Loy Canyon

Loy Canyon

Loy Canyon

This trail is the only one I have listed twice. It is listed here for its length. It is also listed in Vertically Challenging as the latter portion is extremely steep and rocky as it heads for the top of Secret Mountain. The majority of this steep portion is treeless and can get very hot to hike in the warmer months. I recommend a minimum of 1 1/2 gallons of water per person. If you go all the way to the look out past Secret Cabin that makes for a 12 mile round trip. And it can be exceptionally cool on top in spring and fall, so be prepared.

The changes in scenery make this hike very special. It starts out with Red bluffs and towering mountain tops, works its way across a wide open valley, into a not to tight canyon with abundant growth, around a bend into a conifer forest, up the Rim through dense chaparral looking across to a Fir and Spruce covered mountainside, to a virgin stand of Ponderosa on top of Secret Mountain.

If you have the time and the legs, consider Loy Canyon.

Below is what the Coconino National Forest has to say.
Or to visit their webpage click “Here”

This easy to hike trail leads up a desert wilderness canyon offering excellent views not only at trail’s end, but all along the way as well. The wide, well constructed path was used by the Samuel Loy family in the 1880’s to move their livestock to and from summer pastures on the rim. The trail starts out by skirting the fence line of the Hancock Ranch. Sheer cliffs of vermilion and buff sandstone form a colorful backdrop for the desert garden of manzanita, catclaw, cholla and prickly pear that carpets the canyon floor. Natural rock sculptures carved by flash floods and spring runoff that seasonally course down this normally dry streambed provide scenic settings for lunch stops along the way. If there’s been a recent rain the sculpture may include a picturesque reflecting pool or a natural bathtub for a cool dip on a hot day. Underground moisture is sufficient year-round to support a desert riparian area rich in bird and other animal life.

Near the end of the canyon, the trail completes the majority of the 1680 foot climb to a high saddle that leads to the top of a mesa called Secret Mountain. Here you can continue along the Secret Mountain Trail for more spectacular overlooks or catch your breath for the return trip and a different perspective on all that you’ve passed through on the hike up.

Rating: Moderate (last two miles difficult)
Hiking time: 6 hours round trip
Notes: No motorized vehicles, no mechanized vehicles in Wilderness
At a Glance
Open Season: Year ’round
Usage: Medium
Closest Towns: Sedona, AZ
Operated By: Red Rock District – 928-203-2900
USGS Maps: Loy Butte
Location: About 45 miles south of Flagstaff (14 miles west of Sedona) on paved and graveled roads. The elevationis 4720 feet.
GPS: N34° 55′ 55.848″, W-111° 55′ 30.036″

Directions to trailhead: Drive 35 miles south from Flagstaff through Sedona on US 89A. 5 miles past Sedona turn north on FR 525 and follow the signs toward Loy Butte 9.3 miles to the trailhead. Watch for signs on your right and a parking area on your left just before crossing a cattleguard into the Hancock Ranch.