Boynton Canyon is one of the prettiest spots you’ll find in the Sedona area, which explains why it’s home to one of the area’s priciest accommodations — the Enchantment Resort. It’s also home to one of the area’s energy vortexes, and a nice trail that (once you’ve made it past the sprawling resort) will take you deep into Boynton Canyon.
When I arrived at Boynton Canyon, I was concerned that the weather was getting ready to ruin my afternoon. I knew a storm was coming — one that would later ruin my plans at the Grand Canyon — and a lot of dark clouds were already arriving in Sedona. So, with expectations low, I decided to hike a trail I’d hiked before — although this time I hoped to go all the way to the end, making a round-trip of about five miles. I figured I’d hike it, rain or shine.
The trail starts at a trailhead, just outside the entrance to the Enchantment Resort — a sprawling complex that fills up the lower end of Boynton Canyon. A very short distance from the trailhead…
… there’s a side trail, marked “Vista”, which leads up to…
… this beautiful display of red rocks. This is the Boynton Vortex, one of four areas of concentrated energy in the Sedona area — at least that’s what many people believe. I’m not particularly sensitive to the energy fields, but I am overwhelmed by the beauty in these places.
With a short climb, you can hike up to the vortex. I’m guessing these rocks mark the center of the energy. The rocks are arranged into a heart shape…
… and there are also plenty of cairns nearby. That sky in the background looks somewhat ominous, doesn’t it?
I hiked back down, then followed the trail into the canyon. For a mile or so, it’s quite pretty, but you’ll have to contend with views of the resort. The trail skirts the edge of the property, sometimes running alongside a fence.
As soon as you reach the upper end of the resort property…
… the trail dips into the woods. This part of the walk is relaxing and nice, but you’ll miss out on a lot of the nearby scenery, that’s hidden by the trees.
The forested portion of the hike is somewhat spooky when a storm is rolling in.
Somewhere along this part of the trail, I did see some precipitation. It wasn’t rain — it was hail. Fortunately it didn’t last long…
… and some sunbeams broke through.
It’s very easy to tell when you’ve reached the end of the trail. You simply can’t hike any farther. The path climbs up onto a patch of slickrock, and finally you’re above the trees, and can see the surroundings. Most noticeable is the upper end of the canyon, where the stains of an occasional waterfall mark the dead-end.
There’s a sign posted at this spot, that says you shouldn’t go any farther, to prevent environmental damage. Indeed, there isn’t much farther you can go, in any direction — but you can wander around a bit on the bare rock, I believe, without doing any damage to anything. Just use caution, since walking around here is a lot like climbing on the roof of your house. It’s deceptively steep, and you can easily forget what you’re doing and lose your balance.
Walk around a bit, and you’ll find a partially-occluded view down the canyon, looking back towards Sedona.
The walls of the canyon tower overhead. They are quite pretty, when the sun breaks through. Notice more blue sky? I was quite surprised, especially since I was walking through pelting ice, just a few minutes earlier.
Ultimately, there isn’t a whole lot to do, once you’ve reached the end of the canyon. The views are pretty, but also they are somewhat limited. Sit down and enjoy a snack, then hike back towards the resort and trailhead.
On the way back, with more blue and less grey in the sky, I was able to enjoy more of the scenery.
The Bottom Line
Boynton Canyon is a very popular hiking destination in the Sedona area, because it’s an easy hike, and the area is quite beautiful. I would recommend hiking here, only if you plan to go all the way to the end to enjoy the views. Otherwise, make this a short stop — hike up to the Vortex, look around, then return to your car and go to another trail.
Boynton Canyon and the Boynton Vortex are located north of West Sedona. From 89A, take Dry Creek Road north, which turns into Boynton Pass Road. When you reach the T intersection, turn left onto Boynton Canyon Road, headed towards the resort. If you’re not visiting the resort, there’s no point to driving past the hiking trailhead — you’ll just have to make a u-turn when you reach the resort gate. The trailhead offers numerous parking spots, although they fill up quickly, since this is one of Sedona’s most popular trails.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive around Sedona: