Hopping to Grasshopper
Located a few miles north of Sedona proper, Grasshopper Point is one of the lower elevation swimming spots—save for a few places near Midgeley Bridge—that start to beckon as the weather warms. While it usually it takes an unseasonably warm April day to draw out the swimmers, the end of the month and into May often open up the chance to take a dip.
Grasshopper Point is typically overlooked by locals because there is a fee to park there. The fee is $8 per vehicle and $2 for walk-ins. And it’s collected separately from the Red Rock Pass, so those passes are not eligible. However, an annual “Big Three” pass that gets people into Grasshopper, West Fork’s Call O’ the Canyon parking area and Crescent Moon Ranch is a nice option for families and people wanting to swim.
In fact, the fee keeps Grasshopper a modestly visited location compared to spots along the creek below Midgeley Bridge and other just-off-the-road locations. Grasshopper is primarily a day-use and picnic area that also has great stretches of swimmable creek. The creek bends and slackens, creating a nice, deep section. Also, some shallower pools and small cascades are nice to explore up-creek.
Grasshopper also has two notable trails that it accesses—Allen’s Bend and Casner Canyon. Allen’s bend is a stony and ancient-looking walkway along an outcropping of rock. The necks of sycamores crane around boulders and up to the sky. After walking this trail a short distance west and north, it intersects with a path that leads to Casner Canyon.
To get to Casner, hikers have to ford the creek. On the other side, the trail makes its ascent from the canyon’s mouth and into the more secretive backcountry of Oak Creek Canyon. The steep climb feels as if it passes behind the scenes of Sedona’s red-rock lands, as it reaches the rim a half-mile north of the Schnebly Hill Overlook. Along the way, the trail features interesting pockmarked sandstone walls, tall cedars and undercut overhangs of rock for shady breaks.
Savvy hikers can park a car or do a key exchange with a car at the overlook and a car at Grasshopper Point, where Allen’s Bend Trail begins. At the end of the trail, trekkers also can use the creek to cool off, even floating downstream to the bend at Grasshopper Point as a way to cool off.
Drive 25 miles south from Flagstaff or two miles north from Sedona on U.S. 89A. Park at the Grasshopper Point recreation Area. Allen's Bend Trail starts at the north end of the Grasshopper Point parking lot.
Five miles as an up-and-back hike
Moderate to strenuous.
Coconino National Forest Red Rock District at (928) 282-4119 or www.redrockcountry.org. Fee at Grasshopper Point required.