Secret Canyon - Sedona

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Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
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Feb 25, 2013
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570
I was supposed to take some teenagers to Williams and introduce them to Snow Caving for the weekend, but after all of them bailed last minute, I texted a friend of mine and asked if he would be willing to go backpacking the next day to a local canyon in Sedona. Lucky for me he was able to go and I able to round up my backpacking gear again, and dust of my trusty o'l friend, Caltopo :) Adventure planning was back!! Its been way too long.

Secret canyon, from what I read, is a pretty popular canyon in Sedona, so I didn't know what to expect with crowds and camping. The drive to get there also mentioned that a 4x4 capable vehicle was needed to drive to the TH. In my mind, I figured that was just a scare tactic to keep cars out. NOPE. It is a true jeep trail. Part of the fun of this trip was driving on that trail!

We arrived at the trailhead in the dark and started our little adventure. The ground was wet and mud was starting to freeze. We could see the silhouettes of the looming canyons, and I was excited to see what I was going to wake up to in the morning.

The trail was pretty easy to follow until we got about a 1/2 mile into the canyon. The canyon was cold, and the snow was starting to get a bit deeper. To our surprise, we also had a nice flowing creek in the canyon, and we had to cross it countless times. After a while, the human tracks on the trail went away and we were following the tracks of some large cat who liked using the trail as well.

Eventually, we came to a narrow canyon, and without the ability to see the landscape around us, we figured we were cliffed out. The only way we could see would be to start wading the creek in order to progress. so we stopped and opted to set up camp for the night.

I pulled out my trust o'l Hennessy Hammock and fired up my Isbit stove and soon enough I was indulging in Mountain house and Raman. MmmmmMmmmm! :)

As expected, the views we woke up to were pretty cool! I felt like was back in Zion National Park. The towering canyon wall, foilage, and rock seem to me to be the same. It was nice.

Because it was so cold, and there was snow, we didn't see a single person in the canyon. I didn't expect that at all, but it was a very welcome surprise. We did, however, get buzzed by a helicopter. I swear that thing was so low it choppers were topping off trees and scratching the canyon walls. I am definitely not used to seeing helicopters flying through canyons!

Here are some pics of the trip:
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Camp for the night.
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Canyon narrows
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Titans

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Hi Blake and welcome- nice trip, glad you got out on a little snow adventure! Secret Canyon has been on our list for a while, nice to see the recent photos. Do bobcats and/or mountain lions roam the forested areas around Sedona? We have never noticed any tracks, but Secret Canyon is less visited, so they might be more comfortable up there!
 

Blake Merrell

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Feb 25, 2013
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Hi Blake and welcome- nice trip, glad you got out on a little snow adventure! Secret Canyon has been on our list for a while, nice to see the recent photos. Do bobcats and/or mountain lions roam the forested areas around Sedona? We have never noticed any tracks, but Secret Canyon is less visited, so they might be more comfortable up there!
Thanks! It is nice to be back on the BCP :)

I wish I would have taken a pic of the tracks we were following. I am pretty sure it was a large cat of some kind. if I remember correctly they looked like this:

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Miya

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Glad you still got there even there was a lot of bailing that happened. :)
Thanks for sharing! The snow makes everything extra pretty!
 
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JBPHXAZ

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Apr 2, 2018
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Hi Blake, I live in Phoenix and have never backpacked in Sedona. Sounds like a good trip. Did you do this as an out and back? What kind of vehicle did you have on the road to the trailhead?
Thanks, John
 

Blake Merrell

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570
Hi Blake, I live in Phoenix and have never backpacked in Sedona. Sounds like a good trip. Did you do this as an out and back? What kind of vehicle did you have on the road to the trailhead?
Thanks, John
It was a good trip. We did this as an out and back trip. I think the total mileage was 7 miles or something. I was amazed at how many people were walking on the jeep trail when we were leaving. going from seeing nobody to ~100 people was wild.

I drove my 2006 stock Durango on the trail. I was being really careful and still bottomed out a few times.
 

JBPHXAZ

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2018
Messages
18
It was a good trip. We did this as an out and back trip. I think the total mileage was 7 miles or something. I was amazed at how many people were walking on the jeep trail when we were leaving. going from seeing nobody to ~100 people was wild.

I drove my 2006 stock Durango on the trail. I was being really careful and still bottomed out a few times.
[/
 

JBPHXAZ

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2018
Messages
18
It was a good trip. We did this as an out and back trip. I think the total mileage was 7 miles or something. I was amazed at how many people were walking on the jeep trail when we were leaving. going from seeing nobody to ~100 people was wild.

I drove my 2006 stock Durango on the trail. I was being really careful and still bottomed out a few times.
That’s Sedona right, with all the people. But cool to hear about the “secret” part. Thanks for the info.
 

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