Diamondback Gulch/Diamond Gulch OHV Trail
- Length: 6 miles total (one way)
- Drive Time: 1 hour
- Rating: Difficult
- Usage: Heavy
- Season: Year Round
- Permits required: No
- Street Legal Required: No
- Trail Surface: Hard pack, gravel, exposed rock
- Vehicles Allowed: Dirt bike, ATVs, SxS, full sized
- Forest Road: 152A – FR 9513
This trail has two names. Originally it was called Diamondback Gulch, but it is now known as Diamond Gulch OHV Trail. Both names are in use on maps and websites, but the trail sign says ‘Diamond Gulch OHV Trail’.
This route consists of 152A and FR 9513 and can be done in either direction.
Related: 11 Awesome Sedona ATV Trails
Best Time To Hit The Dirt
Although this route is open year round, Spring and Fall are the best time to plan a visit. Summers are brutally hot with temperatures from June to August regularly into the high 90s and 100s.
Winters are fairly mild with very little snow. Sedona only gets about 11 inches of snow a year with daytime temperatures in the 60s even during the coldest parts of winter.
Slick rock does get very very slippery in wet and/or freezing temperatures, so factor that into riding conditions.
This is a short route that can easily be combined with other routes in the area. Cliffhanger, Outlaw, Powerline, Ranch Loop and Vultee are all in this same area within a couple miles of one another, so it’s very easy to piece together a full day of off-roading.
Lovely Red Rock Desert OHV Trail
This route travels primarily through the open desert hills over steep rocky hills with distant views of the mountains. It’s quite beautiful in it’s own way, but not the “best of the best” when compared to other Sedona ATV trails.
Most of the route is fairly easy travel on a hard pack surface with lots of gravel and rocks. What kicks the rating up to advanced are a few steep hill climbs and descents on loose gravel with some drop offs.
You’ll want to have four wheel drive, high clearance and some previous driving experience to tackle these more difficult sections.
Do not attempt this route in wet weather – portions of it get muddy and you risk getting bogged down. Plus, there are also some washes and natural water runoffs along the way, so it’s best to avoid when wet.
West Sedona Designated Dispersed Camping & Day-Use
In the summer of 2022, the Forest Service finalized a long term plan to consolidate dispersed camping in the West Sedona area, a high use off-roading/camping area.This plan resulted in the formation of the West Sedona Designated Dispersed Camping & Day-Use Area .
To limit environmental damage, as well as to provide for increasing amounts of recreational users, the Forest Service designated 8 campgrounds open to dispersed camping. Combined, these campgrounds have 150 – 200 campsites – depending on the size of the rigs.
Along FR525 – 5 Designated Camping Areas:
- Surprise (3.72 acres)
- Windmill (1.41 acres)
- Cockscomb (3.23 acres) – closest to Diamondback Gulch
- Greasy Spoon (2.47 acres) – closest to Diamondback Gulch
- Nolan (11.85 acres) – closest to Diamondback Gulch
Across from FR525 is FR89B, – 2 Designated Camping Areas:
- Javelina (1.24 acres)
- Angel Valley (1.14 acres)
Off Highway 89A on FR9570A – 1 Designated Camping Area:
- Rockview (10.82 acres)
Dispersed Camping Rules
- Camping is free
- Open 24/7
- First come, first served
- 14 day maximum stay
- Charcoal and wood campfires are prohibited
- Stoves and grills that operate solely on liquefied petroleum gas that can be turned on and off are allowed
Do It With A Tour Company
Sedona is a popular vacation destination with loads of scenic off-roading opportunities. But, not everyone is lucky enough to be traveling with their own off road vehicle.
Fortunately there are several off-roading companies offering tours of some of the most scenic backcountry areas. Probably the most well known and visible is the Pink Adventure Tours.
This Pink Jeep Tour Company offers 16 different tours that hit all the best off roading areas in Sedona including a tour of Diamondback Gulch.
Diamondback Gulch vs. Broken Arrow
If you have limited time (or money) and have to choose between Diamondback Gulch or Broken Arrow – go with Broken Arrow.
Both are lovely routes and worth doing, but there’s a reason Broken Arrow is one of the most popular routes in Sedona.
Broken Arrow travels through the red rock formations that make Sedona famous, getting you up close and fully immersing you in red rocks. Diamondback Gulch takes you through the red rock desert with the rock formations more as a backdrop in the distance.
Both of these routes are difficult with rocky sections as well as steep ascents and descents. But, Broken Arrow is a bit more ‘thrilling’ with some adventurous stair climbs and slick rock sections. Diamondback Gulch is more rocky dirt road.
Feature Image of Diamondback Gulch by Michael Bodnar | Flickr