As an avid hiker, I like to explore as many trails as possible anywhere I travel. During my recent trip to Sedona, Arizona, I had the pleasure of hiking up Boynton Canyon Trail. 

Just like hiking up to Sedona’s Devil’s Bridge, I found this to be a wonderful stroll full of history. Here’s what I learned. 

The History of Boynton Canyon and the Trail Going Through It

Beginning of Boynton Canyon Trail

Boynton Canyon is seen as a sacred place for many who live in the area. Specifically, it’s home to the Yavapai Native Americans, who consider it their place of origin. They say that the first member of their tribe was born there. During your hike, you’ll actually get to see ancient Indian ruins and burial sites along the way. 

Over time, legends of Boynton Canyon and surrounding areas in Sedona developed because they’re said to possess mystic properties, which are referred to as “vortexes of energy.” 

There are many theories about what a “vortex” actually is, but the most common one is that the universe culminates in special places of energy around the world that draw people to them. You may also hear more scientific-sounding theories that say electromagnetic pulses surface on the Earth and pool in certain power spots. 

Whatever the case is, Boynton Canyon does get many visitors and can even get pretty crowded, so there could be some truth to the positive energy it gives off. 

Many tribes from the area, like the Navajo and Hopi, have ancient stories of healing and strength derived from the mountains in the surrounding areas. 

On nearby Chapel Road, you’ll also find the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which has many miraculous stories of healings, clearings of the mind, and other supernatural occurrences. 

Those who are interested can easily find vortex tours that take them to all the primary vortex locations around Sedona. Whether you believe all the stories or not, it’s still very cool to learn about and see the historic locations around the area. 

My Experience Hiking the Boynton Canyon Trail

Boynton Canyon Trailhead

The Boynton Canyon Trail is 7.2 miles long. However, the most trafficked portion is at the beginning, which is about 2.4 miles. People refer to the beginning portion as the “basic trail.” 

I’m a pretty experienced hiker, so I decided to do the full trail. I walked out and back, so it was a great 14.4-mile hike in total. I think the whole thing took me about 6 to 7 hours, so it was a pretty full day. 

During the initial “basic trail” portion, it’s a pretty easy hike. The trail stays relatively flat throughout, so pretty much everyone will be able to get a nice walk in here. 

At first, Boynton Canyon didn’t look like much, and I was honestly a bit disappointed. However, once you walk further along, you’ll slowly become more and more amazed by the sights surrounding you. 

You’ll find places where you can look out at giant mountains and quaint and peaceful forested parts too. It turned into a fun adventure where I didn’t really know what to expect next.

One of my favorite parts, and that many others love, was the secret subway. This is a natural rock formation that’s nearly a cave off to the side as you walk further down the trail. It kind of looks and feels like you’re inside a subway station, which is why it’s called the secret subway. You can stand in it and look out at the trees below you and the intricately ridged mountains all around.  

Secret Subway in Boynton Canyon Trail
Secret Subway in Boynton Canyon Trail

As you walk into the more difficult parts, the trail will become steeper and less defined, so you’ll want to come prepared with good hiking boots and a map to know where you’re going. Also, watch out for some of the rocky areas. The rocks feel a bit unstable to walk across at times, so you could trip and fall if you aren’t paying attention. 

Lastly, as you get closer to the end of the trail, Bear Mountain will come into view.

Trail leading up to Bear Mountain
Trail leading up to Bear Mountain

It’s a really cool small to medium-sized mountain. There are lots of different colorations and ridges along the range. Although it gets pretty steep, you can actually get up pretty close to it if you’re adventurous. 

Close up view of Bear Mountain
Close-up view of Bear Mountain

All in all, it was a very fun hike, and I’d be excited to go back here again. Thanks, Sedona!