Hike of the Week: Canyon of Fools Loop near Sedona

Mare CzinarJanuary 2, 2024
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Coconino National Forest, Sedona 

Canyon of Fools might be the weirdest hike in Sedona.  Located in the Mescal Mountain cluster of trails northwest of town, the keynote feature of the route is a gnarly, half-mile walk through a red-earth labyrinth. Unlike other Red Rock Country hikes, this one ditches open air, ooo-ahhh vistas in favor a cloistered trudge through a dirt tunnel.  The trail ducks into a serpentine gulch that morphs from a roomy corridor into a claustrophobic, high-walled canyon with tree roots protruding in arthritic tangles. The half-mile-long canyon-bound trail gradually opens into more conventional high desert terrain to where it meets the Yucca Trail junction.  A loop hike can be made by going either way at the junction, using the Mescal and Yucca Trails to tie it up.  

LENGTH: 3-mile loop 

RATING: moderate 

ELEVATION: 4,440 – 4,640 feet 

GETTING THERE: 

Dawa trailhead: 

From the State Route 179/89A traffic circle in Sedona, go 3.2 miles west (left) on SR 89A to Dry Creek Road. Go 2.8 miles on Dry Creek Road, veer left at the Long Canyon Road junction and continue 0.5-mile on Boynton Pass Road to the parking turnout on the right. A Red Rock Pass is not required at this trailhead. 

MAP: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd490035.pdf