Best Backpacking in Coconino National Forest
Arizona Trails

The Dogie Trail (116)

If you want a overnight backpacking trip in one of the most remote places near Sedona Arizona, then take a off road drive on FR 525c and hike The Dogie Trail in the Coconino National Forest. The Dogie Trail offers hikers and backpackers a chance to experience the scenic views of the famous red rocks surrounding Sedona without all of the visiting crowds. In fact, you probably won’t see a sole. The trail snakes into the heart of the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness eventually connecting to the Sycamore Basin Trail and Taylor Cabin Trail. The Dogie Trail is approximately 5.5 miles but other map data shows the trail as 6 miles long. The trail begins at the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness boundary, at a saddle several hundred yards from where you should park your vehicle. Expect panoramic views as the trail descends from the saddle and follows hilly contours, with each turn offering a slightly new host of plants and terrain. The trail frequently drops into washes only to climb back up the other side, so expect moderate and consistent ups and downs. Be prepared for a rugged, moderate-to-strenuous hike with zero sources of water and few spots for shade. Make sure you take lots of water for this hike especially during late spring to early fall months. Temperatures quite often exceed 110 degrees in the canyon bottom.

The Dogie Trail

Then, after almost two hours of hiking, you’ll come to a ridge that marks the final descent. The rest of the route winds through tall grasses and thorny brambles before arriving at Sycamore Creek, which is normally dry. There is a large campsite to the LEFT of the Dogie Trail right before it drops down into Sycamore Creek. There is another campsite on the other side of the creek. At this crossing, the creek is lined with the canyon’s signature trees. And the bed is mostly rocks, ranging in size from cue balls to bowling balls to bigger than a bread truck.

Although the creek makes an obvious turnaround point, the Dogie Trail continues up the opposite bank for another 10 minutes to an intersection with the Sycamore Basin Trail.

The Dogie Trail
Dropping down on the Dogie Trail to Sycamore Creek

This trail is part of the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Southeast Trails. The lower, southern part of Sycamore Canyon Wilderness is managed by the Red Rock Ranger District.

BEST TIME TO HIKE: Best time to hike the Dogie Trail is early Spring, or Late Fall. The temps can be brutal in the Summer and you will have to carry all your water.

HOW TO GET THERE: Between Sedona AZ and Cottonwood AZ is Hwy 89A. Depending on which way you are going, look for the RED ROCK RANGER District FR sign called 525. This FR is a gravel road that at times can get a bit rough but very doable with a high clearance 2wd SUV. Go approximately 3 miles until 525 splits. Split LEFT to 525c (there is a sign) and go approximately 8 miles until the road dead ends. That is the TrailHead for the Dogie Trail. Park there, and hike a 100 yards or so to the beginning of the trail and the Sycamore Wilderness Sign. The trail is marked with Carins and easy to follow.

BEWARE: This is a harsh environment that can be very unforgiving. One Gallon of Water Per Day Per Person should be adhered to. Any longer than one night you should consider caching water at a specific location. Trail 63, and Taylor Cabin can be rough.

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In 2003 I completed a Thru-Hike on the Appalachian Trail. Since then I have over 12,000 miles underfoot and 20 years of backpacking, and camping experience. Certifications include WFA, WFR, LNT Trainer, and belong to AORE. Have been guiding backpacking trips for over 10 years. The outdoors has taught me one thing. Trusting the Trail! really does provide everything a person needs.

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