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Name: Broken Arrow Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: (based on three votes)
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (Demanding 4WD)
Time: 2 - 4 hours Region: NW Arizona
Length: 3.4 miles (round trip). Add another 0.5 miles for side trips to Submarine Rock and Devil's Dining Room Elevation gain/loss/change: +375 / -375 ft / +0 ft (round trip)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 4400 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: Requires Red Rock Pass.
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Medium Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: Area is only open certain hours - verify before going Last updated: October, 2009
Short Description: The quintessential 4WD trail in Sedona. THIS is the one to go on
Geocaches: Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just one. The Arrow isn't Broken
References / Contact Information: Guide to Arizona Backroads & 4-wheel Drive Trails pages 98 – 101, Arizona Backcountry Adventures pages 280 - 282
Points of interest: Beautiful red rock scenery, fun four wheeling, Chicken Point, Submarine Rock, Devil's Dining Room
Special Considerations: Heavily traveled at times. Weekdays and mornings are the best times to go. Requires Red Rock Pass. These can be purchased at any Ranger station, kiosks, Circle K's and many other stores in Sedona or Oak Creek.
How to get there: From Phoenix, head north on I-17. Take the Sedona / Oak Creek exit and turn left. You are now traveling on Highway 179. Travel through the Village of Oak Creek and continue past Bell Rock. A couple of miles past Bell Rock, turn right on Morgan Road at the sign for Broken Arrow Estates (if you reach the intersection with Highway 89A you have gone too far – turn around and go back). Continue through the residential area. The four wheel drive trail begins and the end of the pavement. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

The Broken Arrow trail is located in the heart of the red rocks in Sedona. The Broken Arrow trail is a short, very scenic, moderately challenging 4wd trail. This is one of my favorite four wheel drive trails in Arizona.

There are numerous ledges that will test the ground clearance of stock vehicles and the steep descent down “The Steps” will be a test of nerves for novices. There is lots of slick rock, so traction is very good as long as it is dry. There are a few tight spots and sharp turns, so I wouldn’t recommend doing this trail in a large full-size 4x4. This trail can be done in any small to medium sized stock 4x4 with good ground clearance.

General Information and History

The road begins in a residential area just off Highway 179. Short spur trails off the main trail lead to Submarine Rock and a large sinkhole known as the Devil’s Dining Room. Chicken Point is a scenic overlook at the high point of the trail. The Steps present a hair-raising steep descent down a series of ledges along an optional section of trail on the return trip from Chicken Point. You will no doubt encounter many of the famous ‘Pink Jeeps’ along this trail (don’t let that discourage you - they tend to travel in small groups and move fairly quickly – I often find myself completely alone for long periods of time between Pink Jeep sightings).

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The Trail

When the pavement ends, you will see a small dirt parking area on the left. Continue to the right. Almost immediately, you will encounter the first obstacle – a small rocky ledge. If you can get over this ledge, you should be able to complete the entire trail without issue. Soon you will come to the first section of slickrock and a taste of the red rock scenery to come. Then on the right you will see the short spur road to the Devil’s Dining Room (it’s worth a look – especially since the spur road is very short).

Back on the main road you will come to a one-way section where the road splits. A short distance after the road re-joins, you will see a trail on your right. Stay to the left as the trail to the right is one-way. However if you want to get a sneak peek at The Steps, walk up this trail a short distance.

Just beyond the exit from The Steps, you will reach a fork. Turn left and take the short spur to Submarine Rock. Be sure not to miss it because this is one of the highlights of the trail. The trail climbs a steep section of slick rock before making a sharp left. You will now find yourself at the base of Submarine Rock. Park your vehicle and make the short climb to the top of Submarine Rock. There are great views of Sedona from the top of Submarine Rock.

Hop back in your 4x4 and retrace your route back to the fork. At the fork, turn left and make the short climb to Chicken Point. Along the way, make note of a right turn. Bear left for now, but on the return trip be sure to make the turn so you don’t miss the best section of the trail. At Chicken Point, get out and make the very short walk down to the scenic overlook. Below you can see Highway 179 snaking through the trees.

Head back down from Chicken Point and take the left turn you made note of earlier. This section of trail is lots of fun. There are sharp turns and small ledges to climb and descend. Drive around the thimble-like rock called the Roundabout. After winding around and going up and down some small hills you will come to The Steps. This obstacle may look intimidating, but it’s hard to go wrong. There are grooves worn in the rock from all of the vehicles descending The Steps over the years. You can use these as a guide. Your vehicle will slide a little as it drops off each successive ledge – the feeling can be unsettling, but firm brake pressure will bring your vehicle to a stop on any of the ledges if you feel the need to stop for a second and regroup.

A short distance beyond The Steps, you will intersect the trail you were on earlier. Turn left and follow the trail back out.

Have fun and be safe.

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