Fall Scenic Drives
Late September through mid-October is the best time to visit Sedona to see the fall leaves change color. Plan a leaf-peeping trip to Sedona that revolves around a scenic drive though Oak Creek Canyon on Highway 89A north towards Flagstaff. Start your fall colors trip with a drive up the canyon up the switchbacks, perfect for viewing and photographing the canyon walls and plateau of the Coconino National Forest in all their autumnal glory.
Make sure to stop at the Oak Creek Vista about half-way between Sedona and Flagstaff on Highway 89A for a great picture-taking opportunity and a chance to get out of the car and smell the crisp, clean fall air.
This drive is 28 miles (about 40 minutes) from Sedona toward Flagstaff on Highway 89A. You may choose to turn around and drive back the same route (56 miles, 1 hour 20 minutes), or take I-17 south 40 miles to exit 298 for Highway 179. Take Highway 179 approximately 14 miles north to Sedona (82 miles, 2.5 hours.)
Other great leaf viewing and photography drives include a jaunt up Dry Creek Road to Boynton Canyon Road or a drive around the Red Rock Loop. Dry Creek Road and Red Rock Loop Road are both west of westbound Highway 89A.
Best Fall Hike in Sedona
A favorite fall hike is the West Fork Oak Creek trail. Due to the Slide fire in 2014, the density of the trees may be slightly less than usual, but it's still the best trail to enjoy the gold and crimson leaves of fall along Oak Creek. You'll be walking between the gently flowing Oak Creek stream and the steep walls of the canyon, while surrounded by the fall colored leaves chattering in the wind. This truly a beautiful and magical place, so please take extra care to not litter.
17.5 miles south of Flagstaff (9.5 miles north of Sedona) on paved roads in scenic Oak Creek Canyon.
GPS: N34° 59' 25.3314", W-111° 44' 14.244"
Access: Drive south 17.5 miles south from Flagstaff or north 9.5 miles from Sedona to about halfway between milepost 385 and 384. The trailhead is on the west side of the highway down a paved lane that leads behind a few creekside houses. Park at the Call O' The Canyon day-use area.
Hiking time: 2-3 hours round trip
Notes: No mechanized vehicles in Wilderness.
This trail can become extremely crowded, especially on summer weekends.
It will be closed during times of high fire danger, usually in late June.
Dogs must remain leashed at all times.