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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Huckaby Trail


There are three things to know before stepping out on the Huckaby Trail.

The leafy corridor of Oak Creek on Huckaby Trail

One, that as-advertised 280 feet of elevation change? You’ll do it 4 times.  Two, there are some moderately steep sections that hang close to precipitous drops offs. And, three, the hike is worth sucking up one and two.  

Part of the hike parallels SR89A in Sedona

While it’s located just inside the boundary of Coconino National Forest and within sight of busy hotels and businesses, the classic hike southeast of uptown Sedona delivers a satisfying outdoor experience. 
Midgely Bridge & Oak Creek seen from Huckaby

The hike begins on the sunny rock shelves above Bear Wallow Canyon gradually dipping downhill on a wide dirt road. At near the half-mile point, the trail crosses the bottom of the canyon and begins its unrelenting cycle of ups-and-downs in the drainage-riffled cliffs above Oak Creek.
A scenic overlook on Huckaby Trail

Twisting through an airy high desert ecozone of yucca, cacti and blooming shrubs, the narrow trail features continually changing vistas of both wilderness peaks and the streams of traffic moving through a bustling resort hub.  
Midgely Bridge towers over Huckaby Trail

Huckaby Trail crosses Bear Wallow Canyon

Midway through the hike, the route traverses a high ledge above the creek. First glimpses of the waterway glint 200 feet below before the trail makes a hard eastward bend and several more swings around crumbling red rock escarpments to land on a scenic edge with views of Midgley Bridge and the iconic Steamboat Rock and Mitten Ridge formations.

Pinon pines shade parts of the trail

The trails crosses Oak Creek below the bridge

From this point, the path spirals downhill along edgy clefts, entering a forest of Arizona cypress and oak trees.  At the 2-mile point, the route meets the floodplain of Oak Creek, but the climbing is not yet over. 
Trail traces cliffs above southeast Sedona

There’s another half mile of trail that hangs on uneven rock shelves that parallel the creek. Here, water-loving sycamores and cottonwoods enter the botanical mix shading an under story of tangled brambles and vines. 
Manzanita is a common shrub on the trail

View of Wilson Mountain from Huckaby Trail

The damp, earthy atmosphere is magical year-round--icy grey in winter, green and vibrant in spring and a canopy of golden foliage in autumn.
View of Mitten Ridge from Huckaby Trail

The cliff hike dissolves into a sandy walk through a small meadow that leads to the banks of the creek beneath Midgley Bridge. 
Oak & sycamore trees line Oak Creek

Steamboat Rock & Wilson Mountain on horizon

For those inclined to rock hop over the water, the trail picks up on the other side and heads uphill again where it ends at the Wilson Mountain trailhead along State Route 89A.
The distinctive seeds of Arizona cypress trees

A winter scene along Oak Creek

LENGTH:  5.6 miles roundtrip

RATING:  moderate

ELEVATION:  4,211 – 4,492 feet (1,157 feet of accumulated elevation change)


From traffic circle located at the Oak Creek bridge on State Route 179 in Sedona, turn right onto Schnebly Hill Road and go one mile to the trailhead on the left.

Roads are suitable for all vehicles. There is a restroom at the trailhead.

FEE: A Red Rock Pass or equivalent is required at the Schnebly Hill trailhead. There is a permit kiosk at the trailhead.

INFO: Coconino National Forest

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