Sunday, May 3, 2015

Call of the Canyon...West Fork Trail

Distant Drums RV Resort
Camp Verde, AZ
April 29, 2015

Call of the Canyon is a novel written by Zane Gray in 1924 and became the first of many Hollywood films made in Red Rock Country that same year. This canyon has become my favorite Sedona hike! 
Before the "true" trail begins there are points of interest...

twisted, gnarly apple trees that were planted by the first settlers (1880s) in the area line the path...

 ...majestic cliff walls on your right lure you in...

and the sound of running water on your left lets you know it is OK to relax, take your time and enjoy!

Another spot is the ruins of the home of Bear Howard...who was a fugitive from California. Arriving in West Fork in 1879 on the run from the law, he made his home here.  

Years later his home became Mayhem Lodge and was quite famous for it's hospitality serving as a get away for movie stars and diplomats. 

Just past the ruins the trail turns right and the hike begins following West Fork as it flows through a deep, forested canyon. After we did this trail last year, a fire which originated in near by Slide Rock State Park burned about 21,000 acres. West Fork lay directly in the path of the blaze, but was spared. The beginning of the trail showed the most signs of fire... bare trees, lots more sunlight and a thick blanket of green ferns covered the ground.

There is so much beauty here. Looking up, I especially love the contrast of the cliff walls and the blue sky with clouds floating by.

The red rock is a pretty backdrop for young tree leaves.

Over time the creek has carved the cave like appearance revealed in this picture.  I love it !

 This canyon hike simply grabs my attention and heart at every turn.  

We passed a forestry volunteer with bucket in hand.  He was collecting various moss and lichen for a park study on the different varieties found in the canyon. 

West Fork Trail is rated an easy/longer hike at 6.6 miles round trip.  We hurried last year when we did it in order to make it to the end in our allotted 6 hour window which included a two hour round trip drive from home. This year we decided to take our time and enjoy. We came within a half mile of the finish and had a wonderful time. Last years post is in the archives from April 2014.

 What a wonderful, peaceful day...until next time, happy days and...

happy trails!


  1. We've never done this trail, Gay. It sounds and looks fantastic. You certainly did a wonderful job capturing the uniqueness of the hike. Love the variation in the rock walls. Great shot of the water spider and its shadow:) Everything is so green. Thanks for sharing:)

    1. Hope next time you are in Sedona, you and John can do West Fork Pam. It is not hard or long, just beautiful! I wish we could hike it in the fall...the maple trees would be quite a sight in their fall colors.

  2. Looks like you found another place to spend time on a beautiful day. Great photos, again.

  3. Beautiful shots of such a lovely place! Those Orioles are so striking against the forest background!

    1. Thank you Lisa. We heard lots of birds, but didn't see many. Lucky I got the Orioles and Robin.

  4. Love, love, love the photo of the water-skipper and his shadow!