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Name: Homestead Creek FR9845 Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: 4WD Difficulty: (moderate 4WD)
Time: 3 - 4 hours Region: NW Arizona
Length: 6.75 miles (one way) Elevation gain/loss/change: +934 / -996 ft / -62 ft (one way)
Type: Through trail Avg Elevation: 3900 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: NA
Fitness rating: Low Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Low Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: NA Last updated: October, 2006
Short Description: A moderately difficult 4WD trail down to an old homestead ruins and a secluded section of Oak Creek in southwest Sedona
Geocaches: Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. 9845 Giddy-up Trail; Red Rocks Rest Spot; Sparkle's First Cache
References / Contact Information: AZFJ; Guide to Arizona Backroads and 4-wheel Drive Trails pages 96 and 97; 4WD trips
Points of interest: Homestead ruins, Oak Creek.
Special Considerations: 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.Route can be difficult to follow at times
How to get there: From Sedona, take Hwy 89A west for about 8 miles until you reach Waypoint 001. Click here for directions.

Trail Description

The last portion of this trail leading down to the creek has been closed by the Forest Service recently (near Waypoint 05). You can no longer drive down to the creek. You can still do the trail from 89A to Lower Red Rock Loop Road, but the best part of the trip was heading down to the creek.

This is a nice, less popular trail in the Sedona area. It takes you down to a secluded spot along Oak Creek, where you can stop for a picnic in the shade. Most of the trail is easy 4WD, except for the final descent to Oak Creek, which can be challenging for some stock vehicles. Most high-clearance 4WD should do okay, but it is helpful to have at least a limited-slip in the back.

General Information and History

I believe this route used to be an old stage road, but I haven't been able to find conclusive evidence of this yet. It is also a very popular equestrian trail (there are some stables nearby). Please be considerate of the horseback riders. Pull over, stop your engine and wait until they pass.

On our first trip, we did just that. It was windy and the horses were spooked. There was a guide with a family on rental horses. These horses didn't seem like the kind you would want for people with no experience. We were still parked in our truck (about 100 feet away from the riders) when one of the horses went a little nuts (I think it was the wind) and reared and bucked. The rider (the mom I believe), got ejected, fell right on her butt. She was hurt pretty bad. We offered our assistance. The guide declined, radioed the ranch and was having an employee pick them up. My guess is the lady broke her tailbone (at least). It was very scary. Made me think twice about sending my family out on rental horses.

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The Trail

The last portion of this trail leading down to the creek has been closed by the Forest Service recently (near Waypoint 05). You can no longer drive down to the creek.

Note: Some topo maps have different Forest Road numbers in the area. I've attempted to call out the ones I believe are accurate, but some may not match what is on Forest Service maps, some topo maps and actual road markers. Use GPS waypoints and directions to follow the route.

At Waypoint 001, head south on FR9845 (I believe). If you look at some topo maps, there are tons of numbered roads in the area and it can be very confusing. Your best bet is to stay on the main road and follow the GPS coordinates. I sometimes get lost and have to backtrack out there even though I've been there before.

Follow the trail until you reach the rocky wash and dam at Waypoint 002. As you get close to Waypoint 003, you'll see a bunch of roads leading off in both directions. Some may continue to the same point, just keep going until you reach Waypoint 003 (I believe on FR9845H).

Continue to the right toward Waypoint 004. At one time, the trail connected here from one of the trails from the west, but it can be hard to find.

April 2016 Update: Road is closed after this point (see comments below).

Keep going, past Waypoint 005. At Waypoint 005A, you'll come to the shelf road. This is the most difficult portion of the trail. Going down is the easy part. Make sure you are comfortable coming back up it. This is the only way out.

At the bottom of the shelf road, you'll get to the sandy deposits from Oak Creek. The old homestead is off on your right. You can continue a little way down Oak Creek until the trail ends (Waypoint 006). There's a bunch of places to stop here, have a snack or explore Oak Creek. It's a great area, and keep an eye out for turtles. I saw a large one (by Arizona standards) in the water here. He was really cool. There was also a rope swing down there. I have no idea how deep the water is, but the kids liked swinging ... and NOT jumping in the water.

Now retrace your path to Waypoint 003. How did you like coming back up the shelf road?

Head east here. Supposedly, at around Waypoint 007, there's a small trail to the right that leads to a nice viewpoint, but I have never been on it.

Continue northeast until you reach Lower Red Rock Loop Road (Waypoint 008). If you have time, head down to Red Rock State Park nearby. It's really nice.

Be safe and have fun!

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Have you been on this adventure? What did you think? Comments and updates welcome by clicking here. You can also rate this adventure by clicking here.

Member Comments

Portion of the road closed

I ran this trail as far as I could today. After the cliff hanger portion and
a bit past that where the trail starts to get narrow there is a big new
steel gate that is locked. The trail is closed down now.

Looking at my, "2nd Edition of Arizona Back Roads and 4 Wheel Drive Trails Guide Book" it seems that the closest GPS coordinates where the gate is installed are at: N34 48.696 W111 52.165. The map in my book also states just beyond this point with an arrow pointing to the gated spot; "Planned road closure exact point not known at time of this printing. There is a place you can turn around about 200 ft back from the new gate. I didn't see any signs as I was back a bit behind my friend who was in the first Jeep right at the gate. It did seem you could park and walk down to the creek. We were both very disappointed as this was my first time there and he was very excited to show me the whole trail and the creek.

PS: My buddy had just been to this spot two months ago so I'm guessing that this was just installed a couple of weeks ago.

Editor's Comments: I looked at the updated Coconino National Forest MVUM and it shows this road is now closed before the creek.

Shelf road has eroded

April 8, 2012: Coming back up the shelf road was a little concerning in our stock Rubicon, but we made it. I would not have gone down had I known the I had to come back up. It is eroded so picking the I correct line is critical.

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