OAK CREEK CANYON
Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek is a constantly flowing stream that winds through a romantic red rock canyon. Drive past all the tourist shops in uptown Sedona and you are soon on a curving road that takes you through the trees, with the creek meandering along the side. This is indeed a piece of heaven. Pull off at any of the dirt parking areas to the side of the road and explore the creek, or drive all the way up to the overlook on the rim for stunning vistas.
After you pass Midgley Bridge (the big metal bridge shortly after you pass town, and after you pass the Grasshopper Point turnoff (to the right) you will see several dirt pull offs. Most of these have rough trails down to the creek where you will find a number of beautiful places to enjoy a picnic lunch or spend a lazy afternoon.
Beautiful in any season, Oak Creek offers new delights each time you visit. The canyon is bursting with fresh green and wildflowers in the Spring, shaded by canopies of elder trees in the Summer and a blazing palette of Fall color in October. Winter can be simply peaceful, or dangerously icy, so check road conditions ahead of time. Bring your favorite inspirational music, and enjoy a feast for the senses!
You can stop in numerous places and turn around or you can keep driving and head up towards the rim. Fill up your water bottles at a stone pump station that provides natural spring water by Pine Flats Campgrounds, and then go further until you wind up a steep segment of road along the cliffside to the overlook on the Mogollon Rim.
From Phoenix, take I-17 north to Hwy 179 (exit 298). Turn left onto 179 and follow it past the Village of Oak Creek to the Sedona (Burger King) “Y”. Turn right at the “Y” onto North 89A. Drive through uptown, past all the tourist shops, and then you are on a wonderful winding road along the creek. Pull off anywhere as long as you don’t see “no parking” signs. You can’t lose!
Things to bring:
Comfy shoes, a swimsuit if you want to get wet, sunscreen, and a towel. I always have a book, a camera, and a journal as well as snacks & water in case I find a tempting spot where I want to kick back and spend some time.
Check with the US Forest Service for pass and fee information before your trip. A Red Rock Pass is required for parking in most locations.