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Recommendation for Type of Car to Rent

Chicago, IL
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Recommendation for Type of Car to Rent

Hello. We will be in Sedona from Dec. 24 - Jan 3, with an overnight trip to the Grand Canyon. Our plan is to spend most of the days hiking around Sedona on these trails (Fay Canyon, Doe Canyon, Bear Mountain, Munds Wagon, Secret Canyon, Soldiers Pass/Brins Mesa, Boynton Canyon and West Fork). We will be renting a car and I'm wondering if we need a high clearance vehicle to access any of these trails. Or will a regular car be okay? Thanks!

6 replies to this topic
Flagstaff, Arizona
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1. Re: Recommendation for Type of Car to Rent

I have never heard of a "Doe CANYON" trail. There is a Doe MOUNTAIN trail. Maybe others know of it... [Actually, if it exists, I'd love to know the details and hike it some day!!! ;-) ]

All the other trails you mention -- with the exception of Secret Canyon -- are accessible from trailheads on paved roads. No high clearance or 4x4 needed. And they would be strongly discouraged in any event, as you can not take rental vehicles off paved roads per the rental contract.

The Secret Canyon Trailhead is unfortunately located on the high-clearance REQUIRED, 4x4 useful, dirt/rock/sand/??? Vultee Arch Rd [known by several names, but officially Forest Road 152]. You do NOT want to take a "city 4x4" like you'd get at the Phoenix airport or rental SUV on this road. It might give you "comfort", but wouldn't get you through the 4x4 spots.

If you are determined to hike Secret Canyon, you can walk the 2+ miles -- each way -- from a paved parking lot to the trailhead along FR152 [a horrible walk IMO, but you would not be alone. Far too many people begin the trip in their rental SUVs only to 'abandon' them along the way and walk... Don't do it!!!] or you can rent a suitably equipped Jeep from Balows in W Sedona. It will be an expensive rental compared to a regular car; I definitely wouldn't rent a Barlow Jeep for your entire visit! [You could use it to "explore" the backroads after your Secret Canyon hike, however. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon..]

If you want/need an SUV for the room -- luggage or passengers -- you can rent one, but otherwise a standard sedan will do.

The only other issue you might encounter will be weather. We are currently having VERY dry -- and warm -- weather. The forecast through Christmas is for the same. I notice you will be going to GC and mention YakTrax. If you have them AND it gets cold enough in Sedona [highly unlikely] you might use them on some of the trails. It will be unlikely. If we do get wet weather in your visit timeframe, the trails could be muddy. Nothing to worry about!!! You will likely get your feet wet on West Fork! And the Creek water will be cold. Plan accordingly.

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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2. Re: Recommendation for Type of Car to Rent

Rent whatever vehicle you’re comfortable driving. You’ll be driving on all paved highways.

Secret Canyon is a long day and Rubidune’s advice is sound. There are many trails that are easily accessible in the Secret Mountain Wilderness. You might b3 confusing them. And Doe is a mountain (Mesa), not a Canyon.

Kalispell, Montana
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for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
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3. Re: Recommendation for Type of Car to Rent

Any car which you are comfortable in and which holds your luggage is fine. They should have all weather tires though and at least front wheel drive. Those 2 things help if there should be any ice or snow on the roads. Most rentals are equipped that way. Look at booking through Costco. Even if you are not members, and have to pay a small fee, it is usually still a lot less $$ than booking direct. Plus, they use the same mainstream companies, and the same choice of cars.

https://www.costcotravel.com/Rental-Cars

Watch the weather reports is all...so far this year has been a dryer and less Wintery year in the Sedona/GC area..

Kalispell, Montana
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for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
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4. Re: Recommendation for Type of Car to Rent

I forgot to mention, on the way into Sedona from Phoenix, stop at the Visitor’s Center Ranger Station just south of the Village of Oak Creek on the 179. Pick up some free local maps and trail guides...and if you need it purchase your Sedona parking pass. If you already have an America the Beautiful, Senior or Military National Parks pass...those work as Sedona parking passes. They are just not good for State Parks or Red Rock Crossing.

Sedona, AZ
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5. Re: Recommendation for Type of Car to Rent

Present your National Parks Pass at the RR Ranger Station. They will give you a sleeve for your NP pass that will serve as the Red Rock (parking) Pass.

Chicago, IL
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6. Re: Recommendation for Type of Car to Rent

Thank you for everyone's advice. Sorry about the Doe hike mistake. I meant Doe Mountain. This is obviously our first trip to Sedona so the trails are just names without places connected to them yet. And thank you for the information about the road to Secret Canyon. I didn't realize the road to the trailhead was that impassable. No, we are not determined to hike that particular trail. I had just read about it and it seemed like a beautiful trail. So, I'll chose a different hike. And thank you for the information about the weather and the parking pass. I did know about the Red Rock Pass and we were already planning to pick one up. And regarding the weather, I would be perfectly happy to keep the YakTrax in their box for the trip and hike down into the GC on a trail that's not covered in ice!

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