Sedona Hiking: Best Hikes in Sedona, Arizona
May 29, 2021
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If you’re planning to visit Red Rock Country, you absolutely need to add some hikes on to your travel itinerary. Every hike is so different, offering scenic views and secret caves. The most difficult part is choosing between all of the great hiking trails, as the options are truly endless. So if you’re in Sedona hiking, you’re going to want to keep reading to find out my list of the 6 best hikes in Sedona. This guide will include everything you need to know about the hikes to ensure a great adventure!
Where is Sedona?
Sedona is a desert town located just 120 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona. Located within the Coconino National Forest, Sedona is known for its endless hiking opportunities. It is known for famous red rock formations. The closest airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
Devil’s Bridge Hike
Although the Devil’s Bridge hike is relatively quick and easy, capping in at under 2 miles, it is still one of the most famous Sedona hiking trails. The hike’s fame is partially thanks to its rise in popularity on social media. This is due to its iconic rock formation, for those who dare step out onto the famous rock bridge.
If you’re going to do this hike, then I absolutely recommend arriving early. It is an incredible hike but quite frankly, it is not quite worth visiting during the middle of the day because the crowds get too busy. There was a 2 hour line during the early afternoon to take a photo on the bridge, so if this is your goal you’ll want to plan accordingly!
What to Know about Devil’s Bridge Hike
Distance: 1.8 miles round trip (4 miles round trip if hiking from Dry Creek Trailhead)
Elevation gain: 400 feet
Cathedral Rock Hike
The Cathedral Rock hike is easily my favorite Sedona hike. Between the striking rock formations and the epic views beyond, this is a hike that you won’t want to miss. Although not nearly as crowded as the Devil’s Bridge Hike, I still recommend hiking during sunrise or sunset. This is because the views are extra incredible when the light hits just right. Plus, arriving at sunrise will give you a better chance of grabbing a parking spot in the tiny lot. Sunset will be a lot busier, so arrive with plenty of time and pack a headlamp for the way back down.
The hike isn’t particularly long, but it is definitely a steep one so prepare for a climb. You’ll need to do a bit of scrambling on your hands and knees, but nothing too crazy. The good news is that you’ll have incredible views throughout the entire hike.
The distances listed below are for the most direct path up to the top of Cathedral Rock, but there are a number of popular hikes in Sedona that connect to this one. As you make your way up, just follow the hiking cairns to make sure you’re staying on the right path, and safest path, up to the top.
Once you reach the top there are a number of viewpoints, so make sure to allow yourself time to enjoy them all. However, the most popular photo spot is the ledge on the righthand side.
Distance: 1.4 miles round trip (out and back)
Difficulty: Moderate (short, but steep)
Elevation gain: 645 feet
Cost: $5 parking fee, America the Beautiful not accepted
Soldier’s Pass Hike
Parking at the Soldier’s Pass trailhead is extremely limited, with only about 14 spots available. I recommend arriving at the trailhead no later than 7:30AM, as the gates open up at 8AM. This will give you a better chance of snagging a spot. Additionally, the main parking lot is only open until 6PM, so if you’re planning to visit at sunset you’ll need to park elsewhere. If you’re not able to grab a parking spot, don’t stress! There is additional parking up the road in the residential area, but this will add a mile or so on to your overall hike. Another option is to park at the Jordan Road Trailhead.
Along this trail you’ll first pass the famous Seven Sacred Pools. It is definitely one of the most picturesque spots on this Sedona hiking trail. After passing the pools, continue along the trail. However, rather than following the entire trail to the end, instead I recommend vearing off to the right to the Soldiers Pass Cave. About 0.9 miles past the Seven Sacred Pools you’ll reach your right turn at these coordinates.
Distance: 4.3 miles roundtrip (out and back)
Elevation gain: 813 feet
Doe Mountain Trail
The Doe Mountain Trail is another popular sunset hike in Sedona. The Doe Mountain hike is a quick but steep hike that rewards you with some epic sunset views. You’ll ascend quickly on this one, gaining about 400 feet in just over half a mile.
Distance: 1.6 miles
Elevation gain: 420 feet
Cost: Free, but you’ll need either an America the Beautiful pass or Red Rock Pass to park.
Bell Rock Loop Hike
The Bell Rock Loop hike is not to be mistaken with the Bell Rock Pathway Trail, which is twice as long as this quick hike. This was our first hike in Sedona, and it was a great, easy hike after a long day of driving. The trail isn’t always the easiest to follow, so I recommend downloading the trail mail on AllTrails.
If you’re planning to complete this hike at sunset, make sure that you bring along a headlamp for the way back down.
Distance: 1–1.5 miles, depending on route
Elevation gain: 700 feet
Cost: $5 per day, or America the Beautiful pass
Oak Creek Canyon – West Fork Trail
The West Fork Trail is easily one of the most popular Sedona hiking trails. This is because it is relatively easy, yet still extremely scenic. This hike gets particularly busy in the fall, when you can experience the beautiful fall foliage. I didn’t get a chance to visit this hike myself due to bad weather during my visit, but I wanted to make sure to include it as one of the best Sedona hiking trails.
So here is what you need to know! The hike is incredibly scenic so don’t forget your camera on this one. You’ll actually cross the creek 12 times throughout this hike, so make sure to pack waterproof or water resistant hiking boots.
Distance: 6 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 269 feet
Cost: $10 per car, cash only
What to Pack for a Sedona Hiking Trip
- Hiking boots – I recommend packing a proper pair of hiking boots, like my fave pair from Columbia.
- Water Bottle – Sedona is in the desert so you can expect hot temperatures with minimal to no cover from the hot sun. I always use my reusable Vapur water bottle, but this new sports bottle from Stojo is a great option as well.
- Electrolytes – In addition to packing at least 1L of water on any hike, I always bring along electrolytes from DripDrop.
- Layers – the temperatures in Sedona can vary greatly. Make layers to prepare for these changes in temperature.
- Activewear – you can expect to be doing a lot of hiking in Sedona so make sure to bring activewear. Lately I’ve been obsessed with these sport bra tops from Amazon. They are under $25 and I own them in multiple styles and at least 5 colors!
- America the Beautiful Annual Pass – you’ve probably noticed that I’ve mentioned the America the Beautiful pass multiple times throughout this post. If there is one thing that you take away from this article it is that this pass is 100% worth it and will save you money!
Where to Stay in Sedona
There are so many different accommodation options in Sedona, from luxury hotels and AirBnbs to dispersed campsites, so where to stay is largely going to depend on your travel style and budget.
Hotels in Sedona
Luxury: L’Auberge de Sedona
Luxury: Arabella Hotel Sedona
Moderate: Sedona Village Lodge
Moderate: Sugar Loaf Lodge
Campsites in Sedona
Campgrounds in Sedona that accept reservations often books up super far in advance, to earlier you can book the better. Here are a few of the popular nearby campgrounds: Manzanita Campground, Cave Springs, and Pine Flat Campground. Manzanita is the closest of the three, while Pine Flat is rather far from Sedona’s main hikes. You should take this into consideration when planning out your days in Sedona.
Another option is to park along Forest 525 Road. Just turn right off of 89A and drive down the road until you find an open campsite. I recommend going at least 5-6 miles down the road as the views just get better and better! This was my favorite camping spot from our campervan roadtrip.
Interested in hiking in the US? Here are some articles that you should check out: