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Red Rock - Secret Mountain Loop


  •   Guides Choice backpacking trip
  •   Heart of Sedona's Red Rock Country
  •   Extremely diverse wilderness
  •   Soaring sandstone cliffs
  •   Chance to see remote arch
  •   Remote trails & deep canyons
  •   Stunning night skies


Available from September 1st through February 28, our Red Rock - Secret Mountain Backpacking Tour is our signature Sedona backpacking trip and justifiably so! It takes us through multiple, remote canyons and over high ridges with incredible vistas as we explore the heart of Sedona’s Red Rock Canyon Country and designated wilderness. We’ll hike in the shadows of Lost Wilson, Maroon, and Secret Mountains (all iconic Sedona peaks), and along cliffs that tower 1000+ feet above us. Amongst the serenity of this trek, a highlight is the chance to see Vultee Arch, a stunning natural arch, as an optional side hike on Day 1 before we head deeper into the canyon country.

On this trip, you'll learn about the history of the indigenous tribes as well as some of the more mysterious history in this secret wilderness. To say this trip inspires wonder and appreciation for nature would be an understatement - it is an adventurous journey into a stunning, pristine landscape that you'll never forget.

Wildland Trekking is a permitee of the USFS, Red Rock Ranger District.

The public agencies that oversee this region require that everyone pack out all solid waste, including human waste. We provide resources and training to make this manageable and efficient. However, if you'd rather embark on a trip in this region where that isn't required, we recommending checking out our Grand Canyon backpacking trips.

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Backpacking Trip
Sedona, AZ
3 days
23mi / 39km
Season: 9/1-2/28
$1035 Per Person

Travel from Phoenix to Sedona

  Private Trips

  See Trip Dates

Trip Dates & Booking

Click on a date to register.
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
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We may be able to add new trip dates.
800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Shuttle to the trailhead: 30-45 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 8 miles plus optional day hike
  • Elevation Gain: 1150 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 550 feet

This multi-day Sedona backpacking trip begins on a quintessential Sedona trail that provides some of the best panoramic views of the iconic Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness. After several miles of single track hiking from the trailhead, we'll traverse a short section of a remote 4x4 road with great views of the backside of Thunder Mountain and Brins Mesa. Our route draws us to the base of Lost Wilson Mountain, behind which lies Vultee Arch and the start of Dry Creek canyon for night 1 camp. We have the option to take the 3.5 mile round trip journey to see Vultee Arch before heading towards camp. Our camp is nestled in a quiet canyon surrounded by Arizona Cypress Trees and towering rock pinnacles. Our first day ends with good food, restful evening, and the anticipation of things to come as we drift into a much-deserved sleep.

Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 825 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 600 feet

On Day 2, we'll enjoy a relaxing morning and big breakfast, before breaking camp and hiking up a serene and lush canyon bottom with a wonderful high desert creekbed that sometimes is flowing from the northern runoff. This section can be relatively rugged with logs, rocky trails, and seasonal creek crossings. At the head of the valley we reach a new trail and enjoy amazing views in every direction as we descend into Secret Canyon, the longest and least explored drainage of this vast area. We soon find ourselves hiking in the welcome shade of tall Ponderosa pine trees. After another two or so miles we'll pitch our tents in this remote canyon. There lies the opportunity to explore, without our packs, further into Secret Canyon if we want and enjoy another delicious dinner before settling in for the night.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 8.5 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 620 feet
  • Shuttle to Sedona: 30-45 minutes

On our final day we follow beautiful Secret Canyon out of the wilderness. The sheltered trail where we spent the evening before opens up and beautiful red rock buttes and spires greet us as we start to see more and more of Sedona town in the distance. We’ll pass by the east face of Maroon Mountain and eventually return to our starting point. A short drive takes us back to Sedona to your individual accommodations and the conclusion of our amazing 3 day, backcountry adventure!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles and Microspike Crampons if necessary (in winter)
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Sedona hiking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Sedona, Arizona to the trailhead and back
  • National Forest recreation passes
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.

Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are three 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

This trip originates in Sedona. Your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before the trip start date to coordinate the pre-trip orientation, which will be at 5:00 PM at a hotel in Sedona. We're happy to give you a ride to this meeting if you're staying at one of our recommended hotels. Your guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Sedona Tours your guide will meet you at your hotel in Sedona at an agreed upon time.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time...etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides' off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Sedona backpacking trips is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 6 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in Sedona

Sedona is at 4500 feet elevation, which is considered high desert. It tends to be the most comfortable in Spring and Fall, but Summer and Winter are not extreme and are still great times to hike Sedona. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). Read below for average high and low temperatures in the Sedona area:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)

Camping on Backpacking Trips

backpacking tent

Backcountry Sleeping

Tent Camping

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

backpacking meals

Backcountry Cuisine

Fresh & Delicious

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

backpacking campsites

Amazing Campsites

In the Action

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

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