Oak Creek Canyon

February 26, 2017 Leave a Comment


Many visitors flock to Sedona for the outdoor recreation, and February is the perfect time for a hike, mountain biking or kayaking session. Oak Creek Canyon is one of the area’s most beloved of destinations, featuring a river gorge between Flagstaff and Sedona. It’s the “little sister” of the Grand Canyon, but famous for gorgeous scenery in its own right. You’ll find it along State Route 89A following hairpin turns 13 miles from the highway.

Oak Creek is the second most visited destination in Arizona but is only 12 miles long and a maximum of 2.5 miles wide. However, depths can reach 2,000 feet. Largely impacted by faulting, the western rim is much higher than the east. Hikers and cyclists can expect a maximum of 7,200 feet in elevation on the west and 6,500 on the east.

History of Oak Creek

A Verde River tributary, Oak Creek is a rare perennial stream in Arizona. It’s the main cause of the current Oak Creek Canyon carving, but fault movement has also played a role. Past Sedona, Oak Creek opens into a more sprawling part of the country. You’ll find it snaking along smaller towns like Cornville and Page Springs before it meets with the Verde River near Cottonwood.

Eleven years ago, part of the canyon was affected by a massive wildfire. Brins Fire spread over 4,300 acres before it was contained. Researchers estimate the original Oak Creek Canyon was formed 9 million years ago and, at the time, was made up of gravel deposits and lava streams during the Miocene Epoch. See history literally in the making, and add a visit to Oak Creek Canyon to your Sedona getaway.

Filed Under: Outdoors, Recreation

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