Bypass Canyon

Bypass Canyon is perfect for experienced hikers who want more challenge and a bigger reward. It offers a backdoor into the center of Boynton Canyon, without all the crowds and the hike around the Enchantment Resort.
RATING: All the routes described below are rated as difficult due to route finding, steep climbs, thick brush and the remote location. We've described three different ways to explore Bypass Canyon below.

Access From the Kachina Tree Cave

Simply return to the trail you used to come up, and instead of going down, continue another 100 feet higher to the saddle above the Kachina Tree. Suddenly the world opens up and you discover there is another amazing canyon just over the hill. You will be presented with the view shown in the photo above. Note the two long ledges, marked with green vegetation, running down the sunlit cliff on the right.

You want the LOWER LEDGE (shown below). It's quick and easy, though it does get a little narrow. The upper ledge is a dead end.
Hikers on the Bypass Ledge

To get on that lower ledge start out by walking away from it, which is actually back toward Boynton Pass Road. Find the break in the cliff and voila, you can access the Bypass Ledge. Remember, it's the LOWER ONE.
At the upper end of the route is the saddle, and a 3-way junction of canyons, with one of our top 10 favorite viewpoints in Red Rock Country, shown in the two photos below.
Boynton Bypass (northwest saddle)

From this junction there are two ways to drop into Boynton Canyon and connect with the system trail you started out on. The bigger view (above) is in the main saddle, straight ahead.

The Main Saddle Route

To get down and connect to the main trail going this way, find a faint social trail by taking the left side of the saddle, like the hiker in the second photo above. That faint trail drops into the wash and stays along the left side the entire way.

As you go down it's consolidates and becomes easy to follow. It looks like the photo below as you near the main trail. Once you connect to the main trail the DreamSpeaker, the Subway Cave, and the parking lot are all to the right. Turn left on the Boynton Canyon trail and you will reach the end in about a mile.

The Women's Village Route

The OTHER saddle (to the right at the junction) takes you past the cliff dwellings of Women’s Village (shown in the photos below). The brush is so thick the only footpath through it make it easy to find your way onto this broad ledge. It clearly had a defensive wall at the access point, beyond which are several more structures.

Women's Village Ledge
Women's Village Ledge

To get down going this way you would then simply backtrack off the ledge to the wash, then continue down that same wash another 20-30, looking for a footpath breaking to the right. This social trail, running along the bottom of the cliff, will bring you back to the system trail again, passing another cliff dwelling along the way (shown below).
Hiker at cliff dwelling on the descent from Women's Village
The parking area will be to your right, the Subway Cave, the Dreamspeaker and the end of the trail will be to your left. In the photo below the hiker is sitting on the ledge near the Women's Village, the main trail is directly in front him, and the wash is below and to the right. The route described above runs along the base of the shaded cliff to his right. The cliff dwelling along this route is near the point, just before it drops down to the system trail.
View from the Women's Village

Access from Boynton Pass Road:
The Crystal Trail

We rate this route as difficult due to a steep climb near the beginning, total distance and some route finding. There is an established social trail marked with rock cairns (small columns of 3-4 stacked rocks). The Crystal Trail frontloads all the elevation gain into the beginning of the hike. In the middle of the route there is a narrow traverse across the top of a cliff, so that part is not for those who are afraid of heights.
The best parking spot is along Boynton Pass Rd, near the intersection with Boynton Canyon Rd. From the intersection a footpath goes directly toward the nearest high point (shown on the left side of the photo below). It's a little easier to see in the photo at the top of this page, since it's the shaded left side.
Beginning of the Crystal Trail

There are several "steps" up to reach the right ledge. This trail will provide access to the first step by climbing up a steep slope just to the right of the point, where there is an obvious break in the cliffs (shown below). The first climb is approximately 430 feet, so when you reach the top of the first step much of the 639 feet of total uphill climb is already over.
Starting uphill
A steep section of the Crystal Trail during the first uphill climb
Look for a ruin with thick walls (shown below) at the top of the second step up. We call it Juniper House because there is a large Juniper tree growing in one of the rooms. 
Bypass Ruin
This is why we call it Juniper House
Juniper House
There are big also views in this section of the trail. The platform rock near Juniper House (shown below) makes a great photo location for Instagram models!
View from the Crystal Trail near Juniper House
From the ruin you will make your way toward the big spire shown. Fay Canyon is to the left of the spire. To enter Bypass Canyon veer toward the bottom of the cliff to the right. Follow the cairns in this next section to make sure you stay on the route.
Hikers on the Crytsal Trail
I refer to this route in Bypass Canyon as the Crystal Trail because of the large and numerous quartz crystals embedded in the rock after you pass the spire (shown below).
Crystals along the Bypass Route
The hard work you had to do going uphill at the beginning of the hike now begins to pay off in a big way, because the views will just keep getting better as you go! The view below is looking north toward Long Canyon.
Bypass view of Boynton Canyon
Near the spire itself you can get a great view to the south into Fay Canyon (shown below).
The view into Fay Canyon from the Crystal Trail
Once you turn the bend into Bypass Canyon, the brush and the terrain are enough to keep you on the route until it nears the saddle, at the other end of the ledge. There is one place where where you will traverse a ledge that might make those afraid of heights nervous, but it's short and shouldn't faze experienced hikers. 
Hiker at the Crystal Trail Birthing Cave
Just before you reach the saddle there will be a "Birthing Cave" on the left side. It's a short, steep climb of approximately 100 feet to get up there, and the route takes you through some thick brush, but alcove images framing the background are extremely popular in Sedona, and this is a good one (shown above).