Updated: Mar 17, 2021
Boynton Canyon Quick Guide Distance: 6.1 miles
Elevation Gain: +-400ft.
Type: Out and back
Family Friendly: Yes, all ages
Dog Friendly: Yes, on a leash
Boynton Canyon trail has been listed as one of Sedona’s top 10 hikes on many websites. After a visit here and it is easy to see why Boynton Canyon is so popular. It’s an easy stroll that offers a luscious desert scenery among the towering buttes, and crimson cliffs that converge into a box canyon at the end. There are also some side trails for a real adventure. A quick eye might also be able to catch a glimpse of wildlife while on this trail. Boynton Canyon has the reputation as one of Sedona’s many vortex sites; a kind of energy field emanating from inner earth. Regardless if one believes in this contemporary mysticism, there is a sense of some kind of magic in Sedona.
Boynton Canyon trail is a wide dusty red path that starts with a low forest of Oak and Pinion Pine. It is slightly elevated above the canyon floor on the east side as it skirts the edge of the Enchantment Resort. The resort conflicts with the wilderness, and the path provides frequent glimpses of landscaped lawns, tennis courts, swimming pools, and other luxury amenities. Some have written the noise from it and the road nearby can be irritating, but it seemed almost unnoticeable to us. We spotted mule deer grazing on the resort lawn, and many others have written that the resort is an easy location for watching the local wildlife.
Shortly after the resort the path curves round a ravine and then drops down to the canyon floor with more shade and the trail becomes easier to navigate. The start of the Canyon passes through mixed vegetation of oaks, opuntia cacti, manzanita, yucca, and eventually changes to groves of towering Ponderosa Pines and Arizona Cypress. As we journeyed back into the canyon the vegetation was thicker and greener, and the temperature of the Canyon dropped. The trail parallels a dry wash and leads us through shady groves of delicious smelling Ponderosa Pines.
Around the three-mile mark the trail begins the gradual climb into the back of the box canyon. At the end of the Boynton Canyon a sign marked the end of the trail welcomed us. We went to the right of the sign and walked slightly upward on the sandstone rock about 100 yards where we reached a large flat area. The end of the Canyon rewarded us with a stunning sweeping view of the canyon we just traversed, and some surreal red rock photos opportunities.
From the end of the Boynton Canyon trail we wondered looking for the Mushroom/Hawkshead Ruins.
Distance: 5.7 miles
Elevation Gain: +-400ft.
Type: Out and back
Difficulty: ⚠️Hard ⚠️
Location: Trail head 34.907816-111.84906
Fork to Subway trail: 34.927147, -111.860636
Family Friendly: 8+
Dog Friendly: No
After seeing a few pictures of the Subway in the photos section on Alltrails.com I added Boynton Canyon to my bucket list. As it turned out, to visit the subway we had to take a side trail that Alltrails has a trail listed as Mushroom/ Hawkshead Ruins, that is where the Subway is located. The trail towards the Subway is not easy to find, and there are no indications on Boynton trail where to access the Subway. There are several paths that leads to nowhere, so when we finally found the path I made sure to mark the GPS location. I recommend using a GPS or an off-line map for locating the fork in the trail . The path to get to the Subway is frankly an off-the-beaten-path trail that requires scrambling and bushwhacking. I do not recommend hiking the Subway with young children or anyone that is not an experienced hiker.
Once we reached the Subway we chose to scramble up from the base. Climbing the crevice will be a difficult task for some people. However, there is another way by climbing a pile of rocks where you can easily access the Hawkshead Ruins, from there you can walk around the edge to the Subway. I have a healthy respect for heights and walking the edge is not an option for me. It was a challenge for me to get up the crevice and even more of a challege to get back down. I do not recommend the Subway or the Hawkshead Ruins if you have a fear of heights, or are in poor physical condition. The beautiful red rock ledges along with desert trees and the uniquely shaped subway cave creates a surreal view that can be admired for hours.
Common hazards found on the trails are exposure, bugs, snakes and falls. Sleeves, pants, and good hiking shoes, hat and GPS are recommended.
Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. You are only as strong as the weakest person in your group. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water, more than what you need. Make an itinerary with your plan(s) and leave it with someone you trust. Our hiking guides are not a replacement for common sense
⚠️When you visit remember to leave no trace, be respectful and do not disturb the native heritage. Leave this beautiful place better than you found it. Treat this natural treasure with the care it deserves and you will have plenty of reasons to come back. ⚠️
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