The road that winds 16 miles (26 kilometers) through leafy Oak Creek Canyon is the most scenic route between Sedona and Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon. With dramatic red rock formations to either side, the gorge is an outdoor playground for camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and swimming.
A scenic drive through beautiful Oak Creek Canyon is well worth the effort whether or not you actually need to travel north from Sedona. Grand Canyon day trips from Sedona pass through the gorge, as do small-group tours of the Sedona area (along with visits to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Airport Mesa) and multi-day itineraries through Arizona.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Oak Creek Canyon is a must-see for outdoor enthusiasts, adventure travelers, and photographers.
- Plan ahead: The drive is lovely but there aren’t many places to pull off and enjoy the scenery.
- Be sure to bring along sun protection and plenty of drinking water, as it’s easy to get dehydrated in the arid climate.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces if you plan to get out of the car and explore.
How to Get There
Arizona State Route 89A runs through Oak Creek Canyon from Sedona to just outside Flagstaff. Driving allows for the chance to stop at your leisure to take in the natural beauty, while a guided day tour around Sedona or to the Grand Canyon eliminates the hassle of having to rent a car.
When to Get There
Oak Creek Canyon is stunning year-round, so deciding when to visit is largely a matter of preference. Hikers come to enjoy the desert wildflowers from March to May, while summer brings temperatures warm enough for swimming at Slide Rock State Park or Grasshopper Point. The canyon is particularly impressive in autumn when the oaks amid the evergreen forest display their fall foliage.
Hiking in Oak Creek Canyon
This area of Sedona has hiking trails for just about every ability level. The most popular route is the 6-mile (10-kilometer) round trip along the West Fork of Oak Creek, where the canyon walls rise up more than 200 feet on either side at points.