SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – February 2001

Hiking Arizona's Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness

Arizona's Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness is so incredible, you'll want to tell the whole world.

by: Marty Tessmer

PAGE 1 2

Each year, scores of windshield tourists flock to Sedona to marvel at the soaring red-rock spires, sweeping sandstone cliffs, and postcard-perfect vistas. But don't worry: With 58 miles of trail in Coconino National Forest's Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, solitude-seeking backpackers won't be seeing red-except for the rocks, that is.

This time out, I head to Secret Canyon, the longest and most remote of the technicolor gorges that feed into the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness Dry Creek drainage. I arrive at the trailhead—just 15 minutes from downtown Sedona—on a sunny day in late winter. It feels like I've come by teleporter, so abrupt is the switch from concrete to sandstone.

The first 2 miles of trail, along which I encounter a few dayhikers, lead through the desert's surprisingly verdant garden of blue-green agave, yucca, manzanita, and cactus, and in the background are canyons the color of hot embers. The desert air is crisp, and the trail in the dry creekbed is an easy one. (On the rare occasions when the creek floods, the trail becomes inaccessible. Contact a ranger for conditions before you go.)

Neck-craning pinnacles mark the gateway of Secret Canyon proper, where sandstone walls close in and the rocky creekbed holds sparkling pools. The permanent water sources in Upper Secret Canyon are a rare treasure, making it an ideal basecamp. Pines and oaks appear more frequently as the ravine wraps around the northeast side of Secret Mountain. The maintained trail ends in the upper canyon, close to creekside, pine-shaded campsites.

From here, an unofficial trail climbs 3 miles to a junction with the Secret Mountain and Loy Canyon Trails. The USDA Forest Service discourages use of this steep, unsafe route, however, so hikers who want to summit Secret Mountain should start at the Loy Canyon trailhead. From there, it's 16 miles round-trip.

When I finally head back down the canyon, I learn that the wilderness has one more secret up its sleeve: the red-rock views are even more mesmerizing on the way back.


PAGE 1 2


Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Greg Stevenson
Jul 21, 2012

Great summary for this "secret" hike in the Sedona Red Rocks.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Cute kissing snails!
Posted On: Apr 18, 2014
Submitted By: Montanalonewolf
The Political Arena
Homeless woman goes on an interview then
Posted On: Apr 18, 2014
Submitted By: KenV
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions