Oak Creek Canyon is a 12-mile long gorge between Sedona and Flagstaff. This gorgeous canyon is in the Coconino National Forest. The Canyon attracts thousands of visitors a year and is beautiful in any season.
If you drive to Flagstaff from uptown Sedona it is about 28 miles through Oak Creek Canyon.
How to Get to Oak Creek Canyon
From uptown Sedona take 89A north to Flagstaff. You’ll wind along the canyon on the two-lane highway through Oak Creek Canyon.
Things to do in Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek Scenic Drive
The drive from Sedona to Flagstaff on 89A is a gorgeous drive any season. This is a great road to take a leisurely drive and take in all the beautiful scenery surrounding you. There are a several areas you can pull off the road to explore Oak Creek or just snap a few photos. Two popular stops include Midgley Bridge and the Oak Creek Canyon Vista. If you’re not interested in hiking you can stop at one of the six Picnic Sites on this route to take in some of the natural beauty as well.
There are several picnic sites along this route including: Midgley Bridge, Encinoso Picnic site , Halfway Picnic Site, Banjo Bill, Bootlegger Picnic area, and Call of the Canyon Picnic Site. Even if you don’t want to hike a trail these are great spots to get out, stretch your legs and experience nature outside of your car.
Oak Creek Canyon Vista
If you’re driving north on 89A Oak Creek Canyon Vista point will be your last view of the canyon and if you’re driving south from Flagstaff it will be your first view of the canyon. It is 14 miles from Midgley Bridge. During high tourist season Native American vendors will have concession stands at this spot.
Hike in Oak Creek Canyon
The stretch between uptown Sedona and Flagstaff has some pretty hikes.
- Midgley Loop Trail
- Midgley Bridge Trail
- Wilson Canyon Trail
- Casner Canyon Trail
- Allen’s Bend Trail
- North Wilson Trail
- Sterling Pass Trail
- AB Young Trail
- Call of the Canyon Trail
- West Fork Trail
- Harding Springs Trail
- Pumphouse Wash Trail
- Griffith Springs Trail
Midgley Bridge Picnic Site
From uptown Sedona take North 89A towards Flagstaff to hike some of the most stunning trails in Sedona. One of the first on this route will be at Midgley Bridge Picnic Site. From here you can hike the Midgley Bridge Trail, Wilson Canyon Trail and the Midgley Loop Trail.
You can catch the Huckaby Trail from the Midgley Bridge Trail as well. If you you hike the Midgley Bridge Trail to the end you will arrive at the next hiking and/or swimming spot – Grasshopper Point.
If you’re looking to hike near the water you’ll love hiking in Oak Creek Canyon. At Grasshopper Point you can hike the Allen’s Bend Trail alongside the creek. At the end of this trail you will run into Casner Canyon Trail.
Grasshopper Point is a day-use area and there is, as of 2023, a $12.00 entrance fee. You can also use the Grand Annual Red Rock Pass for entrance.
Encinoso Picnic Site
Three miles from Grasshopper Point you can park at Encinoso Picnic site and hike the North Wilson Trailhead. A mile ahead just past Manzanita Campground you can hike Sterling Pass Trailhead.
Slide Rock State Park
If you keep driving you’ll reach the popular Slide Rock State Park. This is a gorgeous area to explore.
About a mile up the road there is a picnic site called Halfway and one called Banjo Bill. A mile from Banjo Bill Picnic Site you can have a picnic at Bootlegger and hike the AB Young Trail.
Call of the Canyon Picnic Site
Just under four miles from Slide Rock State Park another very popular place to view nature is the Call of the Canyon Picnic Site. From here you can hike the busy Call of the Canyon Trail which runs into West Fork trail. This is one of the prettiest hiking trails in Arizona to go leaf peeping in the fall.
A mile and a half up the road from Call of the Canyon is Cave Springs Campground. Across the street from the campground you can hike the Harding Spring Trail.
As you continue to wind your way up 89A for two miles you’ll come to Pumphouse Wash Trailhead.
After this point the road is going to make multiple twists for 2.5 miles – this is fun to drive on a motorcycle. Your next hiking spot will be at Oak Creek Canyon Vista.
If you’re driving south from Flagstaff this will be your first great view of the canyon.
If you’re driving north it will be the last view. The approximate mileage between Midgley Bridge Picnic Site and Oak Creek Canyon Vista is 14 miles.
Griffith Springs Trail
From here the scenery will change as you are climbing elevation into Flagstaff. There is one more hike on 89A and that is Griffith Springs Trail 6.5 miles up the road. The hike is about a mile in length and is a walk through the tall Pine trees.
Camp in Oak Creek Canyon
Some of Arizona’s prettiest campgrounds are in Oak Creek Canyon. The following campgrounds are along Oak Creek. All have great areas to explore, fish, swim, hike. or just relax.
Camp sites in Oak Creek are hard to come by and reservations are highly recommended.
Rainbow Trout Farm
Oak Creek is a perennial stream and you can fish all along the creek year round. It is one of the most popular places in Arizona to catch trout. You’ll need an Arizona fishing license, if you’re older than 10 years.
If you’re looking to teach your kids to fish, Rainbow Trout Farm just might be your place. You don’t need a fishing license or any equipment. The Farm provides everything you need to catch a fish.
Rainbow Trout Farm has two natural springs filled with hungry Rainbow Trout. Drop an old fashioned wooden pole in and within minutes your little one will have caught their very own fish! And quite a boost to their confidence in their ability to fish.
The Trout farm provides fishing poles and bait. Just grab a pole and a bucket, and ask the clerk for some bait.
They will gut and clean your fish, you can then grill your fresh catch there at the park and have a picnic or get some ice and wait until you get home.
You can also get a handful of fish food to feed the fish. When you throw the fish food in you can watch the fish jump out of the water. If you do not have the patience for fishing or simply, like us, want your kids to experience catching their own fish but haven’t had such good luck the Rainbow Trout farm is a great way to spend some time with the family. This is NOT catch and release-remember you have to pay for each fish you catch.
Address: 3500 State 89A
Directions: 3 miles north of uptown Sedona on your right. If you hit Slide Rock Park you have gone too far. To learn more visit their official website: Rainbow Trout Farm
Refreshing swimming holes can be found all along 89A north. Some of the popular spots to cool off include a swimming hole and picnic area called Grasshopper Point. Five miles up the road is the most popular swimming hole in Sedona, Slide Rock State Park.
Thousands of people flock here in the summer to slide down the natural rock water slide. Get here early if you want a spot to park.
Do I Need a Red Rock Pass in Oak Creek Canyon?
If you plan on stopping at any of the day-use or picnic sites in Oak Creek Canyon, you will need a Red Rock Pass. Passes can be purchased online at Recreation.gov. They can also be purchased at the following locations:
- Sedona’s Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center – 331 Forest Road, Sedona, AZ
- Red Rock Ranger District Visitor Center – 8375 Hwy 179, Sedona, AZ 86351
Please note: The Red Rock Pass doesn’t include access to Grasshopper Point, Call of the Canyon or Slide Rock State Park. These spots have a separate entrance fee or you would need the Grand Annual Red Rock Pass.
If you’re in the Sedona area and looking for another stunning drive, you may also like Red Rock Loop.