Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
929.00 ft (283.16 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.35 mi (8.61 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Boynton Canyon Hike leads up the namesake canyon and offers a chance to explore a “secret” cave known as the Subway. This cave isn’t much of a secret anymore, but the junction is unmarked and can be easy to walk past if not looking for it. From the cave you’ll have fantastic views. There are also some Native American ruins nearby.

Begin by parking at the Boynton Canyon Trailhead. This lot fills up quickly, so plan on arriving early in the morning or parking a short distance down on Boynton Pass Road if the lot is full.

The trail begins by heading northeast out of the trailhead, then quickly comes to a junction where you’ll take a left to stay on the Boynton Canyon Trail. This first stretch of trail passes beside the Enchantment Resort that takes away from the feeling of being in the wilderness.

After passing the resort the trail continues up the valley. A few red rock views are found on this stretch, but the vegetation blocks most of the views. At mile 2 you’ll reach the turnoff to Subway Cave. Note that this turnoff is unmarked and easy to miss, in fact there may even be branches laid over the path to try and hide it. Turn right and follow the user trail into the forest. The path can be a little tricky to follow and is a bit overgrown in areas. 

The trail leads to the base of Subway Cave. From the bottom you’d barely be able to tell anything is there, but from the inside it is amazing! The long cave has a ledge on both sides and an opening that runs down the middle. Fantastic views are to be had from the inside, and it is an incredibly photogenic location. The cave can be accessed by climbing up the middle opening, or by walking around on the ledge from the southern side. There are also a few Native American ruins along the ledge to the left of the cave, be sure to check these out while in the area!

When finished exploring the cave, return via the user trail to the Boynton Canyon Trail. If wishing to continue exploring, the trail does continue up the canyon a ways further before dead ending near a viewpoint. Otherwise, retrace your steps and return to the trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Red Rock Pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Stunning “secret” cave with great views. Indian ruins.

Cons

Crowds. First stretch of trail passes by a resort.

Trailhead Elevation

4,528.00 ft (1,380.13 m)

Highest point

5,062.00 ft (1,542.90 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Historically significant
Wildlife
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Cave
Native artifacts
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Red Rock District, Coconino National Forest
Red Rock District, Coconino National Forest

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