Fay Canyon is a bite-size slice of all Sedona's natural flavor. It has red rock towers, and arch, panoramas, cacti, and Native American ruins--all condensed within an easy 2-mile hike. It is a bit of a drive out of town, but not too far considering that the trail is close to the roadless Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness Area. The south-facing path is hot in summer, comfortable in winter, and popular year round.
What Makes It Great
For a short hike, Fay Canyon is pretty impressive. Less than a half mile up the trail is Fay Canyon Arch. It isn't obvious at first, looking more like a rock overhang. Find a narrow trail up to the cliff, however, and you will find a sliver of sky peeking through red rock.
From the arch, continue up the canyon as the trail steepens a bit. The short climb is worth it for sweeping views of Sedona and Bell Rock. At the end of the trail is a red cliff band that houses ruins of Native American dwellings. Look closely for them and try to imagine living here among the desert plants.
Fay Canyon is a short showcase of Sedona scenery that compliments any trip to the area. It is especially great if you have limited time or don't feel up for any serious hikes.
Who is Going to Love It
Families with kids, older relatives, tourists with limited sightseeing time, or anyone looking for an easy will enjoy this trail. Kids and adults alike will have fun clambering up to the arch to stand beneath it, and vistas along the way will please anyone. The artifacts at the trail's end are interesting, but shouldn't be touched. Small dogs should have no problem on the well-traveled path. This trail gets southern exposure, so it stays hot in summer but pleasantly warm during the morning and on cold days. If you want to avoid crowds, get here early in the day and enjoy the first rays of sunshine spilling over the canyon walls.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From downtown Sedona, continue south on 89A, then turn onto Dry Creek Road at a traffic light. Follow this road for 5 miles, keeping left at two T-intersections. At some point the road changes name to Boynton Pass. Soon you will reach the large parking on the left, and the trailhead is across the street.
Unlike trailheads closer to town, parking here is totally free. Dogs are allowed if kept on a leash. The area is day use only, camping is not allowed.