not a fan. Yet I wanted to give this a try figuring snow on the red rocks was worth it.

Amazingly it only took about ten minutes to warm up once we got going. The fingers started to get feeling and this wasn't seeming too bad. Then the oddest thing... I was friggen burning up. With my feet warm, more on that later, my body was turning into a nuclear power generator. So I took the lining out of my jacket. Then the ear muff head band came off. This thing is the bomb yet so simple. Mr Jamy gave it to me a couple years ago and I love it.

So we were heading up and I'm still on fire with my jacket unzipped and heck I'm beginning to wonder what is going on. Well I had my rain pants on so that was obviously retaining heat. However this was unreal. Mr Jamy threw snow in my face and man that felt good. So I did the same a few times and shook some of the overhead trees a few times too. This was the ticket I tell ya.

All was well until the steep part begins just after the tafoni alcove. Dr Jamboney put me in the lead and boy that destroyed me. Breaking up and through the snow was refreshing. Not much snow maybe 4 inches yet all over the brush and trees to get through. By the time we reached the saddle I was soaked head to toe. Even my rain pants were soaked. Luckily I had the liner to my jacket so I shed down and put that on for lunch.

The plan was to hike a lot more up and down and all around from this point. Luckily Dr J had had enough too! I seriously tried to give it a go and all but I was exhausted.

After a quick standing lunch I was freezing. Yet I was so excited we were heading back it wasn't registering in full. The descent went quicker and Dr J fell ahead of me. I didn't see it but it sounded like a body flip slam down a sliding rock. Hopefully his elbow is okay... eek!

Okay so one of the many reasons I dislike cold weather hikes are the numb feet. I thought I had this bad boy covered. I wore SealSkinz over wool socks. This works like a charm to a certain point for myself. While I brought a spare pair of socks the thought of changing them at the saddle just didn't seem like a good idea. Oh that was a poor choice as I was sloshing in the sweat pooled entrapment heading down.

I just kept telling myself this is a short hike, this is a short hike, over and over and luckily it did end. My entire body was hurting.

The views were phenomenal and the company was top notch! Dr J seems to live for this stuff and Dave likes to build camp fires so what more is there to say. I'm glad I went and I'm glad it's over. The only reason I typed this much is so I remember to never do it

Happy Sunday!
Boynton's Backyard
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We did a loop from Boynton's Backyard, through Hart Well Canyon then took the roads back. I stopped at the Bear-Doe Trailhead and napped until Bob returned with the car :)

It was a wee bit cold with a 27 degree start. Bob did a great job picking all the right use trails so the hump up went fast. Nice pictographs in two locations. Fraley sent over some clouds. Saw scattered wallflowers, lupines and such. Lots of new foliage. In about a month it will likely be overgrown. Some of the trees and carrot looking weeds showed signs of freeze damage. I'd imagine any apple trees in the Sedona area won't be producing this year due to the cold spell.

Ninth hike after the leg issue. It's going better on the down steps, still tiring.

