June 24, 2016

Fay Canyon Trail Guide: Hiking a Sedona Staple

Venture into red rock country and prepare for a hike along Fay Canyon Trail, one of Sedona's premier family-friendly routes.

 

Fay Canyon Trail Sedona

Fay Canyon Hike Overview:

  • Region: Boynton Canyon, Coconino National Forest, Sedona, AZ
  • Trail: Fay Canyon Trail
  • Trail Length: 2.2 miles round trip
  • Trail Time: About an hour
  • Elevation Change: 150 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Attractions: Bear Mountain views, arch views, and Bell Rock view

Directions to the Fay Canyon Hiking Trail

If you are coming from Sedona, take Dry Creek Road off 89A. Make a left into Boynton Canyon Road (don’t take the right as it goes to Long Canyon) and travel about 1.5 miles. You will reach a “T” junction where you make another left onto the Boynton Canyon Pass Road. You will travel about one mile before you see the parking lot on the left. The trail is located just opposite of the parking lot.

hiking in Sedona

Fay Canyon Trailhead Preparations and Hiking Safety Tips

This hike is relatively easy, but you will need lots of water, snacks, and a pair of waterproof hiking boots like GORE-TEX® SURROUND® Footwear. The trail is sandy with minimum elevation change, but a few areas are rocky and you have to watch out for cactus and other plants. There is no water or restroom access on this trail.  

Starting the Fay Canyon Hike

The Fay Canyon Trail is a great, short hike in Sedona. It’s very family-friendly. The hike starts as a long, flat sandy trail into the Boynton Canyon with wonderful scenery. There is a creek that flows on the side of the hike when it rains in the mountains, but for our hike the creek was dry. The only real challenge with the hike is that there are no markers to indicate how much of the hike you have covered or what remains.

About halfway through the hike, the canyon walls rise steep to the right, and provide majestic views of the red sandstone cliffs and natural arch. At this point of the hike, there is a side trail to a natural Fay Canyon arch about ½ mile from the main trailhead on the right. Keep in mind that this is indeed a steep hike, unmarked and is not maintained.  It is easy to miss and you may walk right past this trail. Fay Canyon Arch is quite big, but deceiving and somewhat hidden from a distance. Be sure to make this journey and you will be amazed.

Once you come down from the arch, you will continue on the hike surrounded by cactuses, trees, and other desert plants to the base of the red Supai sandstone cliff. This is where the main hike ends, but I encourage you to take the steep hike to the rock face and you will be rewarded with panoramic views of Bear Mountain, vistas, and Bell Rock in the distance. Few pictures ever do this justice, but it’s worth a shot or two. When we last took this hike, the sun was out and beating down, but our GORE-TEX® SURROUND® shoes let sweat vapor out and kept our feet very comfortable all the while.

hiking boot in Sedona

Overall, the hike was very reasonable and you’ll often see many families along the trail. If you’re feeling especially adventurous and want to mix things up, trudge through the creek and spend some time in the water.

Fay Canyon Hiking Essentials: Grab the Gear and Go

  1. Hanwag Najera Low GTX® SURROUND® Shoe
  2. Backpack
  3. Water bottles or hydration pack
  4. Healthy snacks
  5. Camera: There are lots of photo opportunities.
  6. A lightweight GORE-TEX® Jacket like the Marmot Minimalist Jacket: Thunderstorms can roll in quick in Sedona.
  7. Phone

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