Sedona AZ (September 18, 2017) – If you’re looking for a hike that won’t disappoint at any time of the year, the West Fork of Oak Creek Trailhead is one of Coconino National Forest’s most popular trails and is described as being “ablaze with color” in autumn. As we ease into September, it’s hard to not start thinking about the changing of leaves and getting out to enjoy the outdoors as the weather (hopefully) begins to cool down.
The U.S. Forest Service says the West Fork trail is an “easy stroll” but that there are stream crossings at multiple places along the path. Hikers can continue past the maintained trail — which is the first three miles — and onto a more strenuous route that includes hiking in the stream bed. The 14-mile long stretch through the canyon includes wading and boulder hopping.
Area wildlife includes a variety of birds, deer, black bear, bobcats and snakes, although most wildlife will avoid the trail area during times of high human activity. The U.S. Forest Service recommends mornings and weekdays as the best times to enjoy West Fork. There is a day use fee of $10 per vehicle (up to five people per vehicle) or $2 per person for walk-ins, bicycle riders or bus groups. People can also access the area if they have a Grand Annual Red Rock Pass. Purchase a pass
To get there: Drive 17.5 miles south from Flagstaff or 9.5 north miles from Sedona to about halfway between milepost 385 and 384. The trailhead is on the west side of the highway down a paved lane. Park at the Call O’ The Canyon day-use area. The parking lot can be crowded, so it is best to arrive early.