Fall color explodes on Oak Creek West Fork Trail in Sedona

A stroll up Oak Creek’s west fork offers one of the best hiking experiences in Sedona – a destination that’s well known as a hiker’s paradise. Steep canyon walls and shade trees make this a perfect trail if you’re looking to avoid the heat of the Arizona sun. Since Oak Creek’s ecosystem supports a variety of vegetation, you can expect an explosion of color if you visit in the fall. The first three weeks of October are prime.

Photo tour of West Fork Oak Creek in Sedona

Colorful leaves on mossy log
Colorful leaves rest on a mossy log along Sedona’s West Fork Oak Creek Trail
Colorful leaves overhead are the rule if you hike West Fork Oak Creek during the first three weeks of October.
The trail crosses the shallow stream about a dozen times.


Video: Scenic hike on West Fork Oak Creek Trail in Sedona:

Hike description via alltrails.com:
West Fork Trail is a 7-mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Sedona, Arizona that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Trace the creek upstream along pleasant sandy trails and thirteen separate river crossings. Enjoy the imposing views of the canyon walls towering above you. Unless the waters are high, the crossings are relatively easy, and the elevation gain on this trail is slight.

The trail ends where the canyon walls close in on you and there’s nowhere else to go without getting your feet wet. If you’re suitably equipped, you can continue to wade upstream for another quarter of a mile or so. The pebbly creek bed can be a little hard on bare feet, but it might be tolerable to you – also be careful of the smoother rock surfaces underfoot which are particularly slippery.

Located 11 miles north of Sedona on 89A, the entrance to the Call of the Canyon day use area is positioned on a bend in the road. When we visited a sign marked “West Fork Oak Creek” marked the spot. Set out for the trail by following a concrete paved path, cross the footbridge and then bear left through an orchard towards the canyon entrance.

Local’s parking tip

Reduce chances of getting shut out of the parking lot by going midweek. Arrive as close to sunrise as possible or in increments of 2-1/2 to 3 hours after sunrise. Since the hike takes most people 2-1/2 to 3 hours, this way you’re arriving as other hikers are leaving.

Want to go? Tap the map ↓


  1. Oak Creek is a very special place to me since college days in Tucson. And ironically I will be getting married nearby next week, all the way from NH!!!

  2. Thanks for following my blog.

    The West Fork is one of my favorite hikes. While attending NAU one time, I used to drive down after class, walk past the no camping sign, hike in, cross the river, throw down my sleeping bag, spend the night, hike out and drive up to go to class the next morning. I have many fond memories of that place.

    Lovely photos!

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