Hikes in Sedona
With so many world-class trails in Sedona, where do you start? Thankfully, choosing the perfect adventures in this gorgeous part of the Grand Canyon State is easy with our extensive collection of route guides. Most of the routes in Sedona lean easy-moderate in terms of difficulty, making it easy to link together several trails in a day, hike with family, or get out as a beginner. No matter which route you take, one thing is certain: you’ll be awestruck at the iconic red rock scenery here.
Sedona is a popular mountain biking destination, with many trails open to both foot and bike traffic. Horseback riding and off-roading are both frequently enjoyed in Red Rock Country, and campers can enjoy the pristine sites that line Oak Creek. Of course, once you’re done adventuring, you can take advantage of the world-class cuisine and art before turning in for the night. You won’t run out of things to do here!
15 Incredible Hikes in Sedona
Ready to start exploring? We’re making it easy to get going with 15 of our favorite hikes in Sedona. Our list includes short, laidback trails to intense treks and everything in between. Take a quick day hike or plan a longer visit, getting away for the weekend or for longer. When you’re here, you’ll likely find yourself wanting more and more time to keep exploring.
Our top hikes in Sedona are chosen to show off some of the most recognizable rock formations and mountains in Sedona. Some of these hikes are extremely popular, but we promise it’s worth sharing the trail to discover the views. While starting with these 15 hikes is a great way to get acquainted with Sedona’s hiking scene, remember that we’ve got plenty more route guides to keep you adventuring.
- Cathedral Rock - Cathedral Rock is one of the most popular hiking trails in Sedona… Maybe even the most popular! This hike offers gorgeous scenery, getting you up close to one of the region’s most recognizable sandstone features. This trail has the magical energy that so many parts of Sedona do, and you’ll be in awe at the natural beauty of nature’s church.
- Devil’s Bridge - Devil’s Bridge is a natural sandstone bridge that’s become a very popular photo spot. This geological feature is a desert wonder and it’s reachable on a moderate hike. Climb out onto the bridge and gaze over a great view of the iconic red rocks of Sedona!
- Chapel Trail - The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona is an iconic sight. This church was designed by Marguerite Brunswig, a local rancher and sculptor who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect who aided in the design of the church. The trail lets you appreciate the chapel before hiking to a nearby viewpoint.
- Bell Rock - Bell Rock is one of Sedona’s most recognizable rock formations, and the hike there is a gorgeous, popular trek. The network of trails in this area allows you to easily add on hikes around Courthouse Butte, Baby Bell, and more. Bell Rock is an especially nice hike during sunrise and sunset.
- Seven Sacred Pools via Soldier Pass Trail - The Seven Sacred Pools in Sedona are a set of trickling blue pools amid the vibrant red rock between the Oak Creek Mountains and Sedona’s desert. Deep green juniper trees frame the site, reminding you just how much the landscape can change the closer you are to water. The pools provide an important water source for local wildlife and a spiritual scene for visitors and locals.
- Allens Bend Trail - Allens Bend Trail is a pleasant walk for the whole family, and it sees less traffic than many other trails in Sedona. You’ll have a nice spot to swim in the canyon before the hike, and then you’ll be able to enjoy the creek as you walk. This hike follows a small part of a longer trail through Casner Canyon, so adventurous hikers can go further if they want to keep exploring.
- The Birthing Cave - The Birthing Cave is a special spot in Sedona and has been a place where people go to find spiritual meaning for many years. Previously, Hopi women gave birth in the cave. The cave itself is incredible to be in, and you’ll enjoy a lovely view of the unique Arizona landscape. This trail used to be an underrated gem, but it becomes more popular every year.
- Boynton Canyon Trail - Boynton Canyon Trail explores one of the most beautiful box canyons in Red Rock Country. The trail is easy to get to and offers some chances to extend your hike. You can also check out the Subway Cave on this hike, which is a photo-worthy and very popular spot.
- Sedona Airport Loop Trail - The Sedona Airport Loop shows off the stellar view from Airport Mesa, where you can watch planes land and take off. This trail can also be extended to check out the site of the Airport Mesa vortex, which has a stunning panoramic view of the entire town and its surroundings.
