Mushroom Rock in Sedona, Arizona

Mushroom Rock


Mileage: 5.1
Elevation gain: 1477 feet
Time to complete: 3-4 hours
Stars: ★★★★
Difficulty: 3/5 (Ratings explained)
Steep in spots, route finding

Boynton Canyon is home to some of the most impressive scenery in Sedona, and Mushroom Rock makes a great destination if you’re willing to go off the beaten path. Easily get on top of the mushroom for a great photo op. If you’re up for more, make a slightly sketchy side trip up to the neighboring Sky Island for a phenomenal view of Boynton Canyon on one side and Long Canyon on the other.

Trail Description

Boynton Canyon Trailhead is also the trailhead for the very popular Subway Cave, so you will either need to get there very early or be prepared to park on the street. Watch for no parking signs near the turn off for the trailhead, and park farther down the street where it’s legal. We saw several cars ticketed last time we were there. You’ve been warned.

Deadman’s Pass Trail

From the trailhead, you’ll start on the Deadman’s Pass trail with the hordes of people heading for the Subway Cave. After a short distance, turn left at a well-marked junction with Boynton Canyon Trail.

Boynton Canyon Trail

The Boynton Canyon Trail starts out skirting the outside of the Enchantment Resort as it passes popular attractions like the Kachina Woman and the Boynton Canyon Vortex.

Boynton Canyon Trail

Before the Subway crowds get to their turn off, watch for a prominent trail that branches off to the right. Make sure you have GPS to help you find the right spot. From here, you can see Sky Island, which is a skinny fin that separates this canyon from the next one over and has a layer of white on top.

View of Sky Island
Sky Island in the distance

Cross the wash, go through the manzanita, and continue up to a small ridgeline of rock. Bear right, keeping the ridgeline to your right and staying on rock as much as possible. This spot has a cool two-tone “pipeline.”

The "Pipeline" two-tone rock
The “Pipeline”

As you continue up this direction, you’ll do some scrambling to make it up to the next level of the red rock. When you reach a higher level, bear left, and walk along the cliff band until you reach the end of the cliff. At that point, you can essentially u-turn to the right to come around the other side.

Mushroom Rock

Mushroom Rock will be visible up ahead on the right. Keep going past Mushroom Rock to a small saddle where you can make your way on top of the rock.

You might want to leave a photographer behind to get your epic shot.

Jumping on Mushroom Rock
Jumping on top of Mushroom Rock

If you continue beyond Mushroom Rock, you can go down to see it from the other side, where it looks more like Starship Enterprise.

Mushroom Rock looking like Starship Enterprise
Mushroom Rock looking like Starship Enterprise

Pretty cool, right?

Sky Island Option

If you are the type who likes to scramble up on top of things, take the side trip up to Sky Island for one of the best views of Sedona (that you’ll likely have all to yourself).

Additional mileage 1.1
Additional elevation gain 418

To do this, go back to the small saddle, and make your way up onto the white layer. Follow the cliff band toward the left until you find a break in the cliff where you can scramble up. This part can be pretty tricky, and it may take a few tries to find the path that will grant you access to the top. Also, I felt like I was in a precarious spot at least once, so make sure everyone who attempts this is comfortable with some slightly sketchy scrambling and light exposure.

Slightly sketchy scrambling and light exposure on the way to the top of Sky Island
Scrambling up to Sky Island

Once you get to the top of the ridge, you can look over the other side for a dizzying view to the bottom of the next canyon. But you are not at the summit yet, so continue to the right, climbing up where necessary to reach the top. There was a summit register there when we went, but you’ll know you’re at the top when you run out of things to climb up. There was nothing terribly difficult to climb once atop the ridge, so if something feels sketchy, look for another way.

Oh, that view!

Summit of Sky Island
The grin on my face says it all

Don’t panic. I had a helmet on because we were going to rappel down this baby. There’s a route called Mushroom Drops, and you can read all about it on Sedona Canyoneering.

It’s worthwhile to turn back and walk the ridgeline all the way to the other end. From that vantage point, you can see all the tiny humans hiking into the Subway Cave and feel happy you’re having this epic adventure without all of them.

Map & Directions

Location Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, Sedona, Arizona

From Highway 89A, go north on Dry Creek Road in West Sedona. That will turn into Boynton Pass Road. Keep left at the fork. Turn right onto Boynton Canyon Road. The Boynton Canyon Trailhead will be on your right. This is a very popular hiking area, so go early enough to find parking or allow extra time to park on the street.

Fees/Passes Red Rocks Pass or America the Beautiful Pass required. Pay kiosk at the trailhead.

Trailhead Facilities Pit toilets

Download KML or GPX

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Disclaimer Outdoor activities have inherent risk, and we will not be able to tell you all the risks you may face. You are responsible for your own safety, so prepare as well as you can and know your limits. Follow this guide at your own risk. And have fun!

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