The red-rock landscape of Sedona, Arizona is nothing short of incredible. It’s also an overlander’s dream, with accessible but challenging off roading terrain and unbeatable views of steep canyons, vortexes, spires, and star-filled skies. The perfect place to pitch your ROAM Roof Top Tent.
We've compiled a list of some of our favorite places to off-road in Sedona accompanied by some great dispersed camping spots.
The Outlaw Trail is popular due to its proximity to town and its 6.4 point to point drive with dispersed camping access. With sprawling views of red rocks, and challenging terrain, The Outlaw Trail feels remote. It also boasts Native American cliff dwellings at theHonanki Heritage Site. Because this is one of Sedona’s most scenic and diverse routes it can also tend to be busy, so don’t expect to be far away from the typical Pink Jeeps and other tourist shenanigans. Post activities park at one of the many dispersed camping spots off ofF.S. 525, also known as Loy Butte Road.
Located 25 minutes outside of downtown Sedona.
Directions to Loy Butte Road:
1) From downtown, head southwest toward AZ-89A.
2) Continue on AZ-89A for 7.8mi.
3) Turn right onto Forest 525 Rd/Loy Butte Road
Looking for a bit more thrill after your Outlaw ride? You can add on DiamondBack Gulch for an extra 2 hour trail that is more technical than view-filled. It’s a bit of a roller coaster, with big climbs leading to steep descents at the 4 mile mark. The road is hardly boring, the twists and turns will have you focused the whole time. If you’re looking to pick up the speed and avoid a post-ride headache without forgoing thrill, DiamondBack Gulch is for you.
DiamondBack Gulch is located off of FR 525, utilize the same directions as Outlaw OHV Trail above.
The well-known Schnebly Hill Road lives up to the hype. We will admit, due to its popularity, it’s likely to be busy and the condition of the road has deteriorated, making for an extra bumpy ride. Don’t attempt this one without a high clearance 4x4 vehicle.
You may have to work for it and the ride might be at times unpleasant, but the reward is one of the best campsites in Sedona past the vista point. Plus, everyone that avoided the 4x4 recommendation or hit a few too many boulders, will be too discouraged to make it to the top which means you may just get a private sunset view. Dispersed camping is available on Schnebly Hill Road/FR 153, where Schnebly Hill OHV Trail is located.
Directions to Schnebly Hill Road:
1) The start of Schnebly Hill Road is just 5 minutes from town. Head south at the roundabout toward AZ-179S.
2) Continue on Schnebly Hill Road. Note, Schnebly Hill Road is a 11.8 mi road, you can camp in dispersed camping spots.
3) To access the Schebly Hill Vista Overlook, from downtown it will be 40+ minutes.
If you’re looking to offroad without the crowds, Sedona in general probably isn’t for you. Much like Schnebly, The Broken Arrow trail is a fan favorite, so expect to have some company. This iconic 3.6 mile out and back trail is just plain fun, but it isn't for the faint of heart. At .2 miles in you’ll meet your first obstacle, a big climb-up-ledge. If your vehicle can’t clear it, you’re better off turning around. Further down the trail you’ll get to a one-way fork and then the loop begins.
Make sure to take the Submarine rock detour, from there you can scope out the rest of the drive and reward yourself with some killer views for making it past the first couple of obstacles. Note, there is no dispersed camping from this trail. But, given Broken Arrow Trail is only 6.7 miles, we recommend going back through town to other spots roof top tent camping spots mentioned. These include FR 525, FR 123 or FR 237 also known as Pumphouse Wash.
Pumphouse Wash is located 22 minutes from downtown Sedona.
Directions to Pumphouse Wash:
1) From downtown, head north onto N State Rte 89A.
2) Drive for 12.8 miles through Oak Creek Canyon. About 2 miles past Oak Creek Vista you will see a right turn on FR 237.
3) About half a mile in dispersed camping will begin.
If you’re making just a quick trip to Sedona and only have time for a taste of Sedona’s off-roading scene, Soldier Pass Trail is a safe and short bet. You’ll need a permit and only 12 cars are allowed at a time, but a perk to that is that you get the views without the crowds. Plus, you’ll get prime views of the Seven Sacred Pools, a series of natural rock pools, and Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole. Park your car and hike to the Soldier Pass Cave on the Soldier Pass hiking trail. This trail is chock-full of Sedona beauty and its ledgy climbs and rocky descents ensures you’re satisfying your inner thrill seeker. Because the trail is only 2.4 miles, you will have plenty of time to navigate to a dispersed camping spot. One of our favorite dispersed camping spots is Edge of the World.
Directions to Edge of the World:
1) From downtown, head north on N State Rte 89A for 16.6 miles.
2) Take a left onto Co Rd 535/ Woody Mountain Road and continue for 19.4 miles.
3) Note, Co Rd 535 will turn into FR 231.
Well, you have heard about some of our favorite places to roam in Sedona. Let's hear about yours, but don't give away the secret spots. Keep those for yourself to enjoy with your ROAM roof top tent and ROAM gear.