I took a short weekend get-away to Sedona in February 2020. On Saturday, I headed out hiking after eating a hardy breakfast at the Coffee Pot restaurant located at 2050 AZ-89 in Sedona. When I was in Sedona over Christmas, my Jeep Pink tour guide recommended the West Fork Trail #108 located in Oak Creek Canyon.
Directions - Head north up 89A towards Flagstaff for 17 miles, then turn left into the parking lot. This is a popular trail and parking is limited so you'll probably want to arrive early in the morning. There is an $11.00 daily fee to enter the park so you do not need a red rock pass.
West Fork Trail is a 7.2 mile out and back trail with an elevation gain of 820 feet. It's a pretty easy trail but in the winter you'll have 13 creek crossing to navigate. In some places you'll need to be quite agile on your feet. Dogs are always welcome but must be on leash. Sedona is strict with the leash law and if your dog is caught off leash you can be fined $500.00.
Park and stroll down the concrete pathway crossing a beautiful bridge tucked away in the Orchard trees.
A little past the bridge you'll come to the Mayhem Lodge built in 1870.
Click on the arrow to scroll through the pictures of Mayhem Lodge ruins
The Mayhew Lodge was built in 1870 providing a safe haven to weary travelers until 1976 when the lodge was lost to a fire. Stop and step through time exploring the ruins. Gaze out the windows and walk the same paths that many others have before you. Directly across from the Mayhem lodge is an old storage area built into the canyon wall. This was used to store food and grains for the lodge residents and vistors.
Follow the dirt path from the lodge into the thundering pines overshadowing Oak Creek.
Curving right the path is shaded by the towering pines allowing Jack Frost to sprinkle his shimmering dust along the creek's edge.
The pine trees hold the chilly air captive freezing trickling water cascading down the cliff.
The red rock cliff's reach up to the sky shading and protecting hikers along the trail. Glancing upward I caught the sun illuminating two pine trees. A little bit further up the trail we saw a waterfall frozen in time. I stopped reflecting on the sense of tranquility and stillness in an otherwise hectic and busy world.
The first creek crossing provided the biggest challenge for me. On my very last step my foot slipped off the rock and went plunging into the freezing water. Luckily though my hiking shoes are water proof.
One hundred yard up, I took a detour left off the trail towards the creek. I was awe-stuck by the smoothness and the rock stratification.
The next couple of miles the trail was a smooth easy hike through the pines traversing across the creek several times.
Halfway through the trail we came to a great resting place. I imagined in the summer this turns into a great swimming hole for weary hikers. When I was hiking out a guy was flying a drone around. I wondered did he have a camera attached because the photo opportunities were everywhere if you could get the right angle.
Leaving this perfect rest spot just a few yards up the trail we came upon the most challenging creek crossing.
Luckily a nice man offered me his walking stick earlier so I was able to leverage my walking stick to keep my balance crossing these two thin pine logs. You can't tell from the picture but the creek was about 2 feet deep in the middle.
Another half mile up the trail the tree cover grew dense and the elevation crept higher driving the temperature downward.
Snow and ice covered the trail turning our easy hike into an extremely challenging hike. In places the snow was packed and covered over with ice. Each of my steps became deliberate and cautious to ensure I did not slip.
Our reward was amazing photographic opportunities as we continuing through the snowy forest until the end of the hike.
The best part is I can't wait to do this hike again in the late spring or early summer.