Only used 1 quart of water on this hike. Guess I don't drink much when it's cold :o
Boynton's Backyard
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Ever since Joe & company started playing up this canyon, I've been itching to make it up there and check out the saddle and the route up to Secret Mt. I've done Secret Mt a couple times before but from the long way up Loy Canyon but the farthest east I got was to about above this Boynton saddle, so I never had enough daylight to hit one of the eastern viewpoints of Secret Mt but I figured this be the perfect opportunity to wander around up top a bit and find one. The hike up to the saddle wasn't to bad up the canyon especially when I found the use trail up to the saddle and the views back down canyon are quite sweet. From the saddle there's only one sane way up a steep chute to the next level and from there it's east a tad to another loose scramble up an open little drainage. From the viewpoint up top there while have a few helos go buzzing by as I grabbed a snack, I lucked out and found an elk trail that lead east of there for a half mile or so. Instead of following cairns, I was following hoof tracks and pills of elk poop. :lol: Unfortunately that game trail ended about the next overlook and since I wanted to hit another eastern overlook, I had to wander across the mesa to the northeast. I'm so glad I wear shin guards since the bushwhacking thru Manzanita, downed trees, and pine sapling was pretty thick at times! :sweat: After about 1.5 miles of slow bushwhacking from the saddle, I popped out near a sweet overlook at the head of Long Canyon at about my turnaround time. If I had more time and desire, it might have been sweet to run out on the 'peak' 6607 arm or to an overlook of Secret Canyon near 6547 but I'll just have to save that for another time. I made pretty short work of the hike back and found the route down without too much trouble. Now climbing up the steep chute wasn't too bad, but climbing back down it was kinna hairy since I'm sending down half of my potential hand/footholds as they go flying hundreds of feet down the mountain while I'm searching for the solid ones! :o I was cleaning out so many rocks at one point that I was creating a dust cloud at the bottom of the chute... I eventually made it down to solid ground at the saddle and slowly made my way back down to the canyon while getting buzzed by a few more helicopters. The rock hop back down canyon isn't too scenic because the trees are so thick that you can barely see the towering canyon walls around you and before you know it you're back on the main trail with all the tourists. I just love all the 'Menace to Society' glances I get from the Moms on the trail since I'm a thirty something male hiking by myself... :lol:
Boynton's Backyard
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This was a spur of the moment setup. I have to cancell the Humphreys weekend, so I thought I'd see if Josh wanted to do a little snowshoeing in Sedona. We left my house at 7am and started hiking about 845. I always wanted to checkout Deadmans Pass so off we went ;) . Joe tried to take us that way on one hike and this time it was me. After about a half mile, we decided there wasn't enough snow in Deadmans Pass, so we headed for Secret Mountain. We saw an older couple stopped on trail right at an icy spot and they asked if they should turn around. The women did and the man wanted to talk. Along came a young couple who told him about the falling and wishing they had more padding. Josh and I decided it was time to start using the hiking poles...micro spikes would have worked great. This was my 4th trip into Boynton and this time I remembered exactly where the turn off to the backyard was.

The hike to the saddle was a little tougher this time with backpack and snowshoes. We had lunch at the saddle and then headed up the climb. I looked for Joe's pole on the way up but couldn't find it.

Fast forward to Secret Mountain...not enough snow here..lets head to Secret Cabin. There were patches here and there but we didn't bother. Once at Secret Cabin we could see a nice ridge full of snow and shoed for about a half mile with some nice uphill and a little downhill. We met back up with the trail and explored a little more. The downclimb with a heavy pack was a lot easier than I would have anticipated and before we knew it we were at the saddle.

After a little while, Josh decided the trail was getting boring..isn't it more fun to go thru manzanita,and trees. We did get to see some cool red rocks. Josh shared some of the Indian culture he knows and gave me a lesson or two in Geology. All in all a fun trip...

Popcorn anyone
Edit: Does this make me eligible for member of the month? :y:
Boynton's Backyard
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We took Joe's girlscout route. The views were great, but I only got 2 peeks at the San Fransisco peaks. Joe went trick or treating before the hike although he wasn't aware of it. I made sure to let him know after we were a mile or so away from the TH. At lunch, Joe wouldn't engage me with formulas or nursery rhymes. So, I decided to make a snowball agave. The snow was perfect snowball consistency.
Boynton's Backyard
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Made it to the saddle handily in 1.5hrs. Ascended Secret Mountain via my (ahem) "suggested" route on the last outing. It proved to be the route of choice and went by quick. Atop the Mighty Beast of the Wilderness the views opened up and joy filled the soul. Which lasted about five minutes give or take five. The trail on top of Secret Mountain is supposed to be right near the edge. After a frustrating half hour of search and forget it I decided to just follow the GPS as closely as possible. The real joy began plowing through manzanita, dense pine saplings and did I mention the snow. After what seemed a good while we decided to break since we were both starving. Looking at our position with only a quarter of the distance conquered I told Bob we needed to turn around... he kinda smiled. Glad to finally know the route and have summited. Still want to see those views at the far inaccessible end few ever see. Shin guards, gloves and goggles would have helped. Believe I'll wait for the snow free season ;)

Please enjoy scenes from Bob's self declared defining hike :)
(YouTube ripped the audio, this is a new commentary version)

NOTE: I lost one of my Leki trekking poles coming down. Hopefully a HAZ member will find it. It's definitely above the saddle and likely within close proximity ascending up. I lost another four years ago in Whetrock Canyon too. :sweat:
Boynton's Backyard
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This trip just about had it all...cold, hot, trail, wanna-be trail, never-should-be trail, people dressed in nice fancy clothes on the trail who just barely left the trailhead asking "how far is it to go?". Ran into a nice-sized skunk too, going too fast for a decent shot. Beautiful fall colors in one area. Read Joe's post for more info.

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
Paved - 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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