Secret Canyon

Location: Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness (Coconino National Forest)
Rating: Basic Canyoneering 2B IV-V
Length: 10-18 hours
Longest Rappel: None
Start: Secret Canyon Trailhead (upper)
End:  Secret Canyon Trailhead (lower)
Permits: None (Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness Pass to enter park)
Wet Suit: Not needed
Shuttle: Yes

Overview: This canyon is approximately 10 miles long with some awesome narrows, pools, lush vegetation, and more. Bring a short length of webbing or rope to aid in some down climbs if there are those in your group who are less experienced. Setting up the shuttle is a kind of a pain since it’s so far out of the way. It’ll take a little over 150 miles to set up the shuttle if you start from Flagstaff. Doing this trip in two days is recommended. Either that, or it’s a very long one day trip and you’ll need to really hump it and still plan on retrieving your shuttle the next day. Camping is permitted only in designated areas since this canyon lies in a national forest and state park. Several campsites are located at the lower end of the Secrete Canyon. If you’re young and spry it’s very possible to do it in one day. You can always explore the lower half of Secret Canyon to avoid a shuttle set up.

Approach: A shuttle needs to be set up at the end. Form Flagstaff head south on I-17 to Hwy 89A. Head to Sedona. From Sedona take Dry Creek Rd north. Dry Creek Rd is on the east end of town. Arroyo Pinion Dr. is the same road on the south side of Hwy89. Drive north 2 miles to Forest service Rd #152 and turn right. Drive another 3.4 miles to the Secret Canyon Trailhead on the left. Leave a car here. Head back to Flagstaff. From Route 66 (just north of Hwy 40), just west of Flagstaff exit Woody Mountain Rd (service rd #231) and head south. After 18 miles you’ll cross West Fork of Oak Creek. Continue south. After 2 more miles you’ll come to a junction where you head right on Fr #231A. Drive 3.1 miles to Fr #538 and head south. Stay right at a junction just a mile down. After another mile stay right again and after 2.4 miles turn right at the last junction. Drive the last 2.7 miles on Fr #538 and park at the Secret Canyon Trailhead. Be careful on your decent. It’s steep and rugged terrain to the east of your parking spot at the top.


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