A Rainy Day in Boynton Canyon

October 20, 2023

By Annette Such

Red Rocks tower over the Enchantment Resort as seen from Boynton Canyon Trail, which the Rustlers group of the Sedona Westerners hiked on an overcast day in late September.

On an overcast morning in late September, the Rustlers group of the Sedona Westerners headed off to explore Boynton Canyon. A light rain was falling, which the weather forecasters estimated would end shortly after we began at 7:30 a.m. However, the rain did not stop – but we didn’t let that stop us. 

Boynton Canyon is one of the most popular of Sedona’s box canyons. Even with light rain falling, the parking lot at the trailhead was full when we pulled in. We ended up parking available along Dry Creek Road which added about a half mile to our hike. 

Not far from the Boynton Canyon Trailhead, the trail splits. If you go to the right, you’ll join Deadman’s Pass. That trail intersects with the Mescal and Long Canyon Trails. The trail to the left continues the Boynton Canyon Trail toward the Boynton Vista Trail and beyond – which is what we did. The trail passes by the Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa, but soon we were enveloped by the serene ambiance of the Coconino National Forest, Red Rock Secret Mountain.

The Boynton Canyon Trail is mostly flat as you travel along the canyon floor and trees provide lots of shade. The rain that day kept us nice and cool. The trail is well-maintained, and we navigated the rocks, sandy patches, and about a dozen stairs. We found our hiking poles very useful in those places. The trail narrows in places but opens up regularly. One of the most striking features of this trail is the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you at every turn in the canyon. As usual in beautiful Sedona, we were treated to towering red rock formations, such as the Warrior and Kachina Woman, early in the trail. According to Hopi legend, the Kachina woman watched over humans and protected the beauty of the earth. She has performed her job well as throughout the hike the canyon never fails to impress with the beautiful red rock all around.

Beyond its physical beauty, Boynton Canyon Trail is renowned for its spiritual significance. Native American tribes, including the Sinagua and the Yavapai, considered this canyon a place of great spiritual power.

Many of the hikers who hike Boynton Canyon come to visit one of the side paths off the main trail, but our goal was to explore further into the canyon. While the tree-lined path and steep canyon walls might now have the social-media-wow-pop of the side trail, the journey into the canyon offers breathtaking views of the high canyon walls. And there was a peaceful serenity as we walked the path deeper into the canyon. A road less traveled is nonetheless spectacular. We were treated to the yellow beauty of the Broom Snakeweed in bloom, impressive Ponderosa pines, and even a mule deer doe making her way to morning chow.

The Boynton Canyon Trail is a versatile hiking option suitable for all experience levels. The main trail extends for approximately 6 miles round trip, but you can tailor your hike to your fitness level and time constraints as we did. We took a leisurely pace to do just about 5 miles round trip in about 2.5 hours.

Our morning hike was thoroughly enjoyable with good company and beautiful views, despite the rain. The Boynton Canyon Trail is a remarkable hiking experience that seamlessly combines stunning natural beauty, spiritual energy, and historical significance. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a spiritual seeker, or simply looking for a peaceful escape, this trail offers something for everyone. Even as we finished our hike several hours later, we passed even more hikers heading out on the trail – once again confirming the trail’s popularity.

To learn more about the Sedona Westerners Hiking Club, view this season’s hiking schedule, or to become a member go to www.sedonawesterners.org. The hiking season runs through May 9, 2024, and the membership fee is only $30 for the whole season.

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