Dry Creek Road is an excellent trail for those looking for a nice hike ending in an amazing view. With easy access to landmarks such as Devil's Bridge, and Vultee Arch, you will surely not be disappointed! Another great perk of this trail is the historic Van Deren Cabin, which was originally homesteaded by Bill Fredericks, a local known for his "Good whiskey". In 1924 he sold the land to Earl Van Deren. Earl moved the north cabin from Sterling Canyon sometime between 1924 and 1929. Then in 1930 Van Deren decided to get married and constructed the South cabin and connected them with a common roof, creating a breezeway. The North cabin served as a kitchen, and the South cabin became known as the "Honeymoon cabin".
During the 1940's, the cabins were used for two movies, "Riders of the Purple Sage", and "Blood on the Moon"
Trail Difficulty and Assessment
2WD Vehicle with High Clearance
This trail is rated 2-4 due to the section at waypoint 7-8 where you will cross a dry creek crossing. This area can change vastly year to year due to flood water coming through the area wiping rocks out, or bringing them in. Check your ground clearance when crossing the creek.
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The hardest part of the trail that you
cannot bypass - you have to drive it.
The hardest part of the trail that is
purely optional - you can bypass it.
Dirt and/or rocky road. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 8" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 9" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 12" inches. Good tire placement likely. Can be steep but with good traction. Read More about our Rating System
Dry Creek Road is an easy and relaxed trail with multiple hiking outlets to great scenic points, and the historical Van Deren Cabin. It can be easily traveled by most unmodified 4x4's, with a minimal chance of undercarriage damage, any lifted vehicle should have no problems here. This trail is wide enough in most areas to easily get around oncoming traffic.
1. Trailhead Start (0
After turning right towards the East to remain on Dry Creek Road, you will follow a short paved road that will pass a trail parking lot, remain straight past the parking lot until the road turns to dirt. This is the start of the trail.
2. Scenic Lookout (0.3
On the left towards the West is a small incline, follow the incline to view the scenic lookout. There is a turn-around once you reach the top of the incline.
3. Chuckwagon Trail (0.4
Chuckwagon hiking trailhead starts here on the West side of the trail. It is not recommended to park your vehicle here to start the hike, instead park at the parking lot at the trail start and head to Chuckwagon Trail on foot.
4. Devil's Bridge Hiking Trail (1.1
This is the highlight hiking trail of this route, turn right towards the East into the small parking area and hike roughly 1 mile uphill on the Devil's Bridge Trail to reach the Bridge. Great views from the top!
5. Dry Creek Crossing (2.1
Small dry creek crossing here, continue with caution while raining or during monsoon season.
6. Stay Left Van Deren Cabin (2.1
Stay left here and head West to follow FS-9917 to visit the Van Deren Cabin.
7. Dry Creek Crossing (2.4
Use caution here while raining or during monsoon season!
8. Tight Left Turn (2.4
Take a tight left turn here to remain on the trail.
9. Van Deren Cabin Homestead (2.5
The historic Van Deren Cabin is comprised of two hand-hewn log cabins joined together with a metal roof. Although the cabin site is surrounded by private ranch land, the cabin is owned by the Forest Service and is open to the public. Jeep tours regularly visit the cabin. This was the site for the Robert Mitchum film "Blood on the Moon".
10. Optional Vultee Arch Trail (2.8
Optionally instead of returning back, you may turn left here to head North and continue towards the Vultee Arch hiking trail on FS-152.
11. Scenic Lookout (2.8
Take a left here to the West up a small incline for a view of the scenic lookout.
12. Brins Mesa Trail (2.9
This is the starting point of Brin's Mesa hiking trail, there is a small area here to park if you wish to hike, please be mindful of where you park as to not obstruct traffic.
13. Seven Canyons Scenic Overlook (3
Take a small detour left towards Seven Canyons Scenic Overlook for a view of the mountains and Seven Canyons Resort.
14. Secret Canyon Trailhead (3.9
Take a left here towards the West and downhill towards a small parking area for the Secret Canyon trailhead.
15. Vultee Arch Hiking Trail (4.8
You will reach a turnaround point here where you may park and hike towards Vultee Arch(Roughly 4 miles round-trip). Please be mindful of where you park to not obstruct traffic.
