New trails coming to a landscape near you

21 Nov 2023 7:59 PM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

The past two years (2022 and 2023) the trail improvement projects in the Red Rock Ranger District in the Sedona and VOC vicinity have focused on restoration and renovation, in addition to general maintenance of the trail system at large. Additional trail miles have not been added since 2021 when the 5-mile Rabbit Ears/Little Rock project was completed.

The USFS released their proposal for the Red Rock Trails Access Plan (RTAP) on November 21, 2023. RTAP proposes up to 30 miles of new trail construction (all non-motorized), adoption of 16 miles of user-created (social) trails, and naturalization of 21 miles of user-created trails. Location of these trails are in Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek and Cornville. For trail enthusiasts – this includes the long-awaited trail network for the Turkey Creek area, a figure eight trail atop Doe Mountain, an equestrian bypass for equestrians on the Rector Connector Trail and a few other connectors.

Every new trail on USFS public lands must first be submitted to a NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process involving rigorous investigation of the land that will be environmentally impacted unless categorically excluded. While the RTAP is categorically excluded from the lengthy NEPA process, it still must have archeological, botanical, and wildlife surveys that have been completed and must be reviewed by Forest Service hydrologists, engineers, and other specialists. (The required archeological study was funded by the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund).

Public comment period through Dec. 20th

With the research completed this Fall, the USFS plans to present the proposal and begin the process of hearing community and individual concerns in November. Public release of the proposal starts the clock on a 30-day public comment, and at least one public forum is planned to be held in the Village. The documents can be reviewed at, and links will also be posted on the SRRTF website,

At the conclusion of the public comment period, the District reviews the public inputs, and the final step is issuance of a Decision Memo approving the plan. Implementation is anticipated to take several years, as funding permits.

Year-end campaign - $175,000 goal

The Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund is the funding backbone of the trail system that provides access to the dramatic and enticing landscape. With federal allocations covering less that 10% (average) of the yearly cost of maintenance and enhancements of the non-motorized trails, donations are the means for sustaining this valuable asset.

In addition to the standard maintenance of the extensive trail system, the Trail Fund has committed in 2024 to providing funding support for the renovation of Soldiers Pass Trail, Schnebly Hill and Scheurman Trail, as well as the completion of Cathedral Rock Trail. (More information on these on the trail fund website). They are also committed to the growth of an endowment fund to ensure that the essential needs of the trails and forest will continue into the future. And when the RTAP is approved, will discuss the District’s funding needs for buildout. 

To spur year-end donations, a $15,000 donor match has been secured, which doubles the impact of donations received by December 31st. This year for the first time, donors can share their love for the trails with friends and family by giving a gift in their honor – for the holidays, for birthday/anniversary or other occasion.  Honorary gifts can include an inspirational certificate with personal message.

You can make donations online at or by mail (SRRTF, PO Box 4475, Sedona AZ 86340). SRRTF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and an Official Partner of the US Forest Service Red Rock Ranger District.

Photo - Trailhead of Turkey Creek Trail: Public comments are open through Dec. 20th on the proposed RTAP. This plan includes construction, adoption and naturalization of user-created (social) trails in the Village of Oak Creek, mostly west of Verde Valley School Road on 1,800 acres of National Forest lands. The project would also include reconstruction and expansion of the Turkey Creek trailhead.

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