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Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
11.00 mi (17.70 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 Secret Canyon Trail is no secret. Its namesake, Secret Mountain, earned its title by being hidden among the other peaks and canyon headwalls in the surrounding area. What does keep this hike mostly quiet, however, is the rough road leading to the trailhead. Without a high-clearance vehicle and the know-how to use it, you'll need to add 6 miles (three in each direction) to the total distance of this hike.

If you can gain access to this lonely trailhead, then you're likely to find the closest thing to solitude in this extremely popular hiking area. The trail begins in a brushy forest, providing a little shade as you start the hike. Soon the views open up in front of you. Towering red rock sculptures stand up above the greenery. The best views come in the first couple of miles. After the junction with the David Miller Trail, the route takes on a very different character. The canyon fills in with trees. Various pine and juniper trees grow tall and wide. Shrubs, wildflowers and ferns carpet the ground. Through the trees there are occasional glimpses of the red canyon walls to remind you you're still in Sedona. Otherwise the dry forest closes in on you, seemingly transporting you to another world.

Continue long enough and you'll find pools, slot canyons, and even running water (depending on the season).

The entirety of the Secret Canyon Trail can be done in a day, but there are other options. There are a few decent places to camp back in the canyon to turn it into an overnight trip. Or hike in only as far as you'd like, instead of walking the full 11 (or 17) miles. You could also make a 6.2-mile loop out of Secret Canyon - David Miller - Bear Sign - Dry Creek trails.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Winter
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Quiet. Great views.

Cons

Access via a rough four-wheel drive road.

Trailhead Elevation

4,673.00 ft (1,424.33 m)

Highest point

5,000.00 ft (1,524.00 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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

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