Broken Arrow

Sedona, Arizona (Coconino County)

Last Updated: 07/09/2021
4.7 / 5 ( 35 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status:
Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 3-6
( MODERATE - DIFFICULT )
Length: 3.12 miles
Highest Elevation: 4500 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: South
Nearest Town: Sedona
Nearest Town w/ Services: Sedona
Official Road Name: 179F
Management Agency: Coconino National Forest
District: Red Rock District

Highlights

Highlight: Broken Arrow
Situated in picturesque Sedona, Arizona, Broken Arrow is one of the most popular and iconic off-road trails around- for good reasons! With amazing red rock formations towering into the sky, this off-road trail is full of awe-inspiring beauty and moderate challenges for your vehicle and driving skill. If you arrive early in the morning, you can watch the sun's spectacular rise over the high Mogollon Rim cliffs to the north and east. Later in the evening, you can see more dramatic highlights of the natural features as shadows become more pronounced.

Video

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
Concerns:
Summary:
The must-do obstacles at Waypoints 3, 15, and 20 can be handled by any aggressive stock 4 wheel drive vehicle with high clearance when taking the easier lines. There are other challenging lines and obstacles that one could try if so desired.

Technical Rating

MANDATORY
3
MODERATE
OPTIONAL
6
DIFFICULT
Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.
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Community Consensus

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Description

This road is comprised of sand, dirt, and sandstone, this trail is a mix of obstacles and simple dirt road. Broken Arrow is actually a grouping of Forest Service Roads that includes 179F, 179C, 179D, and 9868. Considered an out and back, it holds a loop in the middle, making the trail shape more like a lollipop. Portions of the trail are one-way only, and those sections are well marked. It can get crowded, particularly on the weekends, making some spots challenging to pass through even if you follow the appropriate one-way markers. Additionally, with this and or any desert trail, wet weather can cause portions of the trail to be impassable. There is a regular flow of Pink Jeeps coming in and out of the trail, be sure to look up ahead and remember your pull-off points for when you need to let oncoming traffic pass.
For the majority of Coconino National Forest no permit or pass is required; however, if you plan to stop in any of the "improved" areas you will need to pick up a pass, and there is a high concentration of "improved" areas around Sedona. Also, be sure to stay on the designated roads and trails as much of the vegetation and rock formations are fragile.

