Hike Sedona's Cookstove Trail
If you've spent any amount of time in Sedona you know gorgeous it is. The red rock wonderland is one of the few places that truly lives up to all the hype. Its stunning array of red rock formations contrasted with centuries old twisted junipers is reason enough to call it the most beautiful place in America. The hiking trails are equally as beautiful, but often come with huge crowds that can be a bit much for some. One trail that doesn't have this problem is Cookstove, a steep 1.5 mile out-and-back offering up amazing views and a rare opportunity for solitude.
Trailhead elevation 5,578'
Don't miss The views from the cliffs just past the main overlook
Hiking the Cookstove Trail
The trailhead is less than a quarter mile north and on the opposite side of AZ-89A from Pine Flat Campground. Its small brown metal sign blends in with the landscape so it can be tough to spot, but once you do park on the side of the road opposite of the trailhead.
If you're camping in Pine Flat Campground it's easier to just walk to the trail. Once on the trail it's very straightforward. Surrounded by conifers and a mix of junipers, you'll gain more than 700' in elevation over the first half mile up. Here you'll find a small overlook that provides a great view of Oak Creek Canyon. Sunrise here is excellent.
Another two tenths of a mile and you'll reach the top of the canyon where it flattens out and provides more great views. If you choose to continue on, trail follows the eastern rim and eventually connects with the Harding Springs Trail where the views are less than thrilling. We recommend exploring the rim a little and heading back the way you came. If you can swing some early AM elevation, this is one you'll likely have all to yourself.
A great compliment to the hike is a short three mile drive north to the Oak Creek Vista. Similar view to Cookstove but from a higher vantage point. If you're heading to the Grand Canyon after Sedona you'll pass right by the vista.
Six miles south of the Cookstove Trail is Slide Rock State Park, a very popular spot to beat the summer heat. Its eighty-foot-long red rock natural waterslide is one of the top of its kind in the country.
If you're looking for camping options in the area, Cave Springs Campground and Pine Flat Campground are both awesome options with coin operated hot showers, vault toilet restrooms, general stores and gas grills. Both are great for hammock camping as well.
Have a blast and make some memories in Sedona! For more ideas on things to do in Sedona be sure to check out Eight Unforgettable Days in Arizona & New Mexico.