The 15 Best Hikes In Sedona
Breathtaking Sedona Hiking Trails for every activity level
Sedona is breathtaking.
This part of Arizona is stunning and a great destination if you are looking to get out and explore nature. There are so many great hikes in Sedona that you can do.
I’ve put together this list of the best hiking trails in Sedona so you can decide which ones to do while you are there.
Hiking is a popular activity in Arizona and two of the hikes in Sedona, Cathedral Rock and Devil’s Bridge, make my list of the Best Hikes in Arizona.
Check out my post on the best Airbnbs in Sedona – you can find caves, domes and tipis you can stay in! Also, there are quite a few with amazing views of Sedona that you won’t want to miss. And my post on the Top Things to do in Sedona has a lot of useful information to help you plan your trip.
Sedona Arizona Hiking
Sedona, also known as Red Rock Country, is one of the most popular destinations in Arizona. It is located about two hours north of Phoenix and is known for the red rocks you can see throughout the area.
Many of the best Sedona hiking trails are located only a short distance from Sedona.
You will need to purchase a Red Rock Pass to do most of the hikes in Sedona and you can purchase it here. The Red Rock Pass is required when leaving your vehicle unattended while recreating on National Forest land around Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.
Tips for Hiking in Sedona
Sedona is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. There is a hike for everyone on this list and for different fitness levels. Also, note that it is dry and hot (in the summer) and make sure you know what you are getting into before you start. Here are a few tips for Sedona hiking:
- Bring a reusable water bottle and lots of water! Remember you are in the sun and you will need to drink lots of water. I love my LifeStraw Filtered Water Bottle. I can refill this bottle anywhere and it comes with a carabiner to connect it to my daypack.
- Hiking boots or sandals that will protect your feet! I love good shoes. I need all the support and help I can get. I actually love these sandals for hiking and have a whole post on Merrell vs Keen shoes for hiking. I also love these hiking boots which I used for Hiking in the Grand Canyon.
- Bring hiking poles for balance and to protect your knees. I know many experienced hikers (and even amateur ones) think that hiking poles are for old people who lose their balance. Actually, hiking poles can help when going down steep inclines or when scrambling over rocks. They are great to hike with even for the most experienced hiker.
- Wear a sunhat. I feel like this whole post is about how high you are in the mountains and how much closer you are to the sun but it is so true. At elevation, you are closer to the sun and more likely to burn. Wear sun protection such as a sun hat and sunscreen.
- Be aware of the wildlife. This is the Southwest and you will need to watch out for snakes and other wildlife. Please stay away from wildlife and do not feed them.
- Leave no trace. If you are new to the concept of Leave No Trace it is all about preserving the environment to ensure it is in the same or better condition when you leave it. This means that you should stick to the trails and carry out everything that you carried in. This is a great explanation of the Leave No Trace principles!
- Water shoes are great for water hikes – If you don’t have a pair, I highly suggest it as they are affordable. I have an article on the pros and cons of several pairs of water shoes.
- Bring Bug Spray and a snack: Be sure to bring everything you need including a snack like a protein bar plus BUG SPRAY.
Best Hikes in Sedona that will make your jaw drop
In my opinion, you cannot go to Sedona without doing Cathedral Rock Hike and Devil’s Bridge.
They are both very popular trails in Sedona and for good reason. They have great views of the red rocks that are famous in this area.
Hikes for all activity levels and Easy Hikes in Sedona
I’ve included plenty of easy hikes in Sedona on this list. There is nothing worse than hiking a long, hot trail, on a day where its over 100 degrees and there is no shade on the trail or worse going straight up the hill the entire hike!
So these are the easy Sedona hiking trails:
- Fay Canyon
- West Fork
- Deadman’s Pass
- Red Rock Crossing.
Sedona Vortex Hikes – What is a vortex in Sedona you ask?
Sedona is known to have these spiritual vortexes that are powerful and transformational energy centers.
