A great medley of fall color along the West Fork hiking trail in Oak Creek Canyon

It’s no surprise that the leafy West Fork Trail in picturesque Oak Creek Canyon is one of the top hiking trails in all of Arizona. Each summer, thousands and thousands of tourists and locals alike take the scenic drive down the canyon to enjoy the beauty of this unusual Arizona hiking trail. The West Fork Trail is located on the scenic Oak Creek Canyon drive, a gorgeous 14 mile long canyon located between Flagstaff and Sedona. This drive is frequently regarded as one of the most scenic in the country.

Due to the changing altitude and temperatures, the scenery varies vastly along this drive. Incredible views range from rare ponderosa pine forests, to towering red rock formations, to beautiful canopies of lush green deciduous trees. Beautiful Oak Creek, flowing on the bottom of the canyon, is one of the few year-round streams found in Arizona.

Beautiful Oak Creek Canyon

A scenic overlook along Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive in Arizona
Beautiful trees on Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive in Sedona, Arizona
Beautiful red rock views along Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive near Sedona, Arizona

A summer hike along the West Fork Trail is a magnificent experience. The shady tree coverage provides a nice escape from the endless summer heat. Daytime temps in Sedona are relentlessly hot, sometimes pushing 95+ degrees for weeks on end. To top it off, the majority of the trails in town offer little to no shade.

However, the West Fork Trail offers a drastically different setting than the dry red rock trails. There are 13 fun creek crossings to challenge yourself to along the 3.5 mile out-and-back journey. Along the way, you’ll be able to take in the beauty of the towering canyon walls. Peaceful flowing creeks add a sense of tranquility. Temps are much cooler here and little sunlight ever reaches the canyon, making it an ideal escape during Sedona’s hot summer months.

Stunning Red Rock Views & Peaceful Creeks

Amazing red rock views along The West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon
Quiet creek views along the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon
Gorgeous red rock views on the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon
Creek crossing on the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon

Why Fall is the best time to plan your West Fork hike

Colorful fall foliage along the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon

When Northern Arizona’s beautiful fall season arrives, the leaves of the oaks and maple along the West Fork trail begin to transform into gorgeous hues of red, orange, and gold. The ponderosa pines contrast dramatically when mixed amongst the colorful autumn leaves. The West Fork’s immense popularity comes from the fact that it is one of few trails in the state to offer the type of fall foliage you would typically only see out East. While neighboring Flagstaff offers the most dazzling fall foliage in Arizona, this is solely in the form of golden aspen trees. If you are looking for something a bit more traditional, then the West Fork is the better option.