- Fay Canyon Trail - The Fay Canyon Trail is a popular trip for its beautiful natural arch bridge and box canyon. It’s a fairly easy route, making it a good pick for newer hikers. This hike sees heavy traffic, but it’s worth it! You’ll love being far below the canyon walls, and the arch is such a fun find in its hidden perch in the rocks.
- Devil’s Kitchen - Devil’s Kitchen is a sinkhole, and while it’s not the only sinkhole in Sedona, it’s the most frequently visited. The sinkhole was suspected to have begun many, many years ago as the southernmost wall began to sink. Two historic collapses in the 1880s and 1989 resulted in the cavernous hole you can see today,
- Oak Creek Trail - Crescent Moon Ranch is a beautiful picnic park along Oak Creek. Locals and visitors come here to swim, snack, play games, and relax. The Oak Creek Trail is a short jaunt beside the creek that takes you to the Red Rock Crossing vortex. You can also admire the view of Cathedral Rock in the water of Oak Creek, a spot where the rock is very commonly photographed from.
- Doe Mountain - Doe Mountain has an awesome view of the surrounding landscape, including Bear Mountain, Lost Mountain, Mescal Mountain, and Maroon Mountain to the north and Sedona to the southeast. It’s a lot of bang for your buck considering the hike is one 2.4 km long.
- Broken Arrow Trail - Broken Arrow Trail is a 4.5 km hiking and off-roading trail in Sedona that sees many visitors thanks to its awe-inspiring views. It’s easily the best off-roading trail in Sedona, but the shared nature of the trail means foot traffic can enjoy it as well. It’s a fun adventure on its own, and it’s very commonly used to create longer loops with connecting trails.
- Honanki Heritage Site - The Honanki Heritage Site is a fascinating spot near Sedona where indigenous rock art and ruins can be observed. The hike to the site is easy at only 1.0 km long, making it suitable for all skill levels and ages. This is a great pick if you’re interested in the early human history of the Sedona area.
Scroll down to see the full list of hiking trails in Sedona.
When is the Best Time to Hike in Sedona
Sedona experiences hot summers, mild winters, and warm springs and falls. It’s a fabulous year-round hiking destination, but we recommend visiting in April or October for warm days, sunny skies, and a lack of precipitation. Try to avoid June-August, when daily highs soar as high as 38°C on average. Additionally, July is Sedona’s monsoon season, when trails are prone to flooding and washout.
While April and October are ideal hiking months in Sedona, they also coincide with the city’s busiest tourist season, which runs from late April to the end of October. Accommodations can be painfully expensive during the tourist season, so we recommend considering a March or November trip to miss the rush. If you’re fine with tossing on an extra layer, winter is the least pricey travel time. With temperatures still hovering around 16°C on average during the day, even January makes for great hiking in Sedona.
Other Outdoor Activities in Sedona
While the trails are excellent, hiking is certainly not the only way to explore Sedona! This region boasts plenty of space for other outdoor activities.
Adventurers on two wheels can take advantage of the many mountain bike and dirt bike paths. Those with four-legged friends can explore horse and dog-friendly trails. Campers can set up their tents in sites near the city and along Oak Creek. Photographers flock to Sedona to capture its arresting beauty, and those who love off-roading will find exhilarating trails to cruise.
How to Plan a Trip to Sedona
Proper planning can make or break your trip to Sedona, especially when it comes to hiking. Because of the small size of many trailhead parking areas, you’re going to want to time your arrivals right or have a backup plan in place.
Many top trailheads will fill by 8 AM with no alternative parking available. We recommend making a list of the hikes you’d like to do and planning the most-trafficked ones for your earliest mornings. Some trailheads are serviced by shuttles, but not many, so you’ll need to have a car lined up and your alarm set bright and early. Speaking of cars, if you’re planning to rent (which we recommend given the poor shuttle options), choose a high-clearance vehicle. Some of the trailheads you may want to use are only accessible with high-clearance, capable vehicles.
