West Fork Oak Creek Trail

#1 of 204 trails in coconino national forest

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West Fork Oak Creek Trail is a 6 mile out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running & walking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

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Angela Maeve (125)

23 Completed4 Reviews

My absolute, no-questions-asked, FAVORITE trail in Arizona - and possibly the world! Crowded, like many have already mentioned, but if you go on a non-holiday weekday, you'll have a better chance of something resembling solitude.
The best compliment I've ever received was from a woman passing me on the trail last fall, who said, "Well, look at you. You make this trail even more beautiful, with that hair color." Wow. Just, wow. I blushed 15 shades of red, in the best way.

Dan Mildbrand (188)

7 Completed5 Reviews

Negatives - Crowded. There were so many people on this trail it was almost like a shopping mall in December. There are probably 12 or more creek crossings and you can expect to encounter novice hikers holding up dozens of people as they try, sometimes unsuccessfully, to stay dry as they boulder hop. The Trail loses its way towards the end but if you can recognize cairns you will be ok. If you aren't comfortable with boulder hopping across creeks or getting wet just stay home or be prepared to give right of way to experienced hikers and runners.

Positives - This trail is excellent for running. It is wide on most spots and relatively flat. After I think 4 miles the trail allows overnight camping and it becomes more rugged and far less travelled. I wish I had the time to camp.

Advice - If you run into a group of old ladies or kids taking 15 minutes to cross a 20' stream just skirt the stream for a few yards and you will probably find a suitable crossing spot without having to wait.

Brian Mcgarry (322)

23 Completed6 Reviews

We went out to Sedona after some family stuff in Phoenix and boy it was worth it! I will say that this was probably the busiest trail I have EVER seen. Just to get into the parking lot was an hour and a half wait! So, while Cheryl and the dog waited in traffic to get a spot, I walked up and spoke with the ranger on duty. She told me to go down the road about half a mile and park on the shoulder and that we wouldn't be towed if we had our car there overnight or more and that she was on duty for the next few days and would periodically check on our vehicle. Super nice ranger!
So, we left our car on the side of the road and walked past all the suckers waiting for their turn to turn around and go home, hahahah! But, the joke was on us as we passed well over a hundred hikers and families! That would have been enough, but there were also busloads of international tourists walking all over the environment without any care of the impact they were causing! And I am not exaggerating, there were three tour buses in the parking lot! To top it off we found, picked up and carried out a number of snack wrappers all over the trial and even in the creek! But I digress...The canyon was the best I have ever seen with a myriad of different colored rock formations, various types of flora and fauna, and the creek was such a welcome sight. So much so, I apparently turned into my father and made the same joke over and over again about how we had to come to the desert in Arizona to find more water than we have in California, haha.
We ended up hiking about 7 miles back into the canyon and found a terrific campsite elevated about 25 feet above the creek and protected form the elements and set up shop. Or at least tried to...We had to clean up all the trash left by previous tenants first, and by trash I mean TRASH. there was a half burned and torn Walmart brand tent strewn about the site, opened and unopened cans of sardines, plastic water bottles, socks, a brand new camping chair with a bag, and various other items of illicit/ illegal origins. we packed out most of it but unfortunately we didn't have room in our packs to haul out the rest. Regardless, we set up camp and went exploring up the creek and its various tributaries until it got dark and we came back.
Woke up early the next morning, packed up and hiked out. For all the "taboos" we felt we dealt with (tourists, trash,and our own environmental concerns) it was much more than I had ever expected from my first adventure in Arizona and can't wait to go back! There are so many amazing wilderness and outdoor opportunities in Northern Arizona and with almost year round access to all of them the possibilities are endless! If you haven't been to Sedona or Flagstaff, do yourself a favor and get there before the idiots start another forest fire or trash it anymore. Sorry for the negativity, but it breaks my heart to witness the effects of peoples apathy and disrespect.

