Difficulty: Hard due to the steep inclines & high elevation
Distance: 1.4 miles round-trip
Location: Milepost 387 on Hwy 89a (Oak Creek Canyon drive). Notice the parking area near the spring water tap (you will see many other cars parked along the side due to the popularity of this natural spring).
The Cookstove Trail is one of the little known gems in the area, most likely due to the easily missed location along Oak Creek Canyon drive. A minuscule trailhead sign does not help matters, not to mention the fact that most tourists are so absorbed with the magnificent views along Arizona’s most scenic drive that it is very easy to miss the sign. A peaceful hike with amazing overlooks of the entire Oak Creek region, the Cookstove is a must-do for anyone up for a challenge. And a challenge it is, as this hike requires a 0.7 mile steep climb.
Keep on going and you will be rewarded with magnificent panoramas of the entire Oak Creek Canyon area, a diverse ecosystem consisting of colorful rock formations and lush green forests of ponderosa pines, sycamore, and cypress trees. For your immense effort, you will enjoy some of the top views of any hike in the Northern Arizona region. And do not forget to fill up your water bottle with natural spring water at the tap just across the road (also where you will park your car). Treat yourself to a healthy breakfast at Indian Gardens pre-hike, located just a few miles down the road.