One of our favorite hiking and camping locations is in Oak Creek near Sedona.
There are plenty of campsites along the creek, including Manzanita, Cave Springs and Pine Flat Campgrounds. You can book these campgrounds by following the link at fs.usda.gov, recreation.gov, or by calling toll free 1-877-444-6777.
The best hiking trail in the Sedona area is along the lower end of the West Fork of Oak Creek. The beauty of this hike is being able to stand near a gurgling creek, and being able to look up, way up to a towering red canyon wall that curves high above your head! You will want to wear shoes that can get wet. This is a great hike in the warmer months because it has plentiful shade once you enter the canyon.
This stream flows year round through a deep, forested canyon, quite narrow in places, with many pretty eroded red rock formations and plentiful wildlife. The canyon is hundreds of feet deep and moderately narrow from the start; wooded, overgrown and shaded with many fallen trees and old logs, often lying in the stream way. This easy trail is marked for the first 3 miles, although some hikers continue beyond that. You do not have to go all the way to the end. You can go as far as you want, then turn around, depending on how much time you have.
The trail begins from the parking lot by crossing Oak creek on a bridge, then walking through an old apple orchard to the beginning of the canyon, approx. .3 of a mile.
The path crosses the creek many times and is occasionally difficult to follow; in places there are paths at both sides of the stream. Wildlife is quite abundant, though not necessarily interesting; typical sights are butterflies, colorful birds, squirrels, lizards and snakes. There are several pools where you can see small fish swimming around.
If you are coming from Flagstaff, the West Fork joins the main Oak Creek canyon near its north end, about 6 miles south of the point where highway US 89A descends from the flattish, densely-forested land that extends south from Flagstaff, into the winding red rock country around Sedona.
If you are coming from Phoenix, take I-17 north to the Sedona exit. Follow the signs towards Sedona 9.5 miles into the city, and turn right at the roundabout to 89-A, leading north towards Oak Creek. Pass Slide Rock State park, and continue until you see West Fork on the left side of the road, about halfway between mile marker 384 & 385 at the Call O’ the Canyon Day Use Area. You must pay the ranger $10 per vehicle (Up to 5 people. Walk-in, bicycle or bus is $2 per person.) to park in the designated parking lot, where there are vault restrooms and a few picnic tables. Plan on it taking about 45 minutes to get to West Fork from the freeway. Depending on how heavy the traffic is in Sedona it may take a bit longer. Hours: 8 AM to 8 PM. 928-203-2900. Busiest season: Summer and weekends. Best Season: Spring through Fall. Drinking water not available.