Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars
Recommended supplies and information:
▪ Bring at least 100 ounces (3 liters) of water
▪ Small First Aid Kit
▪ High Clearance 4X4 Vehicle to Access Trailhead
Approximate Trekking information:
Distance One Way: 3-8 miles (4.8-13 km)
Total Hiking Time: 3-8 hours
Elevation at base 4,685 ft to 5,041 ft to Middle of Canyon: 356 ft ascension climb
Elevation at base Metrics: 1,428 meters to 1,536 meters: 108 meters ascension climb
Temperature for January 18, 2015: 68.7F to 84.7F / 20.3C to 29.2C
Since I already wrote a blog on Secret Canyon Trail, you can read the details of the first portion of the hike here:
This update is writing about my second attempt to complete the hike to the end of the canyon and to find the extension leading to Secret Mountain trail… if there is one.
Secret Canyon Trail has been stumbling me this past year regarding the difficulty of reaching the beginning of the trailhead. I don’t have a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle, so I opted to park my truck in the parking lot high up on Vultee Arch Road and mountain bike 3.5 miles (4.8 km) down the extremely bumpy, steep and winding dirt road. I regretted, at first, choosing this method of getting to the trailhead because of the difficulty and bad conditions of the road, but long stretches of good road in areas saved a lot of time whizzing along instead of walking it. But I will admit, I did have fun mountain biking, jumping over large rocks, and plowing through wide and deep red muddy puddles. I only wish I had bigger tires, better brakes, and front shocks. By the time I reached Secret Canyon Trailhead, I was pretty beat up… mainly from the pain of working muscles I never knew I had before.
The Deep Trail
Absolutely Outstanding! Everything I was hoping for as a hiker emerged trekking through the deeper portions of Secret Canyon Trail. The gradual ups and downs and twists and turns of the path revealed amazing nature at every corner. Hiking several canyon trails in Sedona, I felt this was the pinnacle in canyon trail trekking. Narrow and extremely high cliff walls on the north and southern sides presented a magnificent sense of serene beauty. Flowing through the entire canyon base was a sparkling stream, wider in some areas making it difficult to cross in some portions, but skipping over rounded smooth grey rocks made it worth while.
The sun blasted its early morning rays upon the high northern cliff walls creating a tremendous contrast from the grey treed canyon floor. The trail meanders up to good heights and then sharply descends to the bottom streams quickly. There was partial snow on the trail in Secret Canyon. Some shaded areas had snowy patches while some areas that remain in the dark shade constantly have turned to ice.
During the Secret Canyon Trail trek, I came across about 8 trail hikers. More people than what I had expected, but it was a long holiday weekend, plus the weather was perfect to enjoy the outdoors. The first couple I ran into had spent the night deep in the canyon. They had full backpacks and were heading out of the canyon around 9:30 am. In the canyon are several places to set down camp for the night. One of the backpackers said it didn’t get as cold as he had expected. I saw one solo trekker named, Shannon, and the others were small groups snapping photos of the canyon from a high vantage point.
I was about halfway through the canyon making good time and enjoying the wonderful sights when I noticed the smell of smoke was becoming more distinct. At first, I thought it may have been from a recently distinguished camp fire. The further I trekked into the canyon, I could not see exactly where the billowing smoke was originating from, but within minutes I noticed a fire patrol helicopter flying over the furthest end of the canyon area (northwest). I cautiously trekked deeper in, but the visible smoke began to become too apparent. I decided at that point, to turn around and resume the full hike at another time.
My second attempt of hiking Secret Canyon trail has proven successful. Although I was unable to finish the whole trail again, the sights, sounds, and serenity soar this trail to the top of my rating scale with a whopping 4.9 stars out of a 5 star total. I will finish the entire canyon in due time, and find out if Secret Canyon Trail intersects with Secret Mountain Trail.
Secret Canyon Trail will be enjoyed by everyone and has to much to offer a trail runner, trekker, and overnight backpacker. I highly recommend this trail to outdoor enthusiasts.
View all images of the trail:
View Complete Trekking Analysis
View GPS Map and photo locations:
From Sedona on Route 89A, go west on Dry Creek Road. Take right on Vultee Arch Road (4X4 Vehicle only). Trailhead is 3.6 miles (5.8 km) on the left.
Map to Secret Canyon Trail, Sedona, Arizona