|Typically Open:||Year Round|
(EASY - MODERATE)
|Highest Elevation:||4500 feet|
|Duration:||About 3 hours 20 minutes|
|Shape of Trail:||Out & Back|
|Best Direction to Travel:||South|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Sedona|
|Official Road Name:||179F|
|Management Agency:||Coconino National Forest|
|District:||Red Rock District|
With amazing red rock formations towering into the sky, this off-road trail is full of awe-inspiring beauty. It's no wonder Broken Arrow is one of the most popular off-road trails in all of Arizona. Situated near Sedona, Arizona and within the Coconino National Forest, the trail, and the surrounding area, offer the amazing views Sedona is famous for. Nearby you can also find many of the legendary vortex sights (http://www.sedona.net/vortex-map). 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, and in some spots, amazing silhouettes as the sun is eclipsed by the towering rock formations to the west. Either event is likely best viewed from Submarine Rock - a large rock formation you can climb on - or one of the higher elevated spots along the trail. This is a must see off-road trail everyone needs to put on their bucket list, but it will require a capable four-wheel drive off-road vehicle to traverse.
Quite rocky or deep ruts. Rocks to 12" and frequent. Water crossings may exceed hub depth with strong currents. Shelves to 6". Mud may require checking before proceeding. Moderate grades to 20 degrees. Sidehill may approach 30 degrees. 4WD necessary and second attempts may be required with stock vehicles. Caution may be required with wider vehicles.Read more about our rating system
|Spring:||Can be wet from recent rain|
|Summer:||Usually dry and dusty|
|Fall:||Can be wet from recent rain|
|Winter:||Occasional light snow fall possible|
The trail is straight ahead from here. The trailhead is at the end of Morgan Road near the southern end of Sedona. Many people coming here are hikers, so it is common to see regular vehicles near the trailhead and in the parking lot.
This is a great place to air-down before heading in, and air-up on the way out. There's also a trash can and informational posters in the parking area. This is also where the Broken Arrow hiking trail beings.
This speed bump is actually a decent step up at the beginning part of the Broken Arrow Off-road Trail, and will prevent low clearance vehicles from continuing down it. It's also where hikers cross the road and is intended to make you slow down and stop for the pedestrians.
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. This ledge keeps less capable vehicles out of the majority of the trail, and for good reason as the adjacent sign spells out. The sign has information about the 4x4 trail and warnings of its potential danger. This ledge is the edge of a red slick rock area that you can play around on with the rest of the trail to the southeast corner.
This is another parking area for those who don't want to park at the trailhead parking and have a vehicle capable of reaching this point. You can hike to this point from the first parking spot, and considering you need a decent 4x4 vehicle to get to this point anyway, the only reason I can think of to stop here is if you get overwhelmed by the off-road trail and decide to hike instead.
Go straight at this intersection to continue on the Broken Arrow 4x4 Off-road Trail, or you can turn right to head to the hiking trail parking area.
Stay right at as the trail splits at this point, even though both sides will get you to the same spot. There even an arrow directing you to stay to the right as a way to help prevent traffic jams on this narrow 4x4 trail.
This is a hiking trail intersection. Watch out for hikers heading to and from Submarine Rock.
Stay left at this intersection, as you are directed by the directional arrow. This is because to the right is a narrow and very steep set of stairs that are part of the return path from Chicken Point. As with the Split, it's meant to prevent traffic jams on the most difficult part of the trail.
Turn left (east) to get up close - or on top of - Submarine Rock, but if not interested in this amazing rock you can stay right (south) to continue on down the trail. I'd recommend going left, but if you're unsure of your ability to climb the next obsticle, you'll want to turn around and head back at this point.
To get to Submarine Rock, you must climb a hill that is basically a rutted and stepped boulder at the far side of a dry river wash. If there's a heavy rain you'll want to avoid this area, as flash flooding could catch you off guard. Also keep in mind, this is the only way to drive back out from Submarine Rock.
There's limited parking right up next to Submarine Rock, but there is additional parking off to the side of the 4x4 Off-road trail as you approach this massive rock formation. If it looks full, your best bet is to stop, back into a spot off the main road, and hike in a short way. You cannot drive on Submarine Rock, so if you want to explore it, plan on climbing up on foot. If you're not good at climbing, you may just have to enjoy it from the parking area.
If you skipped Submarine Rock, you still have an opportunity to drive through the dry river wash that divides it from the main off-road trail. Without good clearance, you may find your bumpers getting scraped as you navigate your way through this crevice.
Another dry wash, not as pronounced as the previous one, but still worthy of noting. This is one of the easier obstacles throughout the Broken Arrow Off-Road 4x4 Driving Trail.
The trail starts to get extra curvy as this point, so it's wise to mind Broken Arrow Trail's 5 mile-per-hour speed limit and take it slow. Otherwise, you could easily and suddenly come upon someone or something unexpectedly; like someone who's decided to "chicken" out on the most challenging part of the trail.
Turn left (south) at this intersection to head to the most scenic part of the trail. To the right (northwest) is the most challenging part of the trail, but since going left has no outlet you'll be coming back this way anyway. If you're feeling uncomfortable at this point and decide to "chicken" out, you can turn around and head back (northeast), but you'll be going against traffic that won't be expecting you. Fortunately, there are lots of pull-out spots along the way that will allow you to let other vehicles go by.
The most dangerous part of this hill are the blind corners at both ends of it. Fortunately, at the bottom there's room to pull off to the side to get out of the way of anyone descending. Even better, at the top there is a large area where your entire group can pull out to let others pass; which is good because two-way traffic is common in this area with it being the only way in and out of the most scenic part of this off-road trail.
This spot is officially known as Chicken Point (a name that also applies to the broader area), but if your stuck on the name Broken Arrow, you're probably looking for an arrowhead at this point. You're in luck because there's a big rock formation shaped like an arrowhead right at the end of this part of the trail! Plan on spending some time here to take in the amazing scenery, after which you'll be heading back to the most challenging part of the trail.
As you head into the more difficult, western splinter, of the Broken Arrow Off-road 4x4 Trail, the first obstacle you encounter is an incline up a large but smooth boulder. However, it's only a small taste of what awaits you ahead.
This round-about has a big rock protruding up out of the middle of it, that some people say looks like a mushroom, and thus like to call it Mushroom Rock. You be the judge. You can get a nice scenic view of Submarine Rock - and the surrounding cliffs - from here that will help you better understand why it's called Submarine Rock (in case you haven't figured it out by now).
This area, that technically starts at the boulder climb, is full of red slick rock formations and one particularly short, but challenging hill climb (or descent if you're in a Pink Jeep). There are also steps of various sizes that you get to climb and descend for almost half a mile as you continue to approach the most exciting part of the trail.
This is the second half of the red slick rock area. It provides more steps and crevices to navigate but don't get too comfortable after making it through this area; the hardest part is yet to come.
The most challenging thing about these steps, besides looking like an ominous rock crawling cliff, is that they are very steep in a couple of spots. Take it nice and slow. If your vehicle has fared well so far, this shouldn't be a problem as long as you stay in the tracks, keep the gears in low, and the foot smoothly on the brake. After you get passed these steps, you'll encounter an intersection on part of the off-road trail you've seen before. Turn Left (north) to get back to the trailhead.
Just as when you came in, stay to the right as the trail splits. This time, you get to take the other side of the split, as the directional arrow directs you to stay to the right to avoid oncoming traffic.
Technically not part of the trail, but certainly worth a look, since you'll be able to park right next to it. You will have to hike up a short but steep hill to get on top of it.
Starting Point: Main highway in Sedona, Arizona