Casner Mountain Trail

Kachina Village, Arizona (Yavapai County)

Last Updated: 07/27/2019
4.5 / 5 ( 2 reviews )
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: 05/15 - 10/15
Permit Information: Permit Required - Click Here
Length: 8 miles
Highest Elevation: 6740 feet
Duration: About 4 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Kachina Village
Nearest Town w/ Services: Sedona
Official Road Name: 8, 538B, 9529
Management Agency: Coconino National Forest
District: Red Rock District
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Highlight: Casner Mountain Trail
Much of the Casner Mountain Trail is squeezed in between the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness and Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness offering some of the most awesome views of nature you can see anywhere. This also forces you to keep your vehicle on the trail. You will also get a great view of the famous red rock country of the northern Verde Valley. The Verde Valley encompasses about 714 square miles in the center of Arizona and has hundreds of miles of dirt roads and off-road trails throughout it. You'll have to drive some of them to get to or from the southern trailhead of Casner Mountain Trail. This entire area is the height of Arizona's physical beauty and you'll get an excellent view of it along the Casner Mountain Trail. While most of these off-road four-wheel drive trails are mainly within the control of Coconino National Forest, some also extend into Prescott and Yavapai National Forests; which you can also see parts of from this trail.



7 day forecast for Casner Mountain Trail

Route Information

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1. Jerome Rd. / 538B & 6271 Intersection (8 mi)
From this intersection, you'll head south to get onto Casner Mountain Trail. This is the more difficult trailhead to find and is advisable to have a good map or GPS coordinates to and/or from this location. There are large power lines close by that can be used as a landmark to guide your way to this trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 34.986990, -111.937310

Starting Point: Sedona or Flagstaff, Arizona

From the south, you'll turn off of 89A about halfway between Sedona and Cottonwood onto FR 525 / Loy Butte Rd heading north. A few miles down the road take the left fork just after the cattle guard onto FR 525C. Continue on 525C until you reach the large high voltage power lines. Turn right onto 9529 and head north. The trail quickly turns into Trail 8 / Casner Mountain Trail. From the north, you'll want to find your way through the maze of forest roads onto FR 538 and head south on it as it turns into Jerome Rd. The easiest way to find FR 538 is off of FR 231 / East Pocket Road. Continue south as Jerome Rd. turns onto 538B. This will eventually turn into Trail 8 / Casner Mountain Trail just past the intersection with FR 6271.


