West Fork Trail

The Hike House Sedona Trail Rating System
West Fork Trail
There are a number of reasons why West Fork is the most popular trail on the Coconino National Forest. You’ll know some of them once you’ve strolled beside the pleasant little stream that ripples along the canyon floor and looked up, way up, at the dizzying cliffs that tower above it. You’ll know even more if you come in the spring,when migrating songbirds decorate the trees with flashes of brilliance, or in the fall when pastel leaves float in clear reflecting pools under a canopy of solid color. You can even add to that list if you come in the winter, when icicles hang from red rock overhangs and snatches of snow persist in cool shadows. As a matter of fact, you’ll probably find a new reason to be here every time you visit.

As for the trail itself, it’s an easy stroll, but you do have to cross the stream in a number of places. Usually, that involves negotiating a few strategically placed stepping stones or taking a couple of steps in shallow water. The trail is marked for the first three miles; however, many hikers continue beyond that. Eventually the pathway ends and you will be forced to hike in the stream bed as you continue into the Secret Mountain/Red Rocks Wilderness. If you choose to travel all 14 miles from one end of the canyon to the other, plan to do a lot of wading and boulder hopping, and even some swimming.
No matter how long a hike you take here, you’ll enjoy it best if you come at a time when the trail is least crowded. Mornings and weekdays are best, better yet if they’re in the off-season.

When you do come, remember to take special care and leave this beautiful place better than you found it. Of course you know not to litter, but picking flowers and autumn leaves can cause just as unsightly a scar. So can short-cutting or rock throwing. Treat this natural treasure with the care it deserves and you’ll have plenty of reason to come back and see it again and again.

Trail Data Trail Rating
Distance: 3.2/6.4 miles (One way/Round Trip)
Time: 3.5 hours (Round Trip)
Elevation Change: 300 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate
Map: Click here for a map of West Fork trail.
VN:RO [1.9.8_1114]
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Rating: 3.6/5
View the West Fork Trail Slideshow and Commentary
Sedona Trail Rating System

The Hike House Sedona Trail Rating System provides actual hiker feedback and ratings of each of the Sedona hiking trails. The cumulative trail ratings for the West Fork Trail submitted by fellow hikers is located above with the Trail Data. Your trail feedback and ratings are an important resource for fellow hikers and provide a personal account of your trail experience from which others may learn. So please hike Sedona, help others, and rate a trail today!

Comments

  1. Dr Timothy Morris says:
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    We left the parking lot at 8:45 am and walked to the bridge and explored the ruins. Then walked up the canyon. Spectacular views looking up at the canyon walls. Also, many flowers in bloom. Surprised to see wild roses and grape vines. We walked to the point where you have to get in the water and the canyon walls are about 40 feet apart.
    We got back to the parking lot at 1:45 pm. Very windy in sections and alternating cold hot air. I am from Florida and was awestruck by the canyon walls.

  2. Red Rock Fan says:
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    A very unique and shaded trail. There is a wide range of beauty to discover: red rocks, forest like surroundings, beautiful streams, butterflies, and so much more! The trail is quite soft in a lot of places so wear good supportive shoes that can get wet when crossing the streams! Out of the several trails I have hiked in Sedona, this one is one of my favorites because of the landscape diversity. Absolutely stunning!
    We made a day of this trail, many places to rest and take in the breathtaking views and surrounding formations. We were glad that we packed sandwiches and other snacks to keep up the energy for the entire day.
    A dry bag might be a good idea to pack along for camera and other electronics if you get adventurous near the end of the trail when you can walk through water about waist high to continue your exploration!
    Highly recommend this trail!

  3. Overall
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    We had a 2 day layover in Phoenix when al flight’s east were cancelled because of Hurricane Irene. We decided to hike some trails we normally would probably never see. Super glad we stopped in The Hike House to get perfect trail (and restaurant) recommendations. This trail is relatively flat and you can move pretty swiftly, which is good because all the oustanding views and cool streams make you want to keep going to see what’s around the next bend. We wore light hiking boots and would reccomend strapping some water shoes bag. We didn’t bring sandals so we went barefoot once we reached the end of the trail so we could hike the canyon a little further. You have to walk in the water through the river at the end of the three miles if you want to go further. We turned around earlier than we would have if we we had sandals. The river pebbles and slick rocks are not too kind to bare feet. We only had time to hike one trail in Sedona during our layover and I’m glad we picked this one.

  4. Ron Arden says:
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    Very easy and scenic hike. Also can get VERY crowded later in the day. Perfect access to brook swimming. Bring lunch and feast by the running water.

