Sycamore Canyon Wilderness

In the Coconino, Kaibab, and Prescott national forests in the U.S. state of Arizona, there is a wilderness area called Sycamore Canyon that is 56,000 acres (22,662 hectares) in size. This wilderness lies about 40 miles (64 km) south-west of Flagstaff and comprises Sycamore Canyon and its environs from south of Williams to the juncture of Sycamore Creek with the Verde River. The Mogollon Rim is pierced by a number of canyons in Arizona.   The following USGS map quadrangles are noteworthy: Clarkdale, Davenport Hill, White Horse Lake, May Tank Pocket, Perkinsville, Sycamore Basin. Sycamore Canyon Wilderness is bordered to the east by Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness.

As seen from the top of Casner Mountain off Forest Road 538B. Taken on 4-26-13 by Brady Smith. Credit: U.S. Forest Service, Coconino National Forest.
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness
IUCN category Ib (wilderness area)
Map showing the location of Sycamore Canyon WildernessShow map of the United StatesShow map of ArizonaShow all
LocationCoconino and Yavapai counties, Arizona, United States
Nearest cityClarkdale
Coordinates34°59′17″N 111°59′18″WCoordinates34°59′17″N 111°59′18″W
Area55,937 acres (22,637 ha)
Governing bodyU.S. Forest Service
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness

The wilderness is home to a wide variety of animals, including ring-tailed cats, black bears, mountain lions, elk, deer, rattlesnakes, scorpions, canyon wrens, and hermit thrushes. Stands of pine, fir, sycamore, walnut, and cottonwood are among the vegetation, which changes with elevation and the availability of water. Red sandstone, white limestone, and brown lava are all exposed in various places along the canyon walls. Dispersed camping is permitted in certain areas of the wilderness, and many pathways allow both horseback riding and hiking.


Higher reaches of the wilderness are traversed via a network of paths that span 11.3 miles (18.2 km) and include the Kelsey, Dorsey, Winter Cabin, Little Lo, and Hog Hill. The longest of these, Kelsey Trail, descends through a forest of juniper, Gambel oak, and ponderosa pine before entering chaparral at lower elevations. It is 5.6 miles (9.0 km) long.

Trails in the upper canyon connect to those farther down the river. One of them is the 2.9-mile (4.7-km) Taylor Cabin Trail, which takes hikers to a cabin used in the past by cowboys who used the canyon to pasture their cattle. The cabin is a recognised historic site on the National Register of Historic Places. It can also be reached from downstream by the Sycamore Basin Trail, which intersects with other routes including the Dogie Trail, which descends into the canyon from Sycamore Pass, north-west of Sedona, for roughly 5.5 miles (8.9 km).

The Kaibab National Forest’s Sycamore Rim Trail is an 11-mile (18-kilometer) loop. The relatively flat loop can be reached from a number of trailheads, with elevations varying from 6,700 to 7,287 feet (2,042 to 2,221 m). A large portion of the trail winds through ponderosa pine forests; in other places, it crosses meadows or traverses mesas blanketed in desert vegetation like agave. The southern portion of the circle travels along the northern edge of the wilderness, following the canyon’s rim. Mountain biking and hiking are both permissible on the trail sections that are not in a wilderness area.

Upstream from Clarkdale and Tuzigoot National Monument to Parson Spring, the Parsons Trail follows lower Sycamore Creek for about 4 miles (6 km), passing close to the Verde River. Around seeps, the flora includes plants like columbine and watercress and other flora ranges from cottonwoods to mesquite. The sides of the canyon are formed by colourful rock formations, some of which contain caves. Otters and great blue herons are just two examples of the wildlife that might call this section of the stream home because to the constant flow of water. In the wilderness downstream of Parson Spring, camping is prohibited.

See also


Reading – Sycamore Canyon Wilderness. (2022, March 19). In Wikipedia.

‌ image 1 By Brady Smith; Coconino National Forest – Panorama of Sycamore Canyon WildernessUploaded by AlbertHerring, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Image 2 detailmap-sycamorecanyonpark. (2023). Available at: [Accessed 9 Mar. 2023].

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