Parsons Trail

Coconino National Forest, Arizona

Elevation Gain2,045ft
Trailhead Elevation3,743ft
Elevation Min/Max3583/3772ft
Elevation Start/End3743/3743ft

Parsons Trail

Parsons Trail is a hiking trail in Yavapai County, Arizona. It is within Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area and Coconino National Forest. It is 3.7 miles long and begins at 3,743 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 7.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,045 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. Summers Spring and another spring can be seen along the trail. The trail ends near the Parsons Spring.

Parsons Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Five-Star Trails: Flagstaff and Sedona (Menasha Ridge Press)
Tony Padegimas
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"This easy-to-follow trail dips quickly into Sycamore Canyon, where it winds back up the canyon, crossing the spring-fed creek several times, revealing numerous riparian and geologic features. Th e easy version turns around at the swimming hole."
100 Classic Hikes Arizona (The Mountaineers Books)
Scott S. Warren
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"At 55,937 acres, the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area can be a daunting place to explore. That is because many of its finer areas can be reached only after hiking long distances, usually with overnight gear in tow. But heading upstream from the canyon’s mouth for nearly 4 miles is the Parsons Trail. Accessing one of the finest riparian areas in the state, this route offers day hikers a golden opportunity to get to know Sycamore Canyon."
Best Hikes with Dogs: Arizona (The Mountaineers Books)
Renee Guillory
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"For hikers with dogs there is even more to love about this threeseason hike: frequent stream crossings, two large pools, lots of shady cover, and a fairly soft trail over most of the route. After watering and leashing your dog, you take a steep but very short descent into the canyon. You will soon hear the rush of water—your dog will hear it first— and then see the trail fork left for Packard Trail 66 and right for Parsons Trail 144. Stay on the Parsons Trail, where the rocky, exposed canyon route ducks under the shade."

Parsons Trail Trip Reports

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Lots of fun, first 2.5 miles very scenic, water was scarce after that point, it's been a long dry year. Only significant elevation change is first couple of hundred feet into the canyon. Parsons Spring itself was easy to miss, and the trail continues on for many miles after that, so track your distance. A lot of this trail was thick fine sand, like beach sand, and you know how walking in that for a long time can be tiresome. The 6 creek crossings you'll do can be hard to find, the first couple we're marked with stone pile-ons, after that, look for stacks of rocks marking where to cross the creek. Also, ran into a rattlesnake on the way out, keep your eyes open. 3hrs 45minutes
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This trail is easy to follow, relatively flat, and partially shaded. The trail has good swimming holes and even a small cliff jumping area. Although higher in elevation than Phoenix, it is still HOT! There is no shade at the trailhead and the road up is rocky.
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This is a great trail but in a couple of parts one needs to be observant because the trail disappears. Also, it does cross the river on more then one occasion so if you have kids you need to be careful. For adults, it should be no problem as long as we're not in the rainy season or spring runoff. The trail is very beautiful and during the summer offers ample opportunity for swimming.

Trail Information

Coconino National Forest
Nearby City
Coconino National Forest
Skill Level
Sedona Ranger District, Coconino National Forest; Chino Valley Ranger District, Prescott National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Clarksdale, Sycamore Basin; Coconino National Forest
Local Maps

Trail Log