On an unmarked path, a natural rock formation called the “Subway” off Boyton Canyon Trail is a stunning natural feature. Interestingly, the site is one of the coolest places in Sedona but is not officially listed on area maps or brochures. Somehow, visitors to the area have to learn about it on their own and then do research to find it.
A friend of ours told us about the Subway. Gail took good notes from them and learned what trail we should take to find it. She also knew what landmarks to look for that pointed to our desired destination. Once we had the information, we prioritized Boyton Canyon Trail as a hike we definitely wanted to conquer.
The day we hiked Boyton Canyon Trail
We knew parking was limited at the trailhead. With that in mind, we planned to arrive early in hopes to secure a spot for our van, Alice. Luckily when we arrived, there were spaces left to park our oversized vehicle.
It always brings a smile and a sense of relief when a plan works!
Dressed and ready to go, we were on the trail in no time. We had high expectations for this hike and the speed of our feet was fast on the rocky path. The first mile or so meandered by a developed area of town adjacent to an upscale resort. This was not my idea of hiking through nature but I knew the landscape would improve eventually.
Locating the Subway
The purpose of this post is not to provide pointers on how to find this beautiful rock formation. I will leave the directions for other websites to provide. Truthfully, when we hiked the trail, I didn’t even think about taking notes on how to help my readers get there.
Does that make me an irresponsible blogger?
Luckily, getting directions to the Subway on-line is not difficult. As of the writing of this post, I saw three stories on a web search on how to find it. Click on this link for one of the direction sources I found.
As we stepped in front of the mouth of the Subway cave, I looked up not believing what we had to do next. The rock climb looked a bit intimidating at first and I quietly doubted myself. On second thought I noticed, others were climbing up the rock safely and I thought, “If they can do it, I can too!”
Without any discussion, Gail jumped in line first and waited for a couple of young women to find their way down the narrow shaft before starting her climb. I stood at the bottom watching Gail maneuver up the sandstone like a pro. Once she reached a safe place, she stopped and turned around to watch me.
The challenging climb was narrower than ideal for me and there were not too many places for foot pegs. I used my upper body strength as much as my feet to move towards the top.
At this point in the story, I must suggest to anyone going on this hike to wear proper footwear. The rock there is very slippery. Standard running shoes or sandals are not ideal for this adventure.
Experiencing the Subway and the Shelf
After the short and steep climb to the Subway cave, we were greeted by other visitors. For a few moments in time, we were frozen in awe. The view was a beautiful natural masterpiece.
The small group ahead of us was busy taking turns posing for photographs. Everyone was friendly and light-hearted as we watched one another document the moment.
When it was our turn for pictures, I handed over my Sony camera to a total stranger who graciously clicked pictures as we posed together.
From there, we learned that the rock shelf on the right side of the subway cave wrapped around the mountain. Gail and I decided to follow it as far as we could which was about a quarter mile in length beyond the cave.
This was a good decision for us. The rocky pathway provided access to some old indian ruins and a gorgeous morning view of the valley below.
The Subway off Boyton Canyon Trail was one of the best landscapes we visited in the Sedona area. It was fun to find, adventurous to climb and offered spectacular views of the red rock range.
Overall, we took our time and spent about an hour in and around the Subway before returning to the Boyton Canyon Trail and back to the parking lot.
We highly recommend visiting the Subway next time you are in Sedona!