  5. Shar says:
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    Excellent hiking trail. Instead of looking down at incredible valley views one needs to look up and enjoy the spectacular canyon formations along the trail. A bit cool in the shade so a light sweater/sweatshirt/or long sleeve shirt is recommended for those who tend to ‘cool’ easily. The trees are starting to change color and we stopped often to absorb the beauty and tranquility along the creek.

  6. Phil King and Rachael Mays says:
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    The west fork trail is very nice and an easy hike into some great scenery. We went in February so the trail was icy in several places, but we had micro-spikes and were able to walk like normal people. There were several other groups on the trail but it did not seem crowded. We will do this one again in the summer and see how far we can push the hike upstream.

  7. Janelle Sparkman says:
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    Probably the busiest trail in Sedona. I counted 100 people on our trip back in. I won’t do this trail again. Pretty but flat and there are many more options in the area with little or no traffic. Too many wash crossings with standing water.

  8. The Feldsteins says:
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    This Was a very easy Trail! We Left at around 11am and came back around 5pm. That is with stops for lunch and walking in the creek. For us it wasn’t just 3hr round trip. Overall it was fun, easy, and had spectacular views!

  9. John Murphy says:
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    Thirteen creek crossings made it a challenge to traverse after getting caught in a thunderstorm. Amazing views of rock formations. Some parts very easy. Wear good boots and you will be fine. Interesting plant life along the way.

  10. Erin says:
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    We hiked the trail in winter time, I could say kinda moderate that time bcoz crossing the creek, the rocks and logs slippery and its cold…I’m sure during summer or spring much easier. Love it, it gets crowded in the middle of the day. Glad we hiked it early, six people was there, on the way back, more people coming to the trail…

  11. julia waltz says:
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    I loved this trail so much. when we went to the hiking house we met a family that owns one of the shops. I loved there hiking stuff I wish I could get some of those things. this trail was a great experience for me and my family because we have never saw something so beautiful like that before. I loved the nature in the trail it had such cool things. it was my first time to hike and it was amazing. my favorite part of the trail was the creeks that we walked on… when we got to the end of the trail there was this beatifull creek and I swam in it to cool of. I loved this trail so much that I want to do it again next year. this was so fun and beautiful. (Congratulations…this is our youngest hiker (age 8) to rate a Sedona Red Rock Trail!!!)

  12. tanny says:
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    This hike is absolutely astounding. I am 18 years old, and I was accompanied by my family. It was a wonderful experience, that heightened my time spent in Sedona. I would do the hike again in a heart beat, and highly recommend it.

  13. tanny says:
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    Another wonderful aspect about doing these hikes would be stopping by the Hike House’s Energy Cafe, the staff is wonderful, especially the ones who have an overwhelming resemblance to Woody Harrelson. Also the cookies are delicious.

  14. Overall
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    This trail was beyond spectacular. Being experienced hikers and having hiked superb locations it definitely amazed us. Nurturing to the soul and satisfying to the body. A MUST DO! to enhance the experience stop by the hike house and grab some oatmeal cookies from Mike!
    Our 5 year old did this hike without any struggles, shoes will get wet though!
    In our son’s words:”Mike’s white chocolate cookies are the bomb!” :)

  15. Wyatt Hallamore says:
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    I’m 12 years old and I really like how easy this hike was. It was lots of fun. The side rock swimming hole was lots of fun for me.

  16. Jessica and Susan says:
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    This hike was everything we were looking for, we wanted water and we got it the whole way, we wanted shade and 90% was shaded which made it nice for a hot day, we wanted creek crossings and there were plenty of those and we also wanted some beautiful views which it definitely did not lack. It was busy but was nice because you still rarely ran into anybody. We took our time getting to the end and spent some time at slide rock which was a great relaxing area and good swim area. Coming back we made the hike in an hour and 15 mins as we were trying to beat a storm rolling in. Very thankful for this wonderful recommendation and we will be back in the fall to see the trees change colors.

  17. Chris & Jen Ashcraft says:

    As Christ followers, this trail truly displayed the beauty of how all things are made through our Lord. This was easiest for the kids (6, 9) and this was my wife’s favorite trail. Great for photographers. If you arrive and the parking lot is full, Dad can drop off the family at the entrance and then park just north of the trail and walk down. We saw some wild life, including a black widow along the brush at the entrance of the trail. History from this trail was very interesting. Thanks again to Greg–his book and pointers were very helpful! – Chris

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