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Fay Canyon Trail Professional Review and Guide
"The Fay Canyon Trail follows the streambed up the forested canyon into the Secret Mountain Wilderness. At the back of the canyon, red rock mountains surround you. The main attraction of the canyon is the Fay Canyon Arch. The arch is 25 feet thick, 20 feet wide and 15 feet high. The massive slab of red rock forming the arch has broken away from the adjacent canyon wall and remains close to the cliff behind it. From below, the arch is hard to recognize and appears to be an alcove. At the arch is a small ancient Sinagua Indian ruin and pictographs. The views are spectacular in all directions."
--Robert Stone, Day Hikes in Sedona, Arizona (Day Hike Books).
Great trail which had very few hikers (I went around 5:30-6pm and was the last person on the trail and I passed only two people who were walking back). The hike is quite easy and at the trails end there are great views if one chooses to make a moderate climb about 50ft up some rocks. Great rock formations in the canyon and most of the trail is shaded. About 0.5 mile down the trail there is a side trail that goes uphill to Fay Canyon Arch. This trail involves a moderate uphill climb for about 1/4 mile
The Fay Canyon trail is an easy and popular trail in the Secret Mountain wilderness. We met 20 other hikers on a weekday. It passes through a richly vegetated canyon with plenty of openings to enjoy the nearby canyon walls. Watch for the arch on the north (right) wall. It looks like an alcove about 300 feet above the main trail. A small cairn on the right of the trail marks the scrabbling side trail to the arch. The arch is a major highlight of this region and I recommend taking the time and effort to climb up to it. After the arch, continue about 1/2 mile to the rock slide that partially blocks the trail. Climb up under the head of the cliff that broke away and enjoy the vista down the canyon.
The trail was easy starting out and turned to be uphill and low clearance as one advanced to the end. Nearly one mile into the trail, one came upon a gigantic rock fall that happened recently. One had to climb over room size boulders that fell from the rock formation above the trail. One also could climb up to the base of the rock formation and there was an excellent view of the valley. One could see all the way back to Bell Rock. A good trail to hike in several hours.
The trail up to the arch branches off the main trail (which is very obvious)... look for a rock cairn which points off to the right - you won't be able to see the arch yet. We hiked further up the canyon, which was a nice hike ... several options to climb up to the canyon walls on either sides.
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