Vortexes are real things and they are said to be at the intersections of natural electromagnetic earth energy, also known as ley lines.
There are three types of vortexes found in Sedona – magnetic, electric, and balanced.
The five best known and documented vortexes in Sedona are:
- Airport Mesa
- Chapel of Holy Cross
- Bell Rock
- Cathedral Rock
- Boynton Canyon.
Sedona Hikes you won’t want to miss
1. Cathedral Rock is one of the best Sedona Hiking Trails for beautiful views
Located just 10 minutes outside of Sedona, this is THE hike to do in Sedona.
Cathedral Rock Trail is a short trail that is very popular in Sedona. It may be short, but it is quite steep. The views from the top are worth it though.
This hike starts off easy enough and the trail is around 1 mile long but towards the end you will gain around 5000 feet in elevation.
You can see views of Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and Mogollon Rim along the way.
Much of this hike is spent ‘going in the right direction’. Follow the cairns (pile of rocks) along the way until you see the top. You need to be careful as you will be climbing up the rock and back down again.
PRO TIP: Make sure to put on sunscreen as there is no shade along the trail. Also, as this is a popular hike parking can be a problem. There are about 30 parking spaces there so if you want to make sure you get a spot, go early in the morning. This will obviously help with the sun and the heat too.
2. Devils Bridge on of the best Sedona Arizona Hiking Trails
Devil’s Bridge is the largest sandstone arch in Sedona. This is a 4 mile hike (round trip) that gains 400 feet in elevation.
Devil’s Bridge is a fairly easy hike and the views at the end are stunning.
This is the most recommended hike in Sedona and one of the most popular.
The trail at the start is very wide and flat. At the end the trail gets narrower and then you are hiking up the mountain to get to the Devil’s Bridge.
Tip: The Chuckwagon Trail is also for mountain bikers so stay on the lookout for them if you are hiking in a group.
3. Bell Rock is a Sedona Vortex Hike
This scenic trail is 1.75 miles in length and follows along the northern face of Bell Rock. The Bell Rock Pathway is one of the easiest and most fun hikes you will encounter in Sedona. The Bell Rock got its name because it resembles the shape of a bell.
You are able to climb the rock as high as you are able and enjoy the breathtaking view. Many consider it to be a fairly easy hike with lots to see. There are many hikers, joggers, and cyclists on this path so it can get very crowded.
4. Airport Mesa is a powerful vortex hike in Sedona
The Airport Mesa trail takes you to the top of a mesa on this 3.2 miles long loop.
This loop gives you great views of the beautiful red rocks in this area.
There is no shade on this hike so make sure you bring plenty of water and a hat for shade.
The hike has really lovely views and is a popular hike. The trail is easy enough to the top for great views.
5. Boynton Canyon a balanced vortex in Sedona
Expect large crowds on this popular hike. The hike is about 3 miles long and you will start near Enchantment Resort.
This trail goes through several destinations of the Sedona vortex. This vortex has both feminine and masculine energies.
You’ll pass the Deadman’s Pass and Boyton Spires while walking here. There is lots of vegetation here that turns beautiful and rich in the Autumn months. You will encounter many great places to stop and eat if you have packed food. Relax and stay awhile!
6. Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek Canyon is the Grand Canyon of Sedona.
The amazing landscape in this area is best seen by car on a scenic drive but you can also hike this area.
If you choose to do one of the hikes you will enjoy the views of the canyon.
7. Birthing Cave
This hike is well hidden and a bit of a secret in Sedona. The hike is only 2 miles long and the path is easy enough.
There are many mountain bikers that use this trail, so proceed with caution as they race by.
The trail is wide and flat, allowing lots of space. This trail leads you to the secluded birthing cave. You can sit and relax inside this peaceful cave and forget your troubles a while. It will be worth it!
8. Soldiers Pass And The Sacred Pools
Soldier Pass and the sacred pools are quite a popular hike in Sedona. The trail is 4 miles long and you will pass the Seven Sacred Pools and Devil’s Kitchen.
