Getting to Sycamore Canyon Wilderness -- Road Conditions?

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hanmart
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 08 2016 8:52 am
City, State: Phoenix

Getting to Sycamore Canyon Wilderness -- Road Conditions?

Post by hanmart » Sep 27 2016 10:20 am

Hello all! I'm looking for some advice. I'm planning a two-night backpacking trip in early October to the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness. I don't really have a preference on the trail section, as long as there is water but the issue is that the earliest I can leave from Phoenix is 4pm Fri (returning Sun) which would place me at any trailhead at or past sunset. I read that all the roads getting to the Wilderness are 4x4 recommended. Does anyone have any feedback on the road conditions and whether one road is better than another? I certainly don't want to be driving out on difficult roads after dark, :scared: and starting a hike that late isn't ideal either... but my group will have headlamps! We are hoping to hike only a few miles in to get a campsite rather than sleeping at the trailhead.

My backup plan is to backpack the Secret Canyon Wilderness, which I have done in the past, but I would really prefer to explore a new area in Sedona. I also would park at the paved trailhead if I were to do Secret Canyon — that stairstep part of the 4x4 road makes me too queasy, even though I have 4WD. Are the Sycamore Canyon roads that tough?

Anyway, thank you in advance for any feedback!! :)

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cw50must
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City, State: Mesa, AZ

Re: Getting to Sycamore Canyon Wilderness -- Road Conditions?

Post by cw50must » Sep 27 2016 12:22 pm

@hanmart
Were are you planning on going in from The Parson's trailhead? I believe that is FR131, it starts out smooth. It gets a little rougher towards the trailhead with a couple hills. I was out there in July and did not need 4x4. I noticed a couple cars in the parking lot and on our way out someone was headed in driving a prius. I would say 90% of the vehicles at the trailhead were trucks/suv, the extra clearance would be nice but it could be done in a car if you don't mind a bumpy ride for the last few miles.

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joebartels
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Re: Getting to Sycamore Canyon Wilderness -- Road Conditions?

Post by joebartels » Sep 27 2016 12:33 pm

reference Sycamore Wilderness Boundary and Trails

Parsons is smooth hard packed. No easy loop options. No camping for 3.7 miles, until after end of water. High clearance preferred, no 4wd, cars do it often.

Dogie is a little rougher than the road to Parsons. Nothing bad like the drive to Secret Canyon. No easy loop options. High clearance preferred, no 4wd, cars do it on occasion.

Taylor & Winter are a long ways from civilization. They get sloppy and fun or scary depending on how you look at it when they get wet. Otherwise the roads are pretty good. These trailheads offer the best looping options. 4WD recommended.

I'm not sure on the west side access. I enjoyed the trails, most probably wouldn't as they barely exist.
Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

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hanmart
Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 08 2016 8:52 am
City, State: Phoenix

Re: Getting to Sycamore Canyon Wilderness -- Road Conditions?

Post by hanmart » Sep 27 2016 1:28 pm

Thanks so much for the feedback @cw50must and @joebartels. SO helpful!!

joebartels wrote:Taylor & Winter are a long ways from civilization. They get sloppy and fun or scary depending on how you look at it when they get wet.

I think I'm in the scary camp until I get more experience driving off-road. :)

I'm ok with doing an out-and-back. Given that the group is only able to make it out of Phoenix starting at 4pm Fri its going to be a shorter mileage trip either way. I wish there were more loop options in Sedona, or more connected out-and-back options.

Is Sycamore Canyon a bad idea given the late start? There weren't really many other options. My backup backup plan would be to reserve a campsite on the way up to Sedona then set out early to do West Fork of Oak Creek for just one night.

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