Sycamore Canyon Wilderness
Sycamore Canyon is the second largest canyon in the red rock country between Williams and Sedona. The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness includes some 55,964 acres of red cliffs, pinnacles and buttes rising above a desert riparian habitat. The wilderness starts at the pine-and-fir-forested north rim of the canyon just out of Williams and drops southward off the Colorado Plateau and over the Mogollon Rim to the canyon's desert mouth in the Verde Valley west of Sedona. Sycamore Canyon is about 20 miles long and up to 7 miles wide in spots. Sycamore Creek flows along the bottom, feeding a lush riparian habitat featuring many cottonwoods, walnuts and sycamores, and providing water for the black bears, ringtails, mule deer, elk, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and scorpions that live here.
There are a number of good hiking trails in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, some of them leading to historic cabins from Arizona's homesteading days, others to ancient Sinagua ruins. If you come across cultural resources out here, enjoy them and leave them where you found them. Same for the old cowboy stuff... The Sycamore Rim Trail is an 11-mile journey along the Mogollon Rim at the upper edge of Sycamore Canyon, but there's no water up here so bring lots of your own. And you'll probably want to avoid the ridiculous heat of summer... You can camp just about anywhere, except a small area around Parson's Spring at the southern end of the canyon.
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness is unique enough that it was the first designated Primitive Area in Arizona. In the 1984 Arizona Wilderness Act, its status was changed to that of a designated Wilderness Area. As close as this area is to all the hubbub and busy-ness of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, most of those folks don't come over here.
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness area map