This beautiful hike is also in vortex of Sedona and well worth checking out. One thing I liked about this trail is that there is actually shade along the way.
There are 15 parking spots available at the trailhead and Soldier Pass is open from 8am to 6pm daily.
9. Munds Wagon Trail
This hike is about 4 miles long and a well marked trail. It has cairns in cages (piles of rocks along the way).
This is finally a shady hike! This is an easy hike that is slow and steady. You will see the beautiful red rocks and cows along the way.
This trail is right next to Schnebly Hill Road so you will see jeeps that are driving past as you cross the road. This is one of the quieter hikes in Sedona so enjoy it!
10. Little Horse Trail
The Little Horse Trail is 1.5 miles long and is an easy hike.
This is a popular hike with hikers and Jeep tours. It’s a great trail for beginners as it is fairly easy and not too challenging.
Along the way you will see the Twine Buttes and the Chapel of the Holy Cross which is a popular vortex location. The chapel itself is worth checking out with great views.
11. Thunder Mountain
The Thunder Mountain trail is a short 1.4 mile walk and has a ton of shade.
Thunder Mountain is one of the highest summits you will find in Sedona. In the middle of the hike, you will encounter a relaxing park that is worth a visit.
The trail is considered a rough and somewhat difficult hike because there are many steeps and rugged terrain.
12. Fay Canyon
Fay Canyon is an excellent spot to go hiking. The trail is 1.2 miles long and fairly easy.
One of the most popular sites to see on the trail is the Fay Canyon Arch. It is a great place to explore and take in the natural beauty of Sedona.
13. Doe Mountain Trail
The Doe Mountain Trail is very short at 0.7 miles. It can get very steep as it goes up the mountain. At the top, you can see a breathtaking panoramic view of several other mountains.
Take your time and stay awhile to marvel at the beautiful sights. This trail has lots of beautiful wildflowers and wildlife. It is completely flat on top and you can walk directly across to the other side and see amazing views from all side. Take some water and walk around atop the flat mesa or sit and enjoy the view!
14. Bear Mountain
Bear Mountain Trail is about 2.5 miles. By the name, it sounds as if this trail is populated by many bears. But don’t worry, you will not encounter any bears here. Bear Mountain gets its name because its peak resembles a bear.
You will see a lot of birds and small animals along your way. The hike is considered moderate to difficult and doesn’t offer much shade. The extraordinary views you will see make this hike well worth the effort. This is considered a favorite trail among locals here as it has one of the best views in Sedona.
15. West Fork
The West Fork trail is a very long trail at 6.9 miles. This trail is a favorite of Sedona hikes because if its striking beauty and wonderful scenery. It is considered an easy hike and there are lots of trees to offer plenty of shade.
This is an excellent trail if you want to beat the heat. You will cross lots of streams on this hike and you can take a dip in the water for a bit on your way. It is a very calm and peaceful trail and you’ll be glad you experienced it.
Things to bring when you hike on the Sedona Trails
Plenty of water – I have a life straw water bottle that filters water. I also carry a gallon of water in the car so we can refill our bottles when we go back to the car.
Your camera – get ready for some epic views! You’ll want to bring your camera. I like to travel with a budget action camera but you can also check out my list of the best cameras under $300 with even a few under $200.
Sunscreen – I always carry sunscreen so I can reapply but as I mentioned before most of these hikes do not have any shade so it is important to wear sunscreen and a hat.
Hiking Sandals – I like to wear hiking sandals when I hike. I wrote about choosing between Chacos vs Tevas which are two of the best hiking sandals.
Conclusion – Sedona Hikes
I hope you get a chance to do a few of these hikes when you are in Sedona. Every time I visit I like to try out a new hike in Sedona.
Over to you. Have you been hiking in Sedona? Which Sedona hike is your favorite?
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