16. End Trail (4.8
Once you've reached the turnaround point, you will have reached the end of the trail, continue the way you came on FS-152 to return back to Sedona.
Camping is prohibited throughout this entire trail and most surrounding Sedona trails.
Accommodation is widely available throughout Sedona with hotels, motels, upscale resorts, as well as a large amount of Airbnb listings!
Head West on 89A through Sedona until you reach Dry Creek Road, turn right and Head North roughly 2 miles, then turn right. Road can be very easy to miss and is not marked well, so keep an eye out!
Super nice trail, but it is way harder than the 2 Rating in general….
Long wheelbase trucks will get some scraping? Had it with my Jeep Gladiator Rubicon… awesome views though!!
so it already starts at the beginning of the trail.... the rocks you see in the posted picture are actually a lot worse and I scrapped by bottom.... rest of the trail same thing, so not sure if the trails got more and more technical over the years due to the rain, but i believe the rating should be upgraded...
This is more of an access dirt road to the hiking trail head than a Jeep trail, but if you’re in Sedona you don’t want to miss it.
The trail ends at the lot that ( usually ) has enough parking space for 10 to 15 rigs. Once there you leave your rig and start walking.
I’m an off reader, not a hiker but this hike is well worth the effort. It took us a while to hike to the famous “ Devil Bridge “ ( or Devil’s Arch ) and it’s totally worth the effort of the long hike.
When you first look at the stone bridge and how high it hangs it’s a bit scary and somewhat intimidating but once you’re actually on it you realize it’s very wide and feels very easy and defiantly safe.
Have someone stay on the side trail while you go on the bridge so they can take your picture on it, it’ll be the coolest picture of your life, period.
Expect a line of people waiting to have their picture taken during weekends and holidays but the line moves rather quickly and beside, you wouldn’t mind the down time to rest from your hike while soaking in the amazing surrounding scenery.
This trail is definitely harder than listed, though the ‘gate’ is the most difficult obstacle on the trail, at least for our Defender. Worth stopping at the cabin, as the trail is most interesting there. Lots of hikers on the trail up until the Devils Bridge TH, after that mostly Pink Jeeps.
It was totally worth taking this trail just to avoid the parking lot madness for the Devils Bridge hike. Lots of hikers and pink jeeps along the trail so needed to drive slowly. Boulders at the beginning of the trail is passable with a stock 4runner with careful tire placement.
Very fun trail. I didn’t expect much given the 2-4 rating, but turned out to be a great drive with some good challenges. The Van Deren cabin is worth the side trip as not only do you get some neat history, but a few more fun obstacles. I do agree with others that there’s no way this is a 2 or 3. The gatekeeper and several other obstacles make it a minimum 4.
First trip in our new to us Jeep. Intimidating at first. Great hiking and jumping off points. A lot of people traffic early but easy to coexist. Some fun “get your feet wet” type obstacles nothing scary nothing over the top. Saw a family in a Lexus SUV doing it. Albeit, he banged the rear bumper hard of some things.
The feature at the start of the trail looks intimidating, but we saw a Jeep Compass (looked stock) and a small Range Rover on the trail. We made it up and over with no problem in a JKU with a 2.5 lift and 35s. Rest of the trail is relatively tame, a few rocky climbs with various lines, and sand. Great jumping off spot for hikes or biking in the area. Also nice to avoid the parking woes at the main trailhead to Devil’s Bridge.
The taller obstacle at the entrance has been noted in other reviews. Only will add that I agree that it looks man-made (like Broken Arrow) but in this case primarily as a discouragement to anything but lifted 4x4's. That said, I made it easily with my (new) stock JLU Rubicon. Just after that, however is a deep wash - which had a by-pass which is now blocked off. The wash has a very steep rock ledge followed by a quick climb out & I was sure I would bottom out on the exit and possibly as I took the first step down. I really didn't want to bend my jeep -so I will come back when I have 35's and a lift. Hard to rate without going over that wash obstacle - but I'd say it's at least a 4 now. Wish I had video to show - sorry! Can't say how much of this is deliberate - but the pink jeeps (35's & 5+ in lift) make it back & forth without any problem Too bad - looked like a very scenic trail that would have been accessible to many.
