Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon is a gorge carved into the edge of the Mogollon Rim of the Colorado Plateau along the Oak Creek Fault. Tectonic forces shifting the land to either side of the fault and subsequent erosion by Oak Creek have created a spectacular canyon where the geologic history of this area is an open book.

The Canyon is approximately 12 miles long. Oak Creek flows year-round along the bottom of the Canyon, providing water for plants and wildlife, as well as fishing and swimming opportunities. Oak Creek continues on through Sedona, Arizona, meeting up with the Verde River southeast of Cottonwood, Arizona.

The depth of the Canyon ranges from 800 to 2000 feet, with trails providing access from the Canyon’s bottom up to the 6500-foot eastern rim and 7200-foot western rim. Some of these trails follow historic routes early Oak Creek Canyon settlers used to access the top of the plateau in the days before the road was built. Trails on the west side of the Canyon head into Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness.

At a glance

  • Arizona State Route 89A winds through the bottom of the canyon. This scenic route connects Flagstaff and Sedona.
  • The canyon is 12 miles long, and anywhere from 800' to 2000' deep.
  • There are several picnic areas and campgrounds in the canyon.
  • The boundary of Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness is on the west side of the canyon. 

Rules & Restrictions

  • A Red Rock Pass is required to park along the road, and at day use sites and trailheads in the canyon.
  • Call of the Canyon (West Fork), Grasshopper Point, and Slide Rock State Park are special fee areas, requiring an additional fee to enter.
  • Camping is only allowed at developed campgrounds.
  • Mechanized equipment, including mountain bikes and remote-control aircraft, are not allowed in Wilderness Areas.

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