Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

November 25, 2011

Hikers Enjoy Great Views In Boynton Canyon


by Barbara O'Connor

One of the more popular places to hike in Sedona is Boynton Canyon. The beautiful red buttes and towering cliffs with a variety of formations reminded me why I enjoy this area so much.

Boynton Canyon was named after John Boeington, a horse rancher, who had a winter camp in the canyon in the late 1880's. In 1922, Mable A. Ross was deeded 52 acres in Boynton Canyon. Edward Marsland build a 9000 square foot estate in 1962, which became the John Gardiner Enchantment Tennis Camp in 1987. Today that area is the Enchantment Resort.

The trails in Boynton Canyon provide an abundance of expansive views of canyon walls, cliffs, and varying colors against usually blue sky, making the area a favorite of hikers. The sculpting of buttes and the mesa walls by erosion invites fanciful descriptive naming of several spots. The Sedona Westerners enjoyed the above view looking toward the Southwest.

So it was on a crisp Tuesday morning that the Dogies of the Sedona Westerners Hiking Club embarked on an adventure into the canyon. I, (Barbara O’Conner) and Mary McCaffrey were leaders; we had as our tailgaters' Mickey Gershtenson and Kwi Johnson. This trail into the wilderness is rated difficult due to rock scrambles and ledges, with a length of about 6.46 miles roundtrip. The route we took started on the Boynton Canyon Trail, going around the Enchantment Resort and beyond. We did notice that in some areas there was an abundance of rocks along the trail and accounted that to all the rain we have had this fall. The vegetation has thrived with all this moisture as well.

As we weaved through the Manzanita there was still some dew on the leaves, so we did get a bit wet. Down into a wash and through a large grove of towering trees we trekked. This was the easy part of the hike. Those of us that have been on this hike before knew that it wouldn't be long before we would be changing our elevation approximately 1,096 feet, but not all at once.

Our first climb brought us to our mid-morning break. The formation we sat by reminds me of a large ocean liner that has somehow found itself dry-docked in the middle of a desert. We had a break under its bow and then proceeded to walk along the bottom starboard of the ship. Some vegetation was hanging from the curvature of rock. The next section of the hike took us up a steep climb to the stern of the ship. There was an abundance of loose rock but the dampness made the climb easier.

We were then on the slick rock buttes with some ledges, surrounded by exceptional views of Boynton Canyon. There was one more climb to get to our lunch spot and final destination. Again our climb was made easier by the dampness. As we were making our ascent to our final destination, we enjoyed the occasional Helicopter not only checking out the view but our group as well.

After all the exertion the much needed lunch and rest was very pleasant. Although the group was reluctant to hurry from the spot, it was getting late and we needed to move on. The return trip for me is so much easier but there were areas where descending is more precarious. We all returned to our cars safely after a wonderful day in Boynton Canyon Wilderness. Just another day in paradise!

The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining the club, log onto our website,, for membership information. You may also join at one of our monthly meetings. Our next regular meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 12, beginning at 7p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Sedona and the Verde Valley, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona.