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, but access can be gained by the following:
    • 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 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. 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 under the Permit Info section under "At a Glance" below.

Some helpful points to remember: 

  • Keep in mind, the permit processing may take 2 to 6 weeks, so plan accordingly.
  • Permits will be mailed. When received, it must be signed and be in your possession while traveling on the road.
  • Only one group permit will be issued per calendar week during the open season, allowing for a one-day visit.
  • NO CAMPING OR CAMPFIRES allowed between the gates for permit holders.
  • No less than 3 vehicles, no more than 10 vehicles and groups smaller than 25. Permit holders may be asked to combine groups on specific weekends.
  • Both gates have combination locks that can be opened with the same combo that is published on the permit.
  • Any questions on Casner Mountain road or the permit system can be directed to 928-203-2912. ONLY PHONE CALLS WILL BE ACCEPTED TO RESERVE YOUR PERMIT!

At a Glance

Current Conditions: This road/trail is open and closed. What does that mean? Click on the link to the left to see more detailed information as to what type of vehicles can access this road/trail and when.
Operational Hours: Casner Mountain Trail No. 8 is open during permit season in late April. Roads are currently inaccessible as of 2/17/23. 
Fees: Free!
Permit Info: The Casner Mountain Motorized Trail #8 permit season opens for reservations 8:30 a.m. Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Call 928-203-2912.
Important dates and times:
  • Thursday, March 9, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. is the starting point for reserving weeks 1-11, May 8-July 23.
  • Thursday, June 8, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. is the starting point for reserving weeks 12-22, July 24-October 8.
What to do:
  • Only telephone calls will be accepted to reserve your permit.
  • When you call, after you receive one of the 22 weeks, tell us, approximate number of people and vehicles.
  • Please be patient and keep trying the  phone number above, EMAILS/TEXT MESSAGES/VOICEMAILS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AS A WAY OF GETTING A PERMIT!
What not to do:
  • Anyone requesting a permit before the initial reservation period, will not be accepted.
  • For example, do not call on March 9, asking to reserve any dates after July 23, those will not be accepted nor recorded.
Standard Regulations:
  1. No permits are required for vehicles less than 62 inches wide.
  2. For vehicles more than 62 inches wide, the permit season for 2023 is May 8-October 8.
  3. No camping or campfires allowed between the gates for all public and permit holders.
  4. The free Permit is valid for one day during the week-long reservation. Permit reservations are from Monday-Sunday.
  5. No less than (3) three vehicles and no more than (10) ten. Group size cannot exceed (25) twenty-five people.
  6. Permits will be mailed; when received, please sign it, and have it on your person while traveling on the Casner Mountain Trail.
  7. Both gates (upper and lower) have combination locks that can be opened with the same combo. Your gate combination is published on your permit.
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. If your ATV or bike is LESS than 62 inches wide, you may take it under or around this gate any time during the year except when it is closed for weather, unforeseen circumstances, or 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


Mountain Biking

Day Hiking

OHV Road Riding

Special permit program for full-sized 4-wheel drive vehicles

The Red Rock Ranger District offers free--but required--permits for full-size, high clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles that are over 62" wide for use of this trail between mid-May and mid-October. Permits will only be issued for groups with at least three vehicles and not more than ten vehicles. Group size may not exceed 25 persons. Only one permit will be issued per calendar week. Allow two to six weeks for permit processing. Permits will not be issued for commercial use, nor for overnight camping. The gates are closed and locked, but permit-holders will receive the combination. Call (928) 203-2912 to request a permit.

Reservation required?: Y
Permit required?: Y

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
7.0 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
4,842 ft. - 6,573 ft.