Sunday, October 16, 2011
SEDONA FALL COLOR UPDATE 2011: WEST FORK OF OAK CREEK
Just got back from Sedona where fall color is really starting to show. The next two weeks should be primo. These photos were taken yesterday.
WEST FORK OF OAK CREEK
Combining all of what makes Arizona's Red Rock Country great, this trail through a wilderness of rock, water and wetland vegetation really draws the crowds. Soaring walls of buff-and-salmon-colored sandstone squeeze the trail into a sliver-like break in the landscape where the chilly waters of Oak Creek cascading over slick rock have sculpted stony bends and bizarre overhangs in the soft stone. Perennial water feeds a rich strip of trees, shrubs and grasses forming a stunning contrast with the surrounding high desert where cypress, yuccas and cactuses put down tenacious roots in the arid, sandy soils.
Because of its extraordinary beauty,
everybody knows about this place. Every. Body. And not just Arizonans---it's common to hear fellow hikers on this world-famous trail chatting in Japanese, Dutch, Russian, Farsi and countless other languages. Seriously, people come from everywhere to experience this rare pocket of paradise in the high desert---especially in fall. You'll see why about 10 minutes into the hike.
LENGTH: 3.3 miles one-way (on trail) OR up to 14 miles (with wading, swimming & climbing)
ELEVATION: 5,280’ – 5,520’
RATING: easy (on trail), moderate –difficult beyond trail’s end
KID FRIENDLY: yes
DOGS: must be on leash
From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to exit 298 (Oak Creek-Sedona) for SR 179. Go left (west) on SR179 and continue to the “Y” intersection with SR89A in Sedona. Veer right (northeast) on 89A and go 10.5 miles to the Call of the Canyon Day Use Area (between mileposts 384 & 385) on the left (west) side of the road. Roads are 100% paved.
FEE: $9 daily fee per vehicle. $2 per-person-daily-fee for walk-in or bike-in.
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (summer), 9 a.m. to dusk (winter). The gate usually opens around 8 a.m.. Use the self-pay kiosk if an attendant is not available. The parking lots fills up quicky on weekends and high seasons---so arrive early.
INFO: Coconino National Forest, Red Rock Ranger District