Distant Drums RV Resort
Camp Verde, AZ
October 21, 2022
Call of the Canyon was a silent western movie filmed in 1923 based on a Zane Grey novel of the same name. The setting for the film was in Oak Creek Canyon and it is credited with being the first movie filmed in Sedona. We have hiked the canyon twice...first in April 2014 and second in May of 2015. Spring is definitely a great time to visit, but I always wanted to return in the fall. Our two week get away was quickly planned when I mentioned to Joe that I would love to return to Oak Creek Canyon for a fall hike. This was the year !
|Sunrise as we drove north on I 17 towards Sedona.|
We headed out just before 7:00 am. West Fork Trail is about 10 miles north of Sedona on Hwy 89A so it was a bit of a drive from Camp Verde. No worries...well, at least not for me as my responsibility was to take photos along the way. First few miles were on AZ State Route 179 or Red Rock Scenic Byway.
|Bell Rock and Courthouse Rock on Hwy 179 going into Sedona.|
A right turn in the center of Sedona onto Highway 89A goes all the way to Flagstaff. Oak Creek Canyon is about 10 miles north of Sedona. Rand McNally named Highway 89's panoramic path through Oak Creek one of the most beautiful drives in America...designating it Arizona's first scenic route.
It is hard to take in all the sights as you wind and twist around hairpin curves.
Parking for the hike is $11. It is best to go early to get a parking space and beat the crowds. I am already excited when we get there...and have to remind myself to breath.
From the parking lot, there is a paved trail that meanders thru an apple orchard, over Oak Creek, and among the crumbling remains of old buildings built sometime in the 1870s.
Carl Mayhew, a photographer on the set of Call of the Canyon (1923) was so captivated by the cabin and the surrounding beauty that he purchased the property in 1923.
The cabin was renovated and expanded and in 1926, he opened a bed and breakfast. Over the next decades, notable guests included President Herbert Hoover, Walt Disney, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart. The lodge closed in 1968 and the Mayhew family sold the property to be added to the Coconino National Forest.
West Fork Trail begins shortly after the crumbled remains. The trail is just over 6 miles round trip. We did the 6+ miles back in 2015. Friday's plan was to walk and enjoy with no goal or pressure to finish.
No matter what the season, the canyon is noted for its narrow walls, dramatic rock formations, and the changing colors of the cliffs.
The trail is well maintained and mostly easy to traverse.
The creek crossings (there are 13 of them if you go to the end) are a little more tricky. Some are harder than others...
And sometimes, climbing out of the creek was tricky.
We stopped a lot to look up.
We stopped a lot to look down.
And we stopped a lot to just take in what was right in front of us.
Oak Creek, time and weather created this narrow, enchanting gorge.
It was a wonderful morning. Chilly from the get go and warmed up nicely. We beat the crowds. I took a kazillion photos. We both managed to finish the hike with dry feet. And the fall colors were better than I had ever hoped for.
Until next time,
HAPPY TRAILS !
P.S. For some reason the photos loose quality when downloading them to the blog. If you click on the photo, the clarity is way better.