West Fork Trail, according to reviewers on Yelp, is one of the most popular hikes in the Sedona, Arizona area. “Family-friendly,” “fu**ing beautiful,” and “best hike in Sedona” are among the many praises given by Yelpers. All of that along with it being supposedly “dog-friendly” motivated us to select West Fork Trail as our first hike during the trip. And, I’m glad we did because the reviews were right on. In fact, West Fork Trail exceeded our expectations!
Located in the Coconino National Forest, West Fork Trail runs along a tranquil stream surrounded by canyon (as pictured above). However, the approximately seven mile hike starts with a leisurely walk from the parking lot into a scenic area. This would be a nice spot for a pre-hike picnic or mediation. (And, totally random to note, but there’s even a cute little bridge!)
In this same area are the historical remnants of what used to be a homestead and vacation destination. Mayhew’s Lodge is one of the buildings that once stood there.
Built in 1870, the lodge operated for over a century, before sadly burning to the ground in 1976. (To see the lodge back in its heyday, check out the 1922 film Call of the Canyon, in which it served as the setting.)
It was interesting to see a little bit of history during our hike. We could have spent a few hours exploring that one area.
But, eye on the prize! We had a seven mile hike to do. So after about ten minutes, we continued toward the trail head. Once there, we made sure to sign our names in the guest book.
Upon entering the trail, we were greeted by tall trees and canyon, which dominated most of the hike. There was plenty of shade. (I was glad I brought a light jacket.)
Just as promised on Yelp, there were multiple areas where we had to cross boulders through the creek. At the first, we gave Harvey and Sadie the opportunity to cross it with us. However, they didn’t like the cold water. So, Mawmy and Daddy had to carry them across every time. (Bonus: Little Arm Workout.) Despite being carried, Sadie paddled her paws as if she were actually in the water. It was super cute!
Much of the hike was spent in two groups: Dave and Sadie in one; Harvey and I in the other. This was to ensure that everyone could go at their own pace. (Translation: Dave and Sadie are kind of, sort of slow pokes!)
There were others on the trail, but it wasn’t too crowded at all. (From what I’ve read, West Fork Trail can get very busy. Luckily, we were there on a Friday, so it wasn’t too bad at all.)
Every 30 minutes, we would wait for Dave and Sadie. They did a pretty good job at keeping up their pace, despite being a little behind.
West Fork Trail did not disappoint! It was just as breathtakingly scenic as we had hoped. There was so much to look at. We never got bored, especially with the several creeks to cross!
When the trail disappeared and there was nothing else but canyon walls and water, we knew it was time to turn around. That was the midway point of this splendid “out and back” hike.
The second half of the hike was the better of the two. Although we were walking back through all the same areas we’d been to earlier in the afternoon, it was much prettier the second time around. And with the rich, late golden lighting, it was far more photography-friendly.
We took a little break and admired the scenery… (Okay, I’m not going to lie. At this point, we were pretty exhausted! And, so were Sadie and Harvey, who welcomed any opportunity to stop while Mawmy took pictures.)
West Fork Trail was an excellent hike. I’ve hiked in many places, including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and much of the Southwest USA. And, you know what? In terms of beauty and overall experience, West Fork Trail in Sedona, Az comes second to hiking to the peak at El Yunque National Forest, and might beat if not at least tie with Loch Trail at Rocky Mountain National Park. It was THAT awesome! Plus, we had our babies with us… and that always makes it 10x more special.
At first sight of the bridge, we knew we were very close to the parking lot. (Phew! Just before sunset.)
If you’re heading to Sedona, Arizona any time in the near future, be sure to add West Fork Trail to your trip itinerary. It’s a great moderate hike that the whole family will certainly enjoy. (And, don’t forget to bring your camera!)
Read all about our visit to Sedona Dog Park here in Part One of this multi-part series, highlighting our recent trip to Sedona, Arizona.
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