Boynton Canyon. Another beautiful hike in the red rocks a few miles west of the Sedona/Oak Creek area in northern Arizona. The trail winds along a cliff ledge through the canyon, provided breathtaking vistas. The only thing marring this canyon is the sudden appearance of a golf resort on the floor of the canyon. The buildings and lush green golf course look like a mirage because the area seems so remote.
Sedona is just below the base of the Mogollon Rim, an escarpment forming the boundary between the Colorado Plateau to the north, where my city of Flagstaff is located, and the Basin and Range province to the south. The many canyons along the Rim are formed by erosion into the Plateau. The red rocks of the Sedona area are eroded from a sedimentary lens of iron-rich (hematite, or rust) sandstone called the Schnebly Hill formation after Schnebly Hill Road. Schnebly Hill sandstone was deposited as sand dunes near the shore of a shallow inland sea during the Permian Era 270–275 million years ago. For millions of years, the sea expanded and retreated in what is now the Southwest and Midwest USA. Limestone layers in the Schnebly Hill formation formed during incursions of the sea over the dunes.