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Oak Creek–Chavez Crossing

Coconino National Forest
Sedona, Arizona 86336
Chavez Crossing webpage
Chavez Crossing map
Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive webpage
Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive map

Also, see Oak Creek Canyon

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Coconino County

Oak Creek–Chavez Crossing
Coordinates: 34.84399, -111.77706
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Birding in Arizona

About Chavez Crossing
Though surrounded by the golf courses and posh homes of the bustling art and resort town of Sedona, Chavez Crossing still offers the same country and creekside ambiance (and fabulous red rock scenery) as other forest camps in Oak Creek Canyon. Fishing and splashing in the cool, clear waters of Oak Creek are favorite activities here. Additional places to hike, sightsee, and swim are within easy traveling distance, too. Sedona itself provides a unique opportunity for visitors to Chavez Camp to take advantage of the nightlife and shopping provided by this popular tourist destination.

Campsites at Chavez Crossing are located in a grove of Arizona sycamores and Arizona cypress. Access roads are paved, and there are three separate sites, or you can reserve the whole campground.
From Chavez Crossing webpage

Tips for birding Oak Creek Canyon
Here, AZ-89A provides access to a unique section of the Mogollon Rim. The vegetation in this cold-air drainage resembles that found on the San Francisco Peaks, but Oak Creek technically runs below the Mogollon Rim. This geography provides for an amazing diversity of bird species, from higher elevation species like Band-tailed Pigeons and Grace’s Warblers, to lower elevation species like Common Black-Hawk and Black-chinned Sparrow, with a few specialties of its own – Magnificent Hummingbird, Red-faced Warbler, Painted Redstart, Winter Wren, and American Dipper can all be found here. All that and spectacular scenery on top of it! I have marked a few of my favorite locations, but there are quite a few campgrounds, pullouts, shops and restaurants, so there are plenty of places to explore.
From Northern Arizona Audubon Society

About Oak Creek Canyon
Get your camera ready for this one, and don’t forget your swim suit, hiking shoes, and fishing pole. Just south of Flagstaff, AZ-89A descends a breathtaking series of switchbacks into a scenic, smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon. Known for colorful rocks and unique formations, Oak Creek Canyon is famous the world around for its spectacular scenery.

Before you drive into the canyon you’ll want to stop at Oak Creek Canyon Vista.Here you can get a bird’s eye view of what awaits you down the road and, at the same time, shop for Native American jewelry and other craft items from the local Native American artists who set up displays along the pathways.

Once you’ve snaked your way down the switchbacks, US-89A winds a lazy course down the length of Oak Creek Canyon. It’s actually possible to enjoy the scenery here without leaving your car, but most people choose to get to know these crimson cliffs and crystal pools on a more personal basis. For that purpose, there are plenty of overlooks, picnic areas, swimming holes and hiking trails all along the drive. At Midgely Bridge, there’s a vista point with an especially unforgettable backdrop where you’ll want to stop and use that wide-angle lens.

As you leave Oak Creek Canyon and continue past Sedona through Red Rock Country, an observer with a sharp eye will recognize familiar shapes among the natural sculptures that form the horizon. Keep an eye out for Steam Boat Rock, Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock and more.

You can continue down this scenic route to I-17 and then back to Flagstaff, or you may want to turn around and do it all over again. Another way to complete the loop is to return to I-17 via Schnebly Hill Road rather than AZ-179. The vistas along this rocky but rewarding forest backroad are as good, if not better than any along the rest of the drive.

Attractions: Picnicking, Waterplay, Hiking, Fishing, Wildlife Watching, Photography

Road Condition: All roads are paved and plowed but can become slippery after a winter storm.

Driving Time: 2.5 hours or all day.
From Oak Creek Canyon webpage