Kuma’s Great Adventures

Secret Canyon, Sedona

Told by Kuma and written by Lorraine Bossé-Smith

What a spring we have had! With all the rain, the desert is happy and blooming. Officially, the hot season isn’t here yet, but we always have the option of heading to Sedona where it is a bit cooler. That’s what we did the other weekend. Sedona is jam packed, and we got up really early—too early for me. Yawn! My dad opted to drive through Cottonwood. It is a bit longer mileage wise, but we didn’t have to sit in long lines at roundabouts in town. Going this way avoids all the in-town traffic, especially when you are heading to Secret Canyon.

Secret Canyon isn’t really a secret, which confuses me, but I’m a dog. Lots of things humans do confuse me. Like what is up with hair spray? I love my mom, but when she sprays that stuff on her hair it stinks! Where was I? Oh yeah; so take I-17 north of Phoenix to 260 or exit 287 toward Cottonwood. The construction project is almost done, so we moved along nicely.

This takes you to 89A into Sedona the back way. Turn right on Dry Creek Road and drive for two miles to Forest Road 152. This road is rough; high clearance and four-wheel drive are required. Many people had to bail and park along the road and hike in. Depending upon where you park, you could add up to 5 miles to your hike! It isn’t hard but steady and it can be hot. It is not recommended during wet weather.

We pressed on with our Nissan Pathfinder for 3 long miles. They were extremely slow going, and we passed the trailhead for Devil’s Bridge, which we’ve done before. Shortly after that, we came to a small parking lot and the trail head for Secret Canyon. Other than some Pink Jeep Tour folks driving around, we were the only ones who made it! We had the trail to ourselves. Awoof!

The first 2 miles follows an old road bed that is fairly flat and easy going. We had great views of red rocks, and it was very quiet. We opted to have our picnic at the 2-mile mark and then turned back. Apparently, if we had continued, the rest of the trail meanders in and out of the canyon bottom. Vegetation varies from chaparral to mixed conifer along this typically dry water course.

Because it is quite a drive to this trail, your humans have to watch the time. We started out early and still began to lose light. Backpacking would certainly be a way to hike farther in, and you can go 11 miles roundtrip. Since we got our camper trailer, my humans don’t sleep on the ground anymore. To be honest, I’m quite happy in my comfy and cozy dog bed inside the camper. Yes, 4 miles was just right for us this beautiful day.

Four-wheeling down went just as slow and was actually more difficult. Some of the rocks were more exposed because of all the traffic. Dad was glad he had a lift kit and skid plates on. Me, I found it quite bumpy, so I nestled into my kennel bed and took a nap. To all the doggy moms out there: Happy Mother’s Day!   

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