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Trail Reviews (5)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The road and trail are in good shape. Easier going down than up. It gets hot as you move south from Flagstaff toward Sedona. This trail is remote, so drive in a group.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
What a great way to spend a Father’s Day! We had a group of 9 vehicles, and a good mix at that. Several Wanglers, some Tacoma’s, and an FJ or two. No one had any issues, many were bone stock. Personally, my Jeep JL Rubicon is currently on stock suspension and tires, and had no problems. We ran the trail south the north, so minimal downhill action. The views are stunning to say the least, and the temperatures dropped noticeably as we climbed, a welcome break from the 105 we had in Phoenix. Loads of camping spots up top, a few ponds, lots of shade. A perfect day.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
To say that Casner is stunning really is an understatement. We made the trek from the north gate to the south gate in the morning, had lunch at Robber's Roost, then back tracked from the south gate to the north gate. It was a cloudy day, with intermittent rain. Making the trip south bound, in the rain and going mostly down hill, was fun and generally safe. However, this trail should not be attempted in the rain when going north bound. The mud sticks can stick to you tires, making your tires as slick as snot. There are several shelfs on the trail, carrying from 6 inches to 12 inches, which aren't a big deal when going down, but that can make it especially dangerous when going up. In these areas, you have about 3-4 feet of "wiggle room" before a tire might catch the edge of the cliff. Don't make this trek with the slick tires as we did. While most of the mud will clear before these spots, you will find the trail considerably more challenging than when it is dry.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Casner Mountain is a wonderful trail. It starts out in Cottonwood AZ and climbs up between amazing red rock canyon walls to a powerline switchback road that seems unclimbable from the bottom, but actually turns out to be quite easy. In fact, it appeared as the road surface had recently seen service. The first challenge though is the permit you had to acquire to do this road has the code to the lock on the first gate. A stout affair requiring to adults to operate once unlocked. No Code, no Casner Mt trail. After climbing up onto the ridge, you ride the knife edge of the mountain with spectacular views out the passenger and driver windows with views of significant dropoffs on either side. There are parts that are about 2 x the vehicle width from each side to drop off. Once into the pine tree line, the road flattens out, still weaving through the power poles and the biggest obstacle becomes mud puddles. There is a second gate, right at the tree line that will have to be unlocked and brutally opened as it must weigh 300 lbs of steel pipe welded into an imposing structure. Once past the #2 gate, the going get's considerably easier through the forest. I lost count of how many good camp spots there were along the roadway. Evidence of the slide fire was encountered as we crested the plateau over Oak creek Canyon. As the road continued into the forest, more and more large groups of campers were encountered (In one spot there were at least 30). I found it odd that the families didn't spread out along the road so that it wasn't as crowded. A final descent through the forest dropped us onto 89A with the switchbacks down into Oak Creek Canyon. Be warned though, on a Saturday afternoon, the traffic was heinous into Sedona. I headed up Schnebly hill rd and camped up on top. Lots of nice dispersed stuff up there on to as well. No tent, no trailer, only the stars for a roof as I slept in my hammock. It was glorious.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Knowing I needed company to satisfy the permit requirements, I decided to [make an event]( of this. I ended up with nine vehicles, and about twenty people showing up for this awesome adventure. We started out at the [Pick-N-Run Shell Station in Kachina Village] Exit 333 off I-17- to fuel up, talk about what to expect, what channel to communicate on, and hand out some swag I had collected form a few vendors and clubs, including: * [Bivouac Camping Trailers]( * [Restop]( * [The Thrive in Life Book]( * National Forest maps and information on the trails * Someone from [The Jeep Mafia]( was also there and added to the pile. We had four FJ Cruisers who were all a part of the [AZFJ Non-club](, three Jeeps, and two Land Cruisers. Somehow we all managed to get along just fine. We started out on some well grated dirt roads that took us along FR 237 through Fry Canyon on our way to 89A. We then headed up some mild switchbacks along FR 535 to get up into the forest just north of the Mogollon Rim. We stopped at Fry Lake along FR 536, which was more like an marsh full of cows and beautiful yellow flowers. We then hooked up with [FR 231]( (also known as Woody Mountain Rd. to the north, and East Pocket Road to the south), which took us to FR 231B. This was a truly rocky road that eventually hooked us up with 538D, and onto 538. This took us south along [Jerome Road]( that eventually hooked up with Casner Mountain Trail. Figuring out how to unlock the gate was a little confusing at first, as the lock was hard to open, and then we had to figure out that the chain also made it's way through a tongue inside the metal cylinder that keep the gate closed. Once we got it figured out, we headed through, locked it behind us, and where on our way up the mountain. The views on the way up were nice, but it wasn't until after we had found a nice place to stop for lunch that we truly learned the real beauty of this off-road trail. Both Sycamore Canyon and Secret Mountain are full of beautiful red-rock landscapes and awe inspiring views. Seeing them from on top of Casner Mountain made them even more spectacular. Even the four wheeling got more exciting the further south we went. While none of it ever got too technical it still had some exciting moments and we drive along the top ridge of the mountain, and eventually down some steep sharp switchbacks. Both of these offered even more incredible views of the valleys below. Finally, a few of us heading onto Greasy Spoon afterwords for some more challenging off-road driving. I would definitely recommend anyone who enjoys off-road trails for their ability to see things most other people never do, you have to come to Sedona, Arizona at some point in your lifetime. While your there do everything you can to get a permit, or go along with someone who can, to take this amazing off-road trail.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

S.J. Hollist

Mapping Crew - Arizona and Florida

I've been writing for TrailsOffroad since August 2015. Before that, I had been off-road in places like central and northern Utah, east and west Texas, and central and northern Arizona. I've even driven off-road on an island in the Caribbean (the one time I've driven a Jeep off-road). I joined TrailsOffroad because it combines my three favorite hobbies: Off-roading obviously; I've also been blogging for most of my life - even before it was done on the internet (ever heard of a dial-up BBS?) - and even wrote a political column for for a few years; I also have experience with building websites and promoting on social media. These experiences made writing for Trails Offroad a good fit for me, and I've been enjoying it very much. When I'm not working at my IT job, or playing with my kids, I go on runs with a group of people who like to collaborate on [](, and run my own online marketing and web content company (my wife calls it my hobby business) [The Rotisory Foundation]( (named after a BBS I used to run back in High School and College before the Internet became overwhelmingly popular). I'm a big Toyota fan. I've owned two 4x4 Tacomas, an older 4x4 Toyota pickup, and I'm now on my second FJ Cruiser (the first was a TRD SE 6 speed, that I got rid of after my twins were born). You can learn more about my adventures at [](
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