Dave Miller Loop

The David Miller Trail is a system trail in the Coconino National Forest, designated as Trail #164. Connecting the Bear Sign Trail to the Secret Canyon Trail, the David Miller Trail makes it possible to hike this area as a loop. The trail is well marked with signs and easy to follow.
Named after a wilderness ranger who mysteriously disappeared in this area, the David Miller branches off the Bear Sign Trail to the left, 1.2 miles from the parking area, then climbs over the ridge that separates the two canyons, opening up major views of the surrounding countryside at the crest.
To make a loop using the Dave Miller Trail, park at either the Secret Canyon or Vultee Arch trailheads. The latter parking area is much larger and easier to pull into, so we have given GPS coordinates for that one. 
Both ends of the trail follow seasonal streams and cross over them numerous times along the way. These crossing are normally dry, but if the streams are flowing due to recent rain or snow, that water may be high enough to deter you from this hike.

To complete the loop you will need to, hike a short section of the Vultee Arch Road (FR 152) between the two parking areas.


A short distance down Bear Sign Canyon from its intersection with the David Miller, spectacular Secret Arch (shown below) makes a worthy side trip, adding approximately 300 feet of elevation gain to the total hike.
Secret Arch in Bear Sign Canyon
The arch is visible from the system trail on the right side as you hike up Bear Sign Canyon. It's approximately .25 miles off the system trail and 1.25 miles from the parking area for Vultee Arch Trailhead. The photo below shows the "final approach" I took the last time I was there.
Secret Arch - author's route
There are 2-3 routes to reach the arch. However, since these routes mostly follow dry washes and open slickrock, there really isn't much of a social trail to follow. Turn off the system trail and drop into the normally dry creek bed.
This wash forks almost immediately (see DETAIL MAP below). You could probably take either fork, since the arch is between them, but the left fork is easier in my humble opinion. Simply look for ANY easy place to climb up on the right side of this wash, then work your way over to the base of the arch. The DETAIL MAP below shows the approximate route I took the last time I visited Secret Arch.
Secret Arch


NOTE: You will need a high clearance 4x4 to access this trailhead.
RATED: Moderate due to length and elevation gain. Hiking to Secret Arch is more difficult due to the off trail route finding and some brush, but still rated as moderate.
7.3 miles (Loop)

880 ft 

3-4 hours roundtrip

All year

Yes, must be leashed at all times. Be advised there are bears, mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes and javalina in this area. These animals may not mix well with dogs.
We hope you have a blast hiking the David Miller Trail. If you loved it tag the Wanderer's Guide on Instagram. We would love to see YOUR photos!