Did this today in my 2021 Jeep Compass with 10” clearance. Agree with recent reviews that the first entrance is a bit “intimidating” but it does prepare you for the rest of the trail. There are quite a few large rock passes just like the beginning one that made me pretty nervous even with my clearance. She did fine though! It just took some good navigating skills and we romped over the large sheets of rock/rock drop offs. Probably the worst one is 9” tall. I didn’t measure it but it definitely seemed pretty high to me. Overall a great experience and I’d do it again. I’m not sure if this should be rated easy though since I’m sure it has changed in the last couple years. Maybe more moderate?
To echo a previous review, the entrance has changed. I’m not sure if it was an addition of boulders, or simply erosion, but there is a wall or line of higher boulders (kinda like broken arrow), and on the left side in front of the wall there is a small depression. When approaching it, you can cut a line to the drivers side and going over the obstacle shouldn’t be that hard, but due to the depression I think lower clearance and/or longer wheel base vehicles may run the risk of high centering on the obstacle.
When we arrived, I pulled over to inspect the obstacle, and watched a half ton pickup exiting the trail approach in the center, and when the vehicle went down one side into the depression the side steps hit and dented. They had larger tires but the long wheelbase worked against them. I was driving a new full size SUV that had the clearance otherwise, but didn’t have rock sliders, so I did not go down the trail (and it wasn’t mine).
Outside of the entrance, this is a great trail and relatively easy. Upon reflection, it feels like the entrance obstacle is biased towards shorter wheel base vehicles, such as Jeeps driven by the many tour companies. Given some of the attitude I’ve gotten from the drivers when I’m in my own rig on “their” trails, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the case.
Folks, just tried it yesterday, they added major boulders at the beginning of the trail, almost non vehicle can pass it, I didn't dare with my Armada,.maybe a wrangler could, but even that I seriously doubt it, probably only motorcycle or some ATV, I would consider this as no GO, be aware
Part of a long day trail hopping in Sedona. First took the trail up to Van Deren cabin. Keep your eyes open if your exploring the cabin as there was a herd of javelinas up there that were semi aggressive. We then drove up to the vulture arch turn around. Easy, fun and scenic drive.
Did this trail all the way to Vultee Arch Trailhead. Very easy with limited use of 4WD and my stock JL Rubi with 33" made it just fine. Beware of hikers on first mile or so on their way to Devils Bridge. A popular spot. Also, plenty of jeep tours that go to the end for Van Deren Cabin. Once you get to the Vultee Arch trail take the hike to to the arch. Well worth the trip. Be careful of thunderstorms in the summer as the creek on the hike can flash flood easily. A great way to experience one of AZ's most beautiful
and revered places. Enjoy!!
This is a very popular trail for hikers and tour Jeeps and, we ran it on a Saturday so, the trail was really populated until after the Devil's Bridge trailhead.9 Most of the hikers turn off on the Devil's Bridge trail and the tour Jeeps are headed to Van Deren Cabin so after the Cabin turn off your will usually have the rest of the trail to yourself. We went all the way out to the end and the Vultee Arch trailhead for a hike to the arch. The area's bloom is coming into full swing. Absolutely beautiful!
After our hike we had lunch in the shade then headed back out.
We hit the Van Deren Cabin for a bit and returned to the trail.
The trail is in its usual condition, rocky with many shelves but no problem for stock high clearance 2 or 4wd trucks or SUVs.
We did this trail in an FJ cruiser to hike Devils Bridge and visit Van Deren Cabin. The trail is shared by hikers which gets you funny looks but there’s plenty of pink Jeeps roaming around as well. Majority of the trail is easy enough for a stock vehicle with clearance and the trail to the cabin is a bit more fun.
The day started off with some rain but the sun peaked out quickly. A great easy trail with more awesome views from every direction. Also a fun creek crossing. I highly recommend traveling the pavement through the neighborhood and come in from the far end.
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Mapping Crew - Arizona
Hawk Miller, born and raised in Northern Arizona is the owner of a Sedona Jeep rental company called MYE Jeep. He is an avid climber, hiker, and "Jeeper". Constantly out on excursions to discover new hidden routes and trails, he can usually be found wherever there is no cell service. He spends his free time in Austin, TX as a performance driving instructor, with an extensive history of off-road rally racing, he is no stranger to playing in the dirt!
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