Waypoints

1. Start (0 mi)
The trailhead is just at the end of Morgan Road. Do not air down here as it disturbs the residents. Many people coming here are hikers, so it is common to see regular vehicles near the trailhead and in the parking lot. Please be respectful of the hikers and always yield to them.
2. Parking/Air Down Area – Continue Straight (0.11 mi)
This is a great location to air down and hold your driver meeting. The actual “Broken Arrow” Hiking trail #125 starts here as well as Margs Draw.
3. Ledge Obstacle – Slight Right Up (0.34 mi)
The ledge is to the right and is the first big obstacle on the trail. If you can't get up it, or are too timid to even try, there's a tight turnaround straight ahead. The easier line is along the left side. The trail continues towards the left as you come up the rock formation.
4. 179C Trailhead – Continue Straight (0.45 mi)
Turn right here if you wish to explore the Devils Dining Room Sinkhole, which is a bat cave.
5. Devils Dining Room Parking (0.52 mi)
A fun area to explore, the Devils Dining Room is sinkhole caused by the collapse of a cavern in the underlying red wall limestone. Bats apparently enjoy living in this area. The sinkhole is fenced off for your safety.
6. 179D Split – Stay Right (0.71 mi)
Stay to the right while remaining on 179F. 179D is simply a short one-way section of the trail to ease bottlenecks.
7. 179D – Veer Right (0.82 mi)
Upon reaching the hard rock surface veer right. Do not go straight as you will end up over a large ledge that is not considered part of the trail. Please stay the trail and avoid playing off to the side.
8. Submarine Rock Hiking Trailhead – Continue Straight (1.07 mi)
If you didn’t want to drive the hill obstacle up to the parking area for Submarine Rock, you could hike it by foot here. Just enough space for three or four vehicles to park here.
9. 179E (The Steps) – Stay Left (1.11 mi)
Stay to the left here. The Steps are considered a one-way trail in the down direction, do not attempt to drive up The Steps. This is also where you will come out after you finish completing the more challenging part of the trail along 179E.
10. 9868 Trailhead for Submarine Rock – Turn Left (1.19 mi)
This is purely an optional portion of the trail but well worth a visit up to Submarine Rock.
11. Submarine Rock Hill Climb Obstacle – Up (1.38 mi)
Before ascending, look ahead to watch out for any other vehicles coming down. There is plenty of room here for passing and being courteous. The hill climb is one of the more challenging portions of the trail. Engage 4-Low and let your vehicle do its job as you climb up to a wide-open area.
12. Submarine Rock Parking (1.32 mi)
Not as famous as Chicken Point, you really could spend a few hours up here soaking in the views of the famous red rocks and particularly Submarine Rock.
13. 179E Intersection – Turn Left towards Chicken Point (1.78 mi)
Follow the signs to Chicken Point. From here the road will be mostly loose dirt with a couple of hill climbs not depicted in this guide that have blind turns. Passing is tight through here, keep your eyes up the trail for oncoming traffic and if you are in a group, use your radio to communicate with your party so they can take advantage of any turnouts or areas to pull over. You could bypass Chicken Point all together here by turning right, but you would miss a very nice portion of the trail.
14. Chicken Point – Return to Waypoint 13 and Stay Left (2.14 mi)
This spot of worth the trip right here for not only colorful photos of your vehicle but also the surrounding area. Off in the distance you see Highway 179 and Courthouse Butte. To the east, is the Munds Mountain Wilderness Area. To your west is Chicken Point and Twin Buttes. Return to Waypoint 13 and stay left.
15. Small Hill Obstacle – Up and Left (2.53 mi)
A simple uphill obstacle where the trail veers to the left as you rise to the top.
16. Mushroom Rock – Go Counterclockwise (2.61 mi)
Aptly named, this rock formation looks much like a mushroom. As you see it, it looks like the trail goes down and to the right, but this is not the case. Drive towards the rock and follow it around on the right side, going counterclockwise where you enter will turn right about ¾ of the way through the other side.
17. Obstacle – Easy Line is Straight with Hardline Left and Up (2.65 mi)
Continue straight here for the less challenging line or try the harder line that goes up the rock formation the left.
18. Downhill and to the Right (2.68 mi)
After you follow the path for a short distance, the trail takes a sharp turn right and downhill. If you miss this turn you quickly find out that you missed it.
19. Obstacles – Drivers Choice (2.79 mi)
Stay on the main trail but there are a few different lines you can choose as you drive this portion.
20. Steps Obstacle/Trail End (3.05 mi)
4-Low is needed here. Be sure to allow ample space for the vehicle in front of you to get down before you start this portion as the steps can sometimes be rather sandy and slippery. Let your gears do the work and only use light brake pressure when required. This concludes the trail and you will now backtrack the way you came in. Remember to keep your eyes open for oncoming traffic and stay to the right when you reach fork at Waypoint 7.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Sedona, Arizona

From Highway 179, on the south end of Sedona, turn east onto Morgan Road. After heading straight down the road, through a residential area - just past the second "No Outlet" sign - the road will turn to dirt and you'll find a parking lot on the left. From here you can park and go on a hiking trail, or drive further down FR 179F into some exceptionally beautiful scenery and challenging 4x4 driving.

Camping

Not allowed
There is no camping along this trail, nor anywhere within Sedona; however, you can find primitive and not so primitive camping areas throughout Coconino National Forest. For dispersed camping, Schnebly Hill Road has plenty on its western side. Many other areas, a little way outside of Sedona (including along some of the "Nearby Trails"), offer dispersed camping just off the dirt roads and trails with no fees or permits required. There are also hotels within Sedona and other nearby towns, some of which are high-end tourist attractions with very little parking. Making finding a parking spot in downtown Sedona somewhat difficult, especially on weekends.
Camping: Broken Arrow

Land Use Issues

As the only way into and out of Broken Arrow is through an otherwise quiet residential area, you'll want to be observant of the traffic laws. Residents have been known to complain about heavy traffic caused by 4x4 vehicles and have even joined together to try and get the forest road closed, so be respectful as you make your way on the pavement.

Trail Reviews (56)

Questions & Answers (10)

