Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, Arizona -
Beyond the Pavement: Schnebly Hill Road
by Joseph A. Sprince - Photography by Gerald B. Allen
Exploring Sedona's beautiful red rock country beyond the pavement is a time-honored tradition. Guided jeep
tours are a highly popular means of exploring rugged canyons, visiting remote Indian ruins, and taking in
great scenery. You can also rent a jeep, or go off in your own four-wheel drive vehicle. Just remember that
it takes a skilled and experienced driver to handle a challenging off-road route.
The Schnebly Hill Road is one of the most well-known and scenic routes in the Sedona area. A former cow
trail, the road became the main route from Sedona to Flagstaff before being replaced by the Oak Creek Canyon
Road (US-89A) in 1914. The road is named after pioneer, Carl Schnebly, who settled near Oak Creek in 1900,
building a home and general store. He became the area's first postmaster naming the postal station,
Sedona, after his wife. This name was of course then used for the town.
This rocky dirt road climbs Bear Wallow Canyon, then twists and turns up the hill. There are some drop-offs but the recommended uphill lane is always on the inside.
After six miles you reach the spectacular Schnebly Hill Vista, about 1,800 feet higher than Sedona. The view features the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon, Steamboat Rock, Sedona town, and Mingus Mountain to the west.
The route continues climbing, eventually reaching ponderosa pine forests. Four miles from the vista point, the road passes a meadow area at an old
ranch called Foxboro. The road then ends at Interstate-17 in three more miles. You may then return to Sedona by the main highways.
The Coconino National Forest charges a daily five dollar parking fee if you stop anywhere on forest service land. This includes
Schnebly Hill Road. The money is used to help manage the area. Passes may be purchased at
visitor centers in Oak Creek and Sedona.
Most drivers in a high clearance two-wheel drive vehicle can negotiate the Schnebly Hill Road if they take it slow. A family sedan is not suitable as the road becomes very rocky in places.
The road is impassable when wet.
About Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona
is the gateway to spectacular scenery and outdoor recreation in
Oak Creek Canyon and the surrounding Red Rock
Country of Arizona's Mogollon Rim. The town also offers world-class resorts, shopping, arts and crafts
(such as at the famous Tlaquepaque Village,
varied cuisine, cultural events, "new age energy vortexes", and more.
Oak Creek Canyon offers great scenic hiking, fishing, and access to wilderness areas. One highlight is
Slide Rock State Park, a natural water park right in Oak Creek.
The West Fork of Oak Creek is perhaps the most popular hike, with wonderful
colors in the autumn.
Four wheel drive jeep tours are also very popular. The popular Schnebly Hill Road
can be accessed with a high clearance vehicle.
Our Sedona-Oak Creek Travel Guide is a resource for those planning to tour the famed red rock
country of northern Arizona. This guide includes coverage of Sedona,
Oak Creek Canyon, Prescott, and
the Verde Valley including the historic town of Jerome. The area features
diverse outdoor recreation, spectacular sightseeing, shopping and culture, Indian ruins, historic sites,
even wine tasting.
The National Forest Service charges a $5 per day recreational use fee (Red Rock Passes). Passes can be
obtained at local visitor centers. (America the Beautiful Passes, Golden Age, and Golden Access passes are
accepted and honored in lieu of the Red Rock Pass.) Visitor centers can be found in downtown Sedona,
the village of Oak Creek, and the north end of Oak Creek Canyon.
Directions: from Flagstaff, south on Arizona-89a; from Phoenix, north on I-17, west on Arizona-179. Visit time: can drive through in
half a day, can easily spend a week in the area.
Get the Best of the West for your Vacation!
Make the most of your valuable time! Purchase the American West Travel Itinerary - Trip Planner by the American West Travelogue Editor, based on over 30 years of first-hand experiences. Customized and prepackaged plans available.
New and Recent
Travel Planning Service
Connect With Us
Adventuring in Arizona
by John Annerino
The authoritative guide to outdoor adventure in the wild and beautiful Grand Canyon State.
Buy This Book!
by Richard K. Mangum, Sherry G. Mangum
This book is the bible for Sedona hikers, the one that knowledgeable people recommend.
It contains detailed descriptions and maps that guide the reader to 135 day hikes around the Sedona area.
Buy This Book!
Arizona's Mogollon Rim runs roughly east-west across the north central
part of the state. The top of the rim offers cool and wooded places. Thousands
of feet below you will find fascinating canyons which eventually gives way
to the Sonoran Desert. The following pages offer a sampling of Rim Country.
More Related Pages...
Interstate 40 runs roughly parallel to the Rim across the state and provides
access to all areas. From Phoenix, access is by I-17 or State Highway 87.
Take I-17 north to AZ 179. Schnebly Hill Road is on the right before Highway US-89A.
Search Our Site