Most of the trails in the vicinity of Sedona require a Red Rock Pass. This is a $5 daily pass (subject to change) that you only need to purchase once per day to have access to all the Red Rock Pass trails. Trailheads that require passes have kiosks at them so you can purchase on the spot. You can also buy weekly or monthly passes or pick passes up from many local visitor bureaus, grocery stores, service stations, resorts, and retail stores.
Finally, since the accommodation in Sedona is in such high demand during the busy season, don’t sleep on booking your rooms. This is not the city to arrive in and plan as you go- you might get stuck without a place to sleep! Book your accommodations well in advance.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Sedona
What is so special about Sedona?
There’s a lot that’s special about Sedona! The red rock scenery and evergreen foliage are unique to this part of the world. Sedona is also known for the power of its vortex sites, where energy is said to flow up from the earth, offering healing, creativity, inspiration, and more. Partly because of these vortexes, Sedona has become a center of spirituality, meditation, and New Age practices.
What is the best month to visit Sedona?
We love to visit Sedona in April when the wildflowers are in bloom, adding gorgeous color to the trails.
Is Sedona the most beautiful place on earth?
Sedona was called the most beautiful place on earth by USA Today in 2003. You can decide for yourself whether it earns the title or not!
Is Sedona a tourist trap?
While there certainly are tourist-focused shops and activities in Sedona, the beauty of the landscape and the unique nature of the town’s energy and culture are authentic and worthwhile.
Is Sedona as hot as Phoenix?
Sedona is not as hot as Phoenix. It stays about 10°F cooler in Sedona than in Phoenix during the day, and nighttime temperatures drop far further than its southern neighbor because of its elevation.
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Best Hikes in Sedona
Devil’s Bridge Hike
Devil’s Bridge is a natural sandstone bridge in Sedona, Arizona. This geological feature is the star on this very popular moderate trail. Climb out onto the bridge and gaze over a great view of the iconic red rocks of Sedona. This is a fun hike for most ages and definitely one to bring a camera for.
This hike is either 3.2 km long or about 72.4 km long depending on which trailhead you start at. With a 4X4 vehicle, you can drive up to the actual trailhead for the hike for a shorter walk. Without a 4X4, you’ll need to hike up one of two access roads. This guide starts from the Dry Creek Road trailhead, which is where most hikers without a 4X4 vehicle start (those with one can drive up Dry Creek Road). Expect heavy traffic on this very popular trail. Arriving early is a must in the busy season (April-May and October).
Cathedral Rock Trail
Cathedral Rock is one of the most popular hiking trails in Sedona… Maybe even the most popular! This hike offers gorgeous scenery, getting you up close to one of the region’s most recognizable sandstone features. This trail has the magical energy that so many parts of Sedona do, and you’ll be in awe at the natural beauty of nature’s church.
This hike is short but difficult for some, with hands-on sections that require some climbing. We don’t recommend this trail for small children and dogs will likely struggle to make it up.
Expect heavy traffic on this very popular trail. Arriving early (before 7:30 AM) is a must in the busy season (April-May and October), especially since the parking lots are small. You can also reach Cathedral Rock from Baldwin and Templeton trails for a quieter experience.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona is an iconic sight. This church was designed by Marguerite Brunswig, a local rancher and sculptor who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect who aided in the design of the church. The Chapel Trail begins from the chapel and takes you around East Twin Butte optionally extending to the Chicken Point viewpoint.
This hike is easy and family-friendly. The trail ends at a junction with Little Horse Trail, making it easy to continue further if you want a longer hike. Make sure you stop into the chapel to admire the stained glass windows and dramatic view.
Bell Rock Hike
Bell Rock is one of Sedona’s most recognizable rock formations, and the hike there is a gorgeous, popular trek. Bell Rock can be reached via a quick 1.3 km trail, which this guide will follow. Longer loops can include Courthouse Butte, Baby Bell, and other nearby points of interest. This guide details the most direct route to Bell Rock beginning from Bell Rock Trailhead. This is an especially nice hike during sunrise and sunset.
