Woods Canyon


Beautiful 6+ mile RT trail in Sedona AZ with red rock, flowing river, ghostly white trees, cows & unique plants.

Distance:             6+ mile out and back
Time:                     3-4 hours
Start:                    Red Rock Visitor Center Parking Lot
Difficulty:            Medium – Strenuous
Elevation Gain: 463 ft
Fee:     Free

It’s Christmas day and we are on vacation in Sedona. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas wherever you are. We wanted to hike Boynton canyon but as we got downtown Sedona is was raining pretty bad (even some snow). Not really a white Christmas thought because it melted as soon as it touched the ground. So we instead headed back to the hotel. The location of the hotel was far enough away that the weather was clear so we quickly found another option for a hike and it turned out to be a great hike.

Starting at the Red Rock Visitor Center and Ranger station, the trail-head starts from the parking lot. Because of the nearby rain, we had to cross two small sections of water – both pretty early on in the hike. He hauled some dead wood and placed it across the water and climbed across. I think in normal circumstances there would be very little or no water and much easier crossing. Only one of us ended up with wet feet.

As you move through, you will have to go through several gates that keep the cows contained to where they are supposed to be. Make sure you close them. The cows are pretty skittish and generally run away from humans. If there are baby cows around, they can be a little more protective. Just give them space and make some noise. Watch out for cow pies.

You are down low most of the hike and don’t have views that extend very far, but the scenery is still unique and interesting. The further you get in the canyon the more interesting the hike is. There are some interesting plant life including Agave, Cacti, and interesting trees… With over 270 species of Agave, I had a hard time figuring out which type this one was.

Flowering Prickly Pear Cacti
Flowering Prickly Pear Cacti
Camo Tree (not sure what it really is)

The first trail junction is for Hot Loop, a very long and arduous trail according to the sign. Stay on the Wood Canyon trail.

Hot Loop trail split

A little beyond that, at around 2 miles in you enter Munds Mountain Wilderness.

From here on, you are able to get some great views of a fast flowing river with white trees in and around the banks. It was somewhat surreal to see. It reminded me of the white tree of Gondor in Lord of the Rings.

While we didn’t make it to the end of the canyon due to time constraints and weather concerns, we had a really enjoyable adventure and recommend this hike to fellow travelers.

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