Boynton Canyon, Hiking in Sedona


If you love to hike, you’ll probably want to devote at least one full day to the red rock trails in and around Sedona. I suggest starting on one of the most popular trails, Boynton Canyon.

You can find the Boynton Canyon Trailhead at the end of Forest Road 152-C (also known as Dry Creek Road, in downtown West Sedona). The trail is popular because it’s easy to find, and the road is paved all the way to the trailhead.

After traveling just a few hundred feet down the Boynton Canyon Trail, a side path splits off. The Vista Trail is a worthwhile detour, taking you up to a scenic viewpoint, right next to one of Sedona’s legendary vortexes.

This red rock formation is known as Kachina Woman. While it’s a prominent landmark, the Boynton Vortex is a short distance away, at a nearby knoll.

An incredible view of Boynton Canyon awaits you at the top of the Vista Trail. From the small knoll that’s known to new-agers as the Boynton Vortex, you can see an incredible display of red and white rock. You can also see the Enchantment resort which, although built to blend in with the surroundings, still stands out. Later, as you hike into Boynton Canyon, you’ll be skirting the resort’s boundary.

There’s a great view no matter which way you look. This is the view of the trail you just climbed, with more of the Coconino National Forest in the background.

Here it is: the vortex itself. The trail ends at this small knoll. Can you feel the energy?

I’m not exactly a student of new-age thought, but here’s what I’ve learned about vortexes. Apparently, the energy at these locations strengthens the yin/yang, or masculine/feminine balance. Visitors often pile pyramids of rocks, or cairns, at the places where they feel the strongest energy. You can find a lesson on energy vortexes, and how to find Sedona’s strongest centers of energy, at

After you’ve completed the side trip up Vista Trail, continue on into Boynton Canyon along the main trail. Chances are, you won’t be alone. This is a popular trail, and you’ll probably need to slow down as others block the way.

The trail takes you between the Enchantment Resort’s property line and the canyon wall. At one point, the red rock wall towers hundreds of feet directly overhead.

The trail is mostly smooth, but occasionally you’ll have to step over a few rocks in the path.

After you pass the end of the resort property, you’ll come to a dry wash. This is as far as I chose to go (probably about 1 1/2 miles from the trailhead).

The trail continues even deeper into the canyon, and best of all, most of the casual hikers don’t make it this far, so you’ll feel much more alone if you continue.

Note: I hiked further on this trail on a more recent trip. You can read about it here.

Note: This trip was first published in 2005.

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