Monday, May 11, 2015

Boynton Canyon Trail

Distant Drums RV Resort
Camp Verde, AZ
May 10, 2015

Today we hiked Boynton Canyon, my second favorite Sedona trail. Last year when we were there we had to cut the hike short due to strong winds blowing in dark clouds and what appeared to be the possibility of thunder storms. Today dawned with blue skies, fluffy clouds, a nice breeze, and two eager hikers ready for the 6.3 mile round trip into a canyon I think of as a little bit of heaven. 
Robert on the Vista
But first, a story about a thoughtful person.  When we arrived at the trail parking lot, we found it full but for one spot created by someone who had parked as close to the outside edge of one of the parking sections as possible.  Joe and I noted to one another how considerate that individual was.  At the end of our hike we came out of the trail to the parking lot now full of empty spaces and the car we had parked next to upon our arrival.  The owner walked up at the same time and Joe complimented him for his thoughtfulness.  I immediately recognized him as the man who last year gave me a small red rock shaped into a heart.  His name is Robert and during our conversation he revealed that he comes every day he can to his perch and plays his Siyotank (flute).  When he meets folks along the way, he gives them a heart and wishes them a good day.  He sits high on his perch (the Vista) and plays his flute.  The very peaceful sound carries in the wind to hikers on the trail.  His purpose for playing is to channel Reiki ( a Japanese word meaning "universal life")...a healing energy he believes he passes to everyone and everything through his music.  His hearts represent "unconditional love" which he says is the only way to change the world "one heart at the time". 

Kachina Woman

Just to the left of the Vista is a formation known as Kachina Woman. A sign points left and Boynton Canyon Trail begins.

The first section of trail is wide open with little shade. There were a few private homes on our left we could choose to admire or ignore. The red rock rising high above, though, is full of interest and all I need to keep my eyes busy. 

 A right turn headed us in a north direction...this is one of my favorite parts of the trail. The east and west walls of the canyon narrow, and there are enough ups and downs to get the heart pumping a little faster. 

 Then, out of nowhere a stretch of straight sandy trail lined with manzanita bushes/small trees. Locals call this "Boynton Bowling Alley". This sandy chute offers new views of higher, white sandstone ridges. 

Boynton Bowling Alley

A couple of turns later, the terrain completely changes. We were in a forest of Ponderosa Pines and Arizona Cypress. Scrub Oaks and Maple trees lined the path. The air was pleasantly cool with the smell of evergreens and moist dirt. The spotted towhees serenaded us. What a beautiful song they sing! Wildflowers, "new growth" green, and cliff walls kept me camera happy! 

 The last section of trail feels uphill with more than half the 670 feet of vertical gain. Steps are high, the trail is very narrow as the leafy canyon closes in, and the trail criss-crosses a dry creek. The final 90 feet are a winding ascent sharp uphill that took us above the tree line to an open red rock hillside. 

There is a sign indicating the "End of Trail". 

A natural ledge on the red rock is great for sitting...a perfect place to take in the canyon we just hiked and the majestic walls above. 

We also enjoyed the antics of a squirrel and towhee...

 Even though the return route is the same, the lighting and the views are so different. We highly recommend Boynton Canyon if you are in the area. The parking lot is small (only 27 spaces) so early arrival is key. 

Until next time, happy days and...

happy trails!


  1. What gorgeous photos you brought back with you. There's no doubt you had a great time collecting those photos and going on that hike.

  2. Love that hike! What a sweet photo of you and Joe!

    Love the story of Robert, what a wonderful person.

  3. What a nice hike:) So very glad to see that Joe is back in form and you are able to makes these climbs:) Beautiful photo of the two of you!

    I would have enjoyed the flute music as I went along a trail.

  4. So enjoy your hikes and commentary and especially the view from your lens. We aren't going to be able to keep up with you in the San Juans.

  5. One word comes to mind, Breathtaking!