Loy Canyon Trail No. 5
This easy trail leads up a desert wilderness canyon offering excellent views not only at trail's end, but all along the way as well. The wide, well constructed path was used by the Samuel Loy family on the 1880's to move their livestock to and from summer pastures on the canyon's rim.
The trail starts out by skirting the fence line of the Hancock Ranch. Sheer cliffs of vermilion and buff sandstone form a colorful backdrop for the desert garden of manzanita, catclaw, cholla and prickly pear that carpets the canyon floor. Natural rock sculptures carved by flash floods and spring runoff that seasonally course down this normally dry streambed provide scenic settings for lunch stops along the way. If there's been a recent rain the sculpture may include a picturesque reflecting pool or a natural bathtub for a cool dip on a hot day. Underground moisture is sufficient year-round to support a desert riparian area rich in bird and other animal life.
Near the end of the canyon, the trail becomes strenuous, completing the majority of the 1680 foot climb to a high saddle that leads to the top of a mesa called Secret Mountain in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. Here you can continue along the Secret Mountain Trail for more spectacular overlooks or catch your breath for the return trip and a different perspective on all that you've passed through on the hike up.
At a Glance
|Closest Towns:||Sedona, AZ|
|Operated By:||Red Rock District - 928-203-2900|
Location: About 45 miles south of Flagstaff (14 miles west of Sedona) on paved and graveled roads. The elevationis 4720 feet.
Access: Drive 35 miles south from Flagstaff through Sedona on US 89A. 5 miles past Sedona turn north on FR 525 and follow the signs toward Loy Butte 9.3 miles to the trailhead. Watch for signs on your right and a parking area on your left just before crossing a cattleguard into the Hancock Ranch.
GPS (Map): 34°55'55.9"N 111°55'30.0"W
- Red Rock Country Maps: Download Red Rock Country trail maps and find other Sedona recreation resources. See the Sedona Northwest and Northeast maps for this trail.
- Forest Service Topo Map (FSTopo Geo-enable PDF):
- Loy Butte (345211152)
- More Maps:
- USDA FSGeodata Clearinghouse: Arizona FSTopo Maps available for download in Geo-enabled PDF and GeoTIFF formats. Note: USGS 7.5 Minute (1:24K) Topo Maps and FSTopo Maps use the same title.
- USFS Store: Map Locator & Downloader purchase or download USGS topographic maps. Note: USGS 7.5 Minute (1:24K) Topo Maps and 1:24K FSTopo Maps use the same title.
Click map thumbnail for larger view.
Rating: Moderately easy (first 3 miles) to strenuous (last two-mile climb up to the cayon rim)
Length: 5 miles
Hiking time: 6 hours round trip
Elevation Gain: 1680 feet
Notes: No motorized vehicles, no mechanized vehicles in Wilderness
Leave No Trace: Recognize your role in preserving wild lands by practicing these Leave No Trace principles:
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
- Dispose of waste properly.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize campfire impacts.
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
This trail is normally dry, requiring backpackers to pack in water.
Most of the year this canyon is dry. Longer trailers (bigger than a 2-horse trailer) are not recommended due to the limited turn-around space. Camping is not permitted at the trailhead.