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West Fork Trail Professional Review and Guide
"An easy, very popular hike through the spectacular West Fork of Oak Creek, in the Red Rock–Secret Mountain Wilderness. The West Fork is an easy but extremely popular hike. It is not the place to go to escape crowds, especially on weekends."
--Bruce Grubbs, Hiking Northern Arizona (Falcon Guides).
A very scenic, easy, trail, but very crowded. The parking lot was full, and there was no solitude to be found on the hike for the first few miles. Avoid weekends for better experience.
This is a beautiful hike up the most popular trail in Oak Creek Canyon. There is an $8.00 fee to park your car at the trailhead (in addition to the fee for the Red Rock Pass to park anywhere on the National Forest). Also, the trailhead parking lot is gated with a sign that says it doesn't open until 9:00am. This is awfully late to be starting a hike in the dead of the Arizona summer. My wife and I arrived at the trailhead at 6:45am only to be turned back. We took another hike and returned at 9:00am to discover the gate was unlocked at around 7:30am and the trail was already crowded. As we hiked up canyon, the crowds lessened and we were treated to a beautiful canyon hike. The hike seemed mostly level with little apparent elevation gain. There are approximately 10 stream crossings which is no big deal in August, but at other times of the year, I would anticipate getting your feet wet. Bottom line: this is a "must do" hike if you're anywhere near Sedona.
This is a great trail. There are tons of buetiful veiws and many nice sound of nature around you. The only downside to the hike is that there are alot of people. I am not to bothered by this but I prefer to be alone. Also you can do this hike when it is hot out so you can go for a dip in the creek
Truly a great trail for all ages. The first part passes through old homesteads and an old apple orchard, that still had apples for us to snack on. After the first half mile, the trail then leaves the wide open path and enters steep canyons. Truly great colors on the canyon walls, and the vegitation and stream running along the trail make for a truly relaxing walk in the woods. We brought a picknick lunch and ate on a huge rock slab along the river. Be aware the trail could be fairly busy, so parking at the trail head may be a little tough. Also, the trail head is about half way through the Oak Creek Canyon scenic area, which is one of the nicest scenic drives in the country.
The trail starts by crossing the famous Oak Creek in the bottom of one of the most scenic places in the country: Oak Creek Canyon. For the first 1/2 mile you walk along a footpath past signs of past civilization: house foundations, small out houses, some concrete sidewalk remains, all reminding you of the days that lead to the taming of the arizona territory. The trails turns west into a canyon with walls 1,000 feet high on both sides, colored streaks (mainly red hues) mingle into the vegetation at ground level. You will walk a simple, level and true trail into the depths of the canyon passing through a thickly forested area strewn with occasional bolders that had loosed themselves some centuries ago. The creek is a constant reminder of the forces that once helped to carve the scenery around you. This is an in-and-back and you will be amazed at the cool things you will see on the way out that you didn't notice on the way in.
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