Carol Lembke (86)

9 Completed1 Reviews

Great in the fall. Perfect temperature for hiking on a nice day. Plan about 4 hours for a leisurely hike with numerous pictures. The scenery is incredible. Go to the end of the trail and past the sign until at least the gigantic fallen tree. We were able to hike the creek where others told us you normally can't due to higher water. I suggest doing it while you can it is one of the best parts of the hike along with the jaw dropping brilliant colored peaks and ridges above'. Don't forget to bring water and your camera.

Dave Clark (162)

6 Completed6 Reviews

This was the first trail I hiked on my 2014 Sedona Vacation. I heard about it from the girl sitting next to me on my flight down here.It was one of her favourites so my wife and I decided to hike it as our introductory hike for this year. Something easy to get back into the hiking groove. What a beautiful trail. I would certainly give it a Five Star rating and will walk it again in the days to come. The terrain was relatively flat and easy to walk. We did not get to the end as we ran out of time. It was a longer walk than I expected and it was so beautiful down in the canyon that we stopped often to take pictures and just enjoy the surroundings. If you do this walk and are an average hiker like me leave yourself at least 3 to 4 hours for the round trip. It is a popular trail so you will meet lots of people along the way. The scenery is awesome and crossing the creek, we crossed 8 times and didn't get to the trail head, is a hoot. They have left the crossings natural so you have to work at them if you don't want to get you feet wet. It would be a great place to bring your sweetheart as there are lots of opportunities for gentlemanly acts and handholding to navigate the creek beds. I stopped to talk to some hikers who were very familiar with the trail and they told me the last few creek crossings before the end were more exciting and that if you chose the wrong rocks to skip across on you could find your self in waist deep freezing water. That challenge will certainly bring me back in the next few days to do this one again. I had a very unique experience while walking this trail. I met Susie Beiler and her didgeridoo. My wife and I as well as another couple got to experience her Didgerideep Sound Healing. It was fascinating and very rewarding. I ended up buying her CD and am listening to it as I write this review. I don't know if Susie walks this trail often but if you happen to meet her on one of your hikes take the time to experience what she has to offer. You won't be disappointed.

Cynde Haan (102)

19 Completed1 Reviews

Daniel Riley (7374)

129 Completed122 Reviews

Oak Creek is awesome, and it's got the crowds to prove it. Get there early, or expect to wait for a parking spot. The Red Rocks pass does not work at Oak Creek. The entrance fee is $10, and it's cash only. Camping is allowed once you get six miles from the trailhead, but the trail proceeds along the bottom of a shallow canyon and can be impassable beyond the maintained trail.

Shane Eigell (239)

18 Completed6 Reviews

The West Fork of Oak Creek was the epicenter of the Late May 2014 "Slide Wildfire", which burned over 21000 acres until fully contained on June 4th. While the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team is still assessing the degree of damage, a "Slide Fire West Fork Flyover" video has been posted to youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAtm8PNr-Cg) by the USFS. This video, and numerous still images, show that some areas of the ridgelines above the West Fork were Fully Burned while others had only the undergrowth charred. Amongst this video are statements that the West Fork Riparian Environment has been relatively unscathed. Lets HOPE SO!! And let's hope that authorities catch the individuals who are responsible for this Human Caused Wildfire who well could have TAKEN this Jewel of Nature from us (probably permanently as the area's famous Maples are otherwise very rare in Arizona).

Christine Burns (58)

3 Completed3 Reviews

Wonderful easy hike! We have hiked it several times and take visiting friends as well. Everyone we take on the hike finds it breathtaking. Just a friendly reminder to those going in the winter, it is ice covered and spikes are really great to have.

Leonore Lee (77)

2 Completed1 Reviews

Easy trail for all ages, cross crossing back and forth over the creek was very fun but beware that your feet might get wet. Stunning views looking UP at the canyon around you. Great for trail running if you don't mind slowing down to cross the creek. Parking now $10 + $2 for each additional person over the first 5.