Casner Mountain Trail No. 8


View along Casner Mountain Trail No. 8

Originally built to maintain power lines, Casner Mountain Trail offers spectacular views of the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness and Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness and the Verde Valley. The trail follows an old jeep road which still provides access to the power lines and off-highway opportunities for motorized vehicles. Wildlife is abundant, particularly in the winter months. Watch for elk and deer. An occasional bear and even mountain lion are spotted.

The trail begins in high desert vegetation and switchbacks up the side of Casner Mountain. Once on top of the mesa, pinyon/juniper with open grasslands are the norm. Take lots of water especially during the summer months.

  • Hikers and mountain bikers: The ascent is very strenuous and accounts for about 2 miles of the total length. However, once on top the hike/ride is really quite easy to moderate.
  • Motorized vehicles: Casner Mountain Trail is designated as a motorized trail with very rugged conditions along a narrow ridge with limited opportunity for two-way traffic. Gates are closed year round.
    • ATVs/dirtbikes (vehicles less than 62 inches wide): The trail is open year-round between the FR 525C/9529 intersection at the bottom of the mountain, and FR 538B, where the trail enters the Flagstaff Ranger District at the top. There is room to go under or around the gates. During wintertime FR 538B and other roads in this region of the Forest are closed. Check the Red Rock Ranger District Road Status for the status of the gates at either end of Casner Mountain Trail #8 and do not pass the upper gate onto FR 538B when the area is listed as closed for the winter.
    • OHVs/modified 4-wheel drive vehicles (vehicles more than 62 inches wide): A permit is required. The road is only open for permitted access between mid-May and mid-October. Exact dates vary each year. Please see additional details below.

Take a look at our Flickr photo album of Casner Mountain Trail 8 for images of the trail and what you will see!


At a Glance

Permit Info: Permits are free, and reservations must be made in advance. The permit processing may take 2 to 6 weeks, so please plan ahead. Permits will only be issued for groups with at least 3 vehicles and not more than 10 vehicles. Group size may not exceed 25 persons. Only one permit will be issued per calendar week during the open season (mid-May to mid-October). For exact dates and permit reservations, please call (928) 203-2912.
Open Season: Varies, depending on size of OHV. See Information Center section below.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: This is a motorized, multi-use trail open year-round to hikers, mountain bikers, and motorized vehicles less than 62 inches wide. For OHVs and modified 4-wheel drive vehicles greater than 62 inches wide, the trail is only open mid-May to mid-October by permit. BEWARE! This trail requires (at a minimum) 4-wheel drive capability and high-clearance due to its challenging terrain and steep gradients.
Closest Towns: Sedona, Arizona; Flagstaff, Arizona
Operated By: Red Rock Ranger District. Visitor's Center general number: 928-203-2900
Information Center: Casner Mountain Trail gates at the bottom and top of the mountain are physically closed year-round. However, you may take your ATV or bike that is LESS than 62 inches wide under or around this gate any time during the year, as long as the road is not closed for weather or some unforseen circumstance that might close it for use temporarily. For OHVs/full-sized 4-wheel drive vehicles MORE than 62 inches wide, you must obtain a free permit. You will be given the combination for this gate at the time you are issued a permit. Be aware that there are a limited number of permits available each year.

General Information

General Notes:

Hiking rating: Moderate to strenuous

Hiking time: Plan on a full day/overnighter.



Location: About 48 miles south of Flagstaff (17 miles west of Sedona) on paved and graveled roads.


  • From Flagstaff via Sedona: Drive 30 miles south from Flagstaff through Sedona on US 89A. Five miles past Sedona turn north on FR 525 and follow the signs to Sycamore Pass. Turn west on FR 525C and continue for seven miles to the hikers' trailhead. Watch for the trailhead sign on your right where the power line crosses the road.
    • Motorized vehicle access: Continue 1/3 of a mile past the hikers' trailhead. Turn right on FR 9529 for approximately a 1/2 mile to a yellow gate.
  • From Flagstaff via Woody Mountain Road: Drive Woody Mountain Road (FR231) to 231A, to FR538 to FR538B. There is a gate just before the junction with Taylor Cabin Trail. Park in the nearby parking area (do not block the road). The last mile is extremely rough. A high clearance vehicle is required, or park when it gets rough and hike the last mile.


  • South Trailhead (via Sedona) (Map): 34°55'07.8"N 111°58'44.5"W
  • North Trailhead (via Woody Mountain Road) (Map): 34°59'09.8"N 111°56'46.1"W




Click map thumbnail for larger view.

Map showing Casner Mountain Trail Detail map of Casner Mountain Trail No. 8


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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  Area/Length : 
7.0 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
4,837 ft. at south/lower trailhead