Woods Canyon Trail is frequently left out of books about hiking the Sedona area. And, the trail head is barely marked at the south end parking lot of Red Rock District Coconino National Forest center off State Route 179. Too bad!
This is a scenic (short ups and downs terrain) hike of about 5 miles. The trail is rated as “moderately difficult” but we believe this may have more to do with its sunny (hot in summer) exposure, than elevation gain.
We were stopped by so many photo opportunities on this walk that we never experienced any hiking difficulty.
There’s a rusty metal sign with cut-out letters reading “WOODS CANYON” posted at the trailhead on the south side of the parking lot. The trail dips down to a grassy stream, crosses it, and heads for a metal gate. Signage there reminds hikers to carry water and be prepared for difficult trails that lead off Woods Trail. For the first two miles, this trail follows an old, wide Jeep trail, making for easy going as it heads toward Dry Beaver Creek.
Continuing on Woods Trail, just past the sign for Horse Mesa trail, hikers go through a fence-gate and are within the beautiful environs of the narrow canyon and Dry Beaver Creek. Various colors of red rock cliffs, a multitude of vegetation, and a rocky path above the creek make for an interesting hike.
In Spring, this walk provides a delightful mix of bird song and wildflower color as the trail meanders through Woods Canyon. There are many side routes to Dry Beaver Creek where hikers can visit the creek as it tumbles through boulders.
As mentioned above, this is a sunny trail, so be prepared with plenty of water, snacks, and dress in layers. We’d suggest making this an early morning hike, even in spring, to catch the beauty of the area during the cooler part of the day.
To reach the trailhead, park in the south end of the Red Rock Ranger District center. You might also enjoy stopping in at the Forest Service center there. Besides providing restrooms, there are interesting and informative displays about the geology of the Sedona area.
Red Rock Ranger District
8375 State Route 179
Sedona, Arizona (Just south of the Village of Oak Creek)