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Loy Canyon - Sedona

Summary: An out and back hike to an old homestead cabin in the Secret Mountain Wilderness. This trail was initially used in the 1880's by the Samuel Loy family to move cattle from the rim to the valley (sorry I didn't research this exciting fact, I just read this off of the sign at the trailhead).
Directions: From Phoenix take I-17 north, exit onto highway 88A and drive west into Sedona.  After 3.1 miles turn right at milepost 371 onto Dry Creek Rd. and drive 2 miles to a right turn onto the unpaved Forest Road #152. Pull into FR #152 and pick up a Red Rock Pass at the automated machine ($5 per day per car). Pull back onto the paved road and continue to the fork. Turn left at the 'T' with Forest Service Road #152C & drive 1.6 more miles. At the next stop sign turn left onto the unpaved Boynton Pass Road (bumpy but ok for passenger cars). Follow this road to the end and turn right onto Red Canyon Road. A short distance later you will come to a signed intersection with: Loy Butte, Honanki Ruins (4.5 miles, FR #525) to the left, and Palatki Ruins 1.5 miles FR #795 to the right (note: a Red Rock Pass is available at the Palatki Ruins). Turn left towards Loy Butte. After 1.2 miles you will come to a signed intersection Bradshaw Road (left) FR #525D, Loy Butte (3 miles, right) FR #525, turn right and follow this road 2.2 miles to the trailhead (on the right), parking on left.
Road Conditions: High Clearance Vehicle would be best though in dry weather a Passenger Car will make it if you take it slow (the author drove it in a passenger car).
Navigation: Easy
Length: ~12 miles
Date Hiked: April 2001
Weather Conditions: Warm & sunny
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: From the signed trailhead begin walking on the wide sandy path past the fence line of Hancock Ranch. Within the first 5 minutes of your hike you will realize that your trip will be accompanied by the steady drone of aircraft noise from the overflight touring companies. A noise survey is available at the trail register, if inclined please complete the survey to document your disgust with those businesses (if you can get the aircraft number off of the fuselage, so much the better). The first part of the trail passes through a wide sunny canyon flanked by manzanita, arizona cypres and emory oak. Sections of this trail consist of deep sand stretches which make walking difficult. Evidence of Sinaguan habitation can be seen in the few stone walls that remain on the west side of the canyon, though they are not particularly exciting. Eventually the trail becomes more forested with conifers and the foot path more stable as you head gradually up the shady canyon. At the four mile point the trail begins to ascend steeply up the left side of the canyon gaining 1000 ft during the next mile as it travels up the sunny manzanita covered slope. There are a few good view points along the way as the trail switch backs up the side of the hill then follows the contour towards a saddle at the head of Loy Canyon. A sign at the saddle marks the intersection with the Secret Mountain Trail. Turn right onto this path and climb a short distance through the Ponderosa Pines to summit, then the trail begins a gradual descent past a few stock ponds created by concrete and stone damns in the stream bed to the remains of the Secret Cabin and coral. You can either continue on from here to one of several view points which overlook the valley (check your map for directions) or return the way you came.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and his wife completed the hike to the cabin and back in about 6 hours. We initially planned on a longer hike, however I was not feeling terribly well on this day so we used the cabin as our turn around point.
Maps: Bear Tooth Maps: Sedona
Books: none
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.
View into Loy Canyon climbing
towards it's head.