Boynton Canyon Trail,
Distance: 5 miles Time: 2.5 hours Type: There and back
Sedona and the surrounding area is extremely popular for its big skies, bright red rocks, new age vibe and plethora of family-friendly outdoor activities. There are no shortage of hikes within a short drive from the town. I had read that the Boynton Canyon hike was one of the most popular and highest rated but personally found it quite disappointing. While there are some great spots near the start of hike, most of the trail is along the flat canyon floor with fairly limited views of the surrounding rocks. This is not to say it isn't an enjoyable walk, but if you have limited time this may not be one for the top of your list.
From the town take Dry Creek Road and continue as it becomes Boynton Pass Road. At the T-junction at the end of the road, take a right and you will almost immediately see the parking area at the Boynton Canyon trailhead. There are several other trails that leave from the parking lot but for Boynton Canyon you should head north.
After a couple of hundred metres you can take a short detour along Boynton Vista Trail. This is highly recommended because the views from the top of the rocky outcrop (only another couple of hundred metres along the trail) are quite stunning and, in fact, the only big views you get on the hike. Once you've taken in the sweeping views to the south and the east, retrace your steps to the main trail and continue heading north.
Quite ironically, only a short time after passing a 'Entering Wilderness' sign the path actually navigates past an expensive-looking resort, which somewhat detracts from the hidden canyon vibes. Once you've passed the resort, however, the path turns north-easterly into the winding canyon and things become quieter. The path is flat and easy-going. After some time weaving through the trees, the path makes a gentle climb and you have a view of the canyon. At this point, the only option is to return by the same route.
It's certainly not a challenging hike and a pretty good option if you have kids or dogs. While not one of the more spectacular walks around, it still lets you get quite close to the canyon walls for a more intimate experience of this unique landscape.