Taylor Cabin Trail No. 35
Just getting to this Sycamore Canyon Wilderness trail is an adventure. This is one of the Forest's most remote and difficult to access trails. The last mile of primitive road that leads to the trailhead is a place of tire bruising rocks and bottom scraping ruts. Actually, it might be a good idea to hike or mountain bike it, so you don't abuse your vehicle driving it. Don't try it at all without a sturdy, high clearance vehicle. There is a Forest Service/APS gate about 300 yards from the trailhead sign.
Once you get to the trailhead you'll forget all about that rocky ride. The view is magnificent! You can see into Mooney Canyon, part of the lower Oak Creek basin, and Sycamore Canyon at the same time. In Sycamore, sheer walls, towering buttes, teetering pinnacles, and huge lava flows stretch to the horizon.
Taylor Cabin Trail provides good views of all this, then drops into a sheltered drainage it follows to the canyon floor. The steepest part of the climb is mercifully shaded by Douglas firs and ponderosa pines. At trail's end, on the floor of Sycamore Canyon, you'll find everything associated with a desert river except the river itself. Rounded boulders and gnarled sycamore trees attest to the fact that water flows here regularly, but unless you come during the snowmelt or after a thunderstorm, you won't see it. Some of the larger pools hold water into late spring, but eventually they all dry up.
Taylor Cabin, a historic old rancher's shack listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is about a mile and half downstream. You can either boulder hop down the stream bed to it or follow the Sycamore Basin Trail. That trail is directly across the main stream bed from the end of the path you have just walked down. Following the trail is the best way of finding the cabin, otherwise you could boulder hop right past it.
At a Glance
|Current Conditions:||During the winter, roads leading into the area are closed to vehicles. Road closures.|
|Best Season:||April - November|
|Closest Towns:||Sedona, AZ, and Flagstaff, AZ|
|Operated By:||Red Rock District 928-203-2900 or Flagstaff Ranger District 928-526-0866|
Location: 30 miles south of Flagstaff on graveled and dirt forest roads.
- From Flagstaff: drive south 20.8 miles on FR 231 (Woody Mountain Road). Turn right on FR231A past the Turkey Butte Lookout Tower and drive 3.3 miles to FR 538. Follow this road 3 miles south past FR 538H (to Winter Cabin Trailhead) and a number of unmarked Forest Roads (when in doubt stay with the power line). Do not try to drive beyond the parking area under the power line at mile 2.9. From here, it's only a few hundred yards to the trailhead. At the trailhead, take the path that leads to the right behind the sign. The one to the left is a dead end.
- Alternative Route - Casner Mountain Trail: Horseback riders, backpackers, bikers, and off-road vehicles less than 50" wide can take Casner Mountain Trail from Sedona to the trailhead. Be advised there is no water along this route, so carry enough water to complete the 20 mile round-trip. Vehicles, including bikes, are not allowed on Taylor Cabin Trail.
- Alternative Route - Mooney Trail: Hikers, backpackers, and horseback riders can take strenuous 4.5 mile Mooney Trail to the trailhead. Be advised there is no water along this route, so carry enough water to complete the 15 mile round-trip.
GPS (Map): 34°59'09.8"N 111°56'46.1"W
- Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Map: available from local Forest Service Offices
- Forest Service Topo Map (FSTopo Geo-enable PDF):
Click map thumbnail for a larger view.
Rating: Very strenuous
Hiking Time: 6+ hours round trip
Road Status and Trail Information:
While lower Sycamore Canyon Wilderness and Taylor Cabin Trail are in the Red Rock District, the primary access uses roads in the Flagstaff Ranger District.
- Road status: Flagstaff Ranger District 928-526-0866
- Trail information: Red Rock District 928-203-2900
- This trail has several places erroded by precipitation and is over grown in places by vegitation.
- No mechanized vehicles including bicycles in the Wilderness.
- Fire danger is usually high - be careful with campfires.
- Camp at least 200 feet from springs and bury human waste 200 feet from springs. Pack out all trash.
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