This hike is family-friendly and short. You’ll need to be able to complete very short sections with hands-on climbing. The further you go up the rock, the more climbing you’ll need to do, but the views are still fantastic from the most accessible viewpoints of the trail. This route gets busy, so arrive early if you can.
Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte Loop
Bell Rock is one of Sedona’s most recognizable rock formations, and the hike there is a gorgeous, popular trek. Right beside it is Courthouse Butte, a large formation dominating the landscape south of Gibraltar Rock. This loop hike takes you around both, giving you 6.4 km of incredible views and the chance to appreciate these landmarks from every angle.
This route is busy, so arrive early if you can. There are plenty of extensions that can be made using the huge network of trails in this area. You can hop up Bell Rock, scramble Baby Bell, or venture over to Gibraltar Rock. This trail is suitable for all skill levels and ages.
If you just want to see Bell Rock on a short, easy hike, check out our Bell Rock route guide.
Seven Sacred Pools via Soldier Pass Trail
The Seven Sacred Pools in Sedona are a set of trickling blue pools amid the vibrant red rock between the Oak Creek Mountains and Sedona’s desert. Deep green juniper trees frame the site, reminding you just how much the landscape can change the closer you are to water. The pools provide an important water source for local wildlife and a spiritual scene for visitors and locals. Take Soldier Pass Trail to access the pools via a 1.8 km easy hike. This trail is suitable for all ages and skill levels.
We recommend downloading your GPS track ahead of time as the trail can become a touch confusing where there isn’t clear signage. This area is shared by Jeep traffic, so hike with your eyes and ears open. Note that the parking for this trail is closed from 6 PM until 8 AM each day and there is no alternate parking during that time.
Allens Bend Trail
Allens Bend Trail is a 1.8 km moderately trafficked hike in Sedona that begins from the Grasshopper Point Picnic Area. This is a nice walk for the whole family, giving you the chance to stretch your legs and see some of Sedona’s scenery along the creek. This hike sees less traffic than many other trails in Sedona, so it’s a nice choice to pair with a picnic. You’ll have a nice spot to swim in the canyon before the hike, and then you’ll be able to enjoy the creek as you walk.
This hike follows a small part of a longer trail through Casner Canyon, so adventurous hikers can go further if they want to keep exploring. It’s not a very well-signed trail, so consider downloading a GPS track, especially if you want to explore the canyon.
Birthing Cave Hike
The Birthing Cave is a special spot in Sedona and has been a place where people go to find spiritual meaning for many years. The cave itself is incredible to be in, and you’ll enjoy a lovely view of the unique Arizona landscape from the cave. This trail used to be an underrated gem, but it becomes more popular every year. It’s important to be respectful of other hikers and the environment on this trail (and every trail!). Expect some mountain bike traffic.
This trail is easy and quite quick. The cave is wide but shallow, making it fairly easy to explore. Keep in mind that you’ll need to do a quick steep climb to get into the cave, but most hikers have no problem with this section. This trail is suitable for children and leashed dogs.
Boynton Canyon Trail
Boynton Canyon Trail explores one of the most beautiful box canyons in Red Rock Country. The trail is easy to get to and offers some chances to extend your hike. You can also check out the Subway Cave on this hike, which is a photo-worthy Sedona spot. This hike sees heavy traffic, so it’s best to arrive early if you can. There are parts of the trail that are more suited to stronger hikers, but most of these areas also have ways to get around them that are beginner-friendly.
Make sure you bring lots of water for this hike, especially if you’re hiking in hot weather. This is a very convenient trail to enjoy if you’re staying at the Enchantment Resort.
Sedona Airport Loop Trail
The Sedona Airport Loop Trail is a 5.1 km hike that loops around Airport Mesa (Table Mountain) where the Sedona Airport is. This is a great trail if you want a wide-open view of the city and it also allows you to watch unique small aircraft take off and land at the airport. It’s a nice hike to do to explore the mesa before settling in to watch the sunset. You can also use this trail to connect to the route where the Airport Mesa vortex is.
This trail doesn’t have much shade, so bring plenty of water and avoid hiking it in the heat of the day in the summer. It’s also quite rocky, so good boots are recommended. This trail is suitable for children and beginners.
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