This is really the first challenge along the trail. Follow the tire tracks south over the slick rock as the trail returns to dirt. Stay straight at 0.4 miles where a quick side trip leads to a sinkhole. Proceed along the trail slowly. It is often only narrow enough for one vehicle. If you meet another vehicle, back up to the nearest pullout to let them pass.
Just after a half mile, you’ll come to a split. Stay right to follow the rules of the one-way trail system along this trail. The one-way trail system aims at reducing congestion. The route to Chicken Point is a two way trail, but if you continue on the spur past Chicken Point, you have to complete the whole loop which includes Devil’s Staircase, the toughest part. The trail rejoins just before 0.7 miles. Stay straight at 0.9 miles where the Chicken Point/Staircase Loop exits. At exactly 1.0 mile, you’ll come to a junction. Continuing left will take you to Submarine Rock (0.2 mile roundtrip) while continuing right is the route to Chicken Point. There is a small parking area after a difficult ledge that lets you explore Submarine Rock. We elected to not check out Submarine Rock, but if you want to see it, add 0.2 to the rest of the mileage counts.
South of Submarine Rock, the trail becomes more difficult. Several eroded spots require careful tire placement and a decent amount of articulation to get over. Stay straight at 1.3 miles where the loop continues to the staircase to the right. You are still on a two-way spur trail to Chicken Point. At 1.7 miles, you’ll arrive at Chicken Point as the trail remains moderately difficult. Be sure to stop at Chicken Point to check out the terrain and get some cool pictures of your vehicle on the red rocks. When you’re done at Chicken point, continue 0.4 miles back the way you came and turn left at 2.1 miles for the Devil's Staircase spur trail (more difficult but also more fun) or stay straight and retrace your route 1.7 miles back to the start.
Continuing on the loop, the trail meanders between slick rock and hard packed dirt. After just a few hundred feet, the trail climbs onto the slick rock and goes around a neat, natural roundabout before heading west uphill. Follow the tire tracks along this section as the trail loosely navigates over the slick rock. At 2.2 miles, turn sharp right downhill, then turn left at the bottom of the hill. From here, you’ll be at the highpoint of the trail and be able to see Submarine Rock. The trail continues through small patch of dirt before returning to slick rock at 2.4 miles. Off-trail, you’ll see several spots to “test” your vehicles capabilities Do so at your own risk. The trail continues on dirt northeast until you reach the infamous Devil’s Staircase at 2.6 miles. There is a small parking area above the staircase should you want to inspect it first.
The staircase itself is both the most challenging and most fun part of the trail. The steep series of slick rock steps requires careful driving. Creep down at a slow pace and don’t be afraid to use brakes. This is where clearance matters. The more you have, the less likely you’ll be to scrape. This is also where skid plates will help should you not have the clearance. Our Jeep with a 3.5” lift and 31” tires didn’t scrape despite having skid plates on just in case. At the bottom of the staircase, the trail rejoins the main trail at 2.7 miles. Turn left to continue back to Morgan Road. It is 0.9 miles back over the same obstacles back to the finish, bringing the entire trip mileage up to 3.6 miles (without Submarine Rock).
Summary/Trail Ratings: There is no doubt that Broken Arrow is challenging. It isn’t the hardest trail in Arizona but it’s the most technical we’ve been on so far. We’ve rated it ‘8’ out of 10. 4WD and high clearance are a must. Skid plates recommended. Lockers helpful if you want to play around. The trail is only 3.6 miles round trip but will take anywhere from 1-3 hours to complete. The quicker you run the trail, the less likely you’ll be to have to let people pass. This trail is only open to street-legal vehicles and is partly owned by Pink Jeep Tours. Be courteous and enjoy this gem.
Easily the most popular and best trail in Sedona, Broken Arrow allows you to put your vehicle through an extreme test of its capabilities. This trail is a great way to quickly escape Sedona and literally drive over the beautiful red rocks, all while making your passengers feel a little queasy.
Page last updated: 6/20/2016
Last Known Status: Open
Trail Type: Out & back
Length: 3.6 miles roundtrip
Approx. time: 1-3 hours
Traffic: Very Heavy
Current Info: Coconino N.F./Red Rock R.D. (928) 203-2900
Elevation: 4276' - 4604'
Nearest City: Sedona
No Red Rock Pass required.
How to get there: From downtown Sedona (Highway 89A/Highway 179 junction), head south along highway 179. Follow it for 1.1 miles through two roundabouts. At the third roundabout, head east on Morgan Road. Follow Morgan Road through a residential area for 0.5 miles until the pavement ends. A small parking lot is off to the left along the dirt trail to air down at.
The trail: About 500 feet after leaving the pavement (and just after the parking area), the trail passes over a moderate rock ledge intended to make sure only vehicles suitable for the trail continue. With that in mind, make sure your vehicle is ready for this trail. Most aggressive SUV’s with high clearance and 4-wheel drive can make this trail. Skid plates are a good idea especially if you’ll be going down the Devil’s Staircase. After the ledge, the trail continues south through the woods. At 0.3 miles, the trail turns right and passes over a slick rock section.
Best Time: Spring-Fall