At approximately 350 feet tall, Oak Creek Spire is one of the most prominent sandstone (Schnebly Hill Formation sandstone) towers near Sedona, AZ. Given its shape, the spire is also sometimes referred to as Rabbit Ears Spire. Toula guidebook lists 4 established routes on this tower (but offers little detail on them – see below). Its North Face – West Cracks
route is a popular outing, likely second only to Regular Route
on The Mace
and Dr. Rubo’s Wild Ride
on Summit Block Rock
From Sedona, AZ drive south on highway AZ 179 for about 6.5 miles to Oak Creek Village. Turn left (east) onto Jacks Canyon Road (paved). Drive approximately 2+ miles (note that Jacks Canyon Road takes a sharp right turn at an intersection somewhere along the way – stay with it) to a poorly marked FS dirt road on the right (there’s a large, dark brown house on the left here). Take this dirt road for 100 yards to a dirt parking area. If you miss this turn off, Jacks Canyon Road will bring you into the sprawl of Pine Valley Estates – do not park here or take any shortcuts through this suburban sprawl.
You’re not hiking the main Jacks Canyon Trail from here. Instead, hike north back towards Jacks Canyon Road. Go through gate, cross road, and go through another gate (leave them as you found them). Hike the Ridge Trail as it twists and turns but generally heads north. You pass another gate and the trail turns right and follows the fence for a while. Eventually, you will see Oak Creek Spire (initially hard to pick it out from the parent cliff forming the background) to the northeast. Stay on the main trail till you see a faint climbers’ path heading right (east/north east) toward the spire. Follow this winding trail as it drops down into a wash. At times it’ll feel like the trail heads too far north and away from spire. Near bottom of wash, the trail takes a sharp turn right (east) for a while before turning left (cairns) into another wash. Eventually, a clear climbers path climbs out of the wash on a northeast heading toward the “backside” (north face) of tower (the saddle between tower and parent cliff). Approach time is 45-60 minutes.
See the excellent approach map
posted by Greg Opland on mountainproject.com
Red Rock Pass is required to park at this trailhead ($5/day or monthly and annual rates available). No self issue box available at trailhead. For general Red Rock Pass see here
. For locations (both government and private) see here
Note that the closest NF ranger station is in Oak Creek Village. Drive south along AZ 179 <1 mile from the junction with Jacks Canyon Road. Look for the station in a mini-mall on the west (right) side of highway 179.
Complete list of NFS-operated campgrounds can be found here
We've stayed at the Manzanita Campground (10 minutes north of town on AZ 89A). It was nice (clean, well lit rest rooms) but expensive for a FS Campground at $18/night! Not sure about free camping opportunities around Sedona - the place seems kind of commie (lots of rules).
Oak Creek Spire page on mountainproject.com page is here
. Excellent photos - much better than mine.
Good TR from Bill Wright on his speed climb of 4 Sedona towers in a day including this one, here
Guidebooks And Routes
(1) Rock Climbing Arizona
by Stewart M. Green (ISBN 1-56044-813-X). Good approach description (take the northbound Ridge Trail from parking area and not the Jacks Canyon Trail – could not find a way to the spire using this trail). Good route description (photo with route overlay) for North Face
(a.k.a. North Face, West Cracks
) rated by Green as III 5.9. No other routes described.
(2) A Better Way To Die: Rock Climber’s Guide to Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon
by Tim Toula (ISBN 0-934641-16-1). Provides topo for North Face -West Crack
and rates it as 5.9-. Also lists (no topos) South Face
(not rated), Original East Chimney
(5.9), Punk Rock – Devo Dihedral
(3) Castles In The Sand: A Climber’s Guide to Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon
by David Bloom (ISBN 1-892540-16-9). Provides topo for North Face -West Crack
and rates it as II 5.9+.
Try the Red Rock Ranger station at 928-282-4119 though I doubt whether you'll be able to get any climbing specific information.