Q: I don't see any mention of SXS's. I have a little 2-seat Honda Pioneer 500. Any issues? Thx
–Carl J Poplawsky (09/15/2021)
A: Hi Carl, I am not a side by side expert, but looking at the tire size and lift of the above mentioned unit, it would say some sections of the trail would be difficult, the vehicles pictured in the waypoints all have 35” tires or larger - you can use that as a reference point.
–Todd (09/16/2021)
Q: My wife and I intend to go to Sedona in a few weeks. From what it sounds like my '17 Tacoma Off-Road short bed should be fine? I have a 2" lift and AT tires. Are skid plates necessary? I see mixed answers from peoples reviews.
–Taylor Horger (03/09/2020)
A: You should be fine with that configuration. I did it in my stock '07 FJ Cruiser with only minor scraping of the stock skid plates.
–S.J. Hollist (03/10/2020)
Q: 2017 JKU Rubicon lifted 35s towing a trailer be an issue? Its a 4x6 off road trailer.
–Robert Earles (05/28/2019)
A: There's a parking area at the trailhead. I'd recommend leaving the trailer there. It would be especially difficult to deal with in a few areas where you likely will have to backup due to traffic and dead ends.
–S.J. Hollist (06/03/2019)
A: Man, I wouldn’t. I mean I have seen trailers on more difficult trails but this trail can get really congested. Not only does it get congested it gets congested in limited passing areas through tight curves. It’s an out and back with no camping so not much need for the trailer there anyways. I think you would enjoy your day much more by leaving the trailer someplace while you do the trail. Hope that helps!
–Todd (05/28/2019)
Q: Is this trail manageable in a stock 2019 tacoma trd off road? (32 degree approach, 23.5 degree departure 9.4 in ground clearance, does have a rear locker and all terrain tires)
–Matthew Jenny (04/10/2019)
A: Yes, it can be done. The main thing you'll likely run into is scraping bottom on some of the hill climbs and descent, especially if you air down your tires.
–S.J. Hollist (04/12/2019)
Q: Will a leveled 2nd gen tundra on 35” m/t have any problems on this trail?
–Alex (07/18/2018)
A: I would recommend taking a 4wd. Some of the climbs will likely not be passable without it.
–S.J. Hollist (07/18/2018)
Q: I am using my truck and trailer to transport my atv. Where can i park.
–joe avila (04/12/2018)
A: You can park in the parking lot at waypoint 2. As long your trailer isn't huge, you should be fine.
–S.J. Hollist (04/12/2018)
Q: So after Devil's stair case, do you have to go back up the stairs to make your way out of the trail? In other words, is this a in and back out trail?
–White JK (01/17/2018)
A: No you do not have to go back up the stairs. The trail exits to the left at the bottom of the stairs or go right to chicken point.
–Brian (01/23/2018)
A: Look for trails along the north rim. I'm not familiar with the area but I hear the northern side of the grand canyon is great for off-road expeditions.
–S.J. Hollist (01/18/2018)
A: Thanks for the info. Looking forward to it. I want to make my trip to Arizona worthwhile. Do you have any trails that will get me to the Colorado River and up close and personal to the Grand Canyon? I heard about driving through Diamond Creek Rd. If that is the only trail with vehicle access to the river, is a permit required? If so, how would I obtain a permit?
–White JK (01/18/2018)
A: Going back up Devil's Staircase is not required, and actually is considered the wrong way to go. You continue forward until you come to an intersection, which you will have already passed on your way in. Turn left to head back out to the trailhead.
–S.J. Hollist (01/17/2018)
Q: Looking at possibly taking my stock 2016 4runner on this trail. Do you think there would be any issues?
–Fred henley (05/25/2017)
A: As long as you have a minimum of a 8 1/2 inch clearance from your front and back differentials and travel in 4 wheel low you should be ok. I did this trail in my Jeep Wrangler when it was stock height. I would also recommend upgrading tires from stock to something like a all terrain with descent blocks.
– (08/30/2017)
A: As long as it's four-wheel drive you should be okay. You may find a few spots were you'll have minor clearance issues, but I've taken my FJ Cruiser on it when it was completely stock. I just scraped the skid plates in a few spots.
–S.J. Hollist (05/26/2017)
Q: Have you seen any stock f250s rolling through?
–Wyatt (02/17/2017)
A: I have seen a group of F-150's going up there for Ford advertisement, they did have a few issues with ground clearance, but luckily their trucks were fitted with some aftermarket skid plates. I would probably advise against taking a stock F-250 out there as there are a few short but steep inclines that may not be ideal for a longer wheel-based truck. Hope this helps!
–Hawk Miller (02/18/2017)
Q: I have a 2008 f250 4x4 it's leveled and has 33 inch bfg all terrains! Will my truck make it?
–Wyatt (02/16/2017)
A: You'll definitely find some spots to be very tight, but you might be okay as long as your extra careful.
–S.J. Hollist (05/26/2017)

Writer Information

Todd

Founder

Todd is an avid wheeler who loves to explore new trails whenever and wherever he can. They say necessity is the mother of all invention and that holds true for Todd. His want and desire to find passable trails and new nooks and crannies of the Great American West to explore were his reasons behind starting Trailsoffroad.com. On any given weekend you can find Todd on some obscure 4x4 trail or using his legs to hike to an alpine lake.
For individual use only, not to be shared.