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    Cathedral Rock Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    1.9 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    226 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    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.

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    Route Description for Cathedral Rock Trail

    Cathedral Rock is undoubtedly one of Sedona’s top hikes, if not even the top hike in the area. It’s no wonder why: you’ll climb through an unbelievable landscape of red earth, cacti, and layered sandstone buttes to one of the most recognizable geological formations in Sedona. Cathedral Rock is incredible to explore, especially this close.

    This hike is short, but you’ll need to be able to complete a bit of climbing to finish it. Expect hands-on sections that can become a bit slick with wear. This isn’t the best choice for small children or dogs or those with mobility challenges.

    Cathedral Rock is extremely popular, and so you’ll need to arrive very early to get a spot in the small parking area. The two lots are often full by 7:30 AM and there is no additional parking on the small residential street the trailhead is on. We recommend either coming back in the late afternoon or accessing Cathedral Rock on the Templeton or Baldwin trails instead. Most of the trails in Sedona are well-signed, so finding your way to the rock from alternate trailheads isn’t too challenging. That being said, a downloaded map can be very helpful!

    From the trailhead, cross the junction with Easy Breezy Trail and the creek bed. The first bit of the trail is relaxed, with rock stairs in some parts. Before the junction with Templeton, you’ll cross a plateau with a wonderful view of Sedona.

    After the plateau, you’ll cross a rocky stretch and come to the base of a cleft in the rock where the climbing starts. This is where most hikers turn around if they don’t feel up to what’s ahead. You’ll climb at about a 45-degree angle for 12 m. It’s an easy scramble, but it could be daunting for those who dislike heights. Dogs and small children likely won’t be able to make it up this section. Be careful if it’s rained recently.

    Once you’re through the cleft, you’ll hike through a steep part of the trail that has great natural footholds and handholds. When you reach more featureless sections, you can observe others going up (unless you’ve scored the place to yourself, which is exceptionally rare) to choose your route.

    Take a breather on the second plateau, then finish it off with a rock staircase and a few switchbacks. You’re all done with your ascent once you reach the “End of Trail” sign. The view here is astounding, so take your time and soak it up. Take lots of photos!

    You’ll follow the same route down. Take care when descending the cleft as hikers will also be climbing up. Taking turns might be best.

    Trail Highlights

    Cathedral Rock

    Cathedral Rock is a sandstone butte in Sedona, Arizona, in Yavapai County and the Coconino National Forest. It was formed from coastal sand dunes in the ancient Pedregosa Sea. This rock is one of the most photographed sites in the state and the trail to reach it is one of the busiest hikes in Sedona. The top of Cathedral Rock sits at 1,514 m.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can anyone hike to Cathedral Rock?

    This hike isn’t suitable for everyone due to sections requiring hands-on climbing. While most adventurous hikers will be able to complete the trail, young children, hikers afraid of heights, or those with mobility challenges may prefer other trails.

    Why is Cathedral Rock famous?

    Cathedral Rock is one of the most photographed sights in Arizona. It’s easily seen from Sedona and appreciated for its natural beauty.

    How did Cathedral Rock get its name?

    Cathedral Rock was named for its resemblance to a cathedral. While it might take a bit of imagination to see it, the resemblance is there!

    Getting to the Cathedral Rock Trail Trailhead

    The trailhead for Cathedral Rock Trail is on Back O’ Beyond Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Cathedral Rock Trail Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather

    Cathedral Rock Trail Reviews

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