hiking in Sedona

7 Super Awesome Hikes in Sedona That Are Worth Hiking To

By Olivia Williams

As soon as you arrive in Sedona, you’ll wonder if this place can possibly be real. The stunning red rock formations against the blue skies are almost magical. Sedona draws people from all over to visit to see the fantastic landscapes or visit the mystical vortexes. 

Hikes-in-Sedona

First, let’s talk about Sedona, it is a little town in northern Arizona, but its stunning red rock landscapes have made it exceedingly famous. Arizona has no shortage of amazing striated canyons and glowing orange rock formations; however, Sedona is a fantastic location to view everything that is conveniently accessible.

If Sedona, Arizona, isn’t already on your bucket list, it should be! Sedona is a must-see place with fantastic weather, breathtaking landscapes, red rocks, and lots of hiking options. We are sharing the seven best hikes in Sedona, Arizona, that one should definitely try.

These are the Best Hikes in Sedona, Arizona You’ll Love to Explore

Promising awe-inspiring views, tranquillity, and a deep connection with the great outdoors. These hikes are easygoing animal friendly, and make you enjoy the best time with your friends or family. 

#1 Devil’s Bridge Trail

Without a doubt, Devil’s Bridge is one of the best hikes in Sedona. Due to its amazing views, this is one of the most visited hikes in Sedona. The trail has a lot of foot traffic, so go early if you want to avoid the crowds. 

Again, we recommend a sunrise or sunset hike for this one anyway. One of the region’s most fabulous naturally occurring sandstone arches is highlighted by the Devil’s Bridge Trail.— the 50-foot-high Devil’s Arch. The hike is relatively easygoing except for a steep climb toward the end. 

Distance: 4.2 miles out and back
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Elevation gain: 400 feet

#2 Fay Canyon Trail

Fay Canyon should be on your list if you’re searching for a relaxing, shaded stroll through a canyon. Considered one of the best short hikes in Sedona, the Fay Canyon Trail has some outstanding views. Some reviewers even go as far as to say it’s the “most beautiful view in all of Sedona.” Fay Canyon Trail takes you right into the center of Sedona’s iconic red rock formations.

This trail offers a lot of shade, especially during the summer months. It ends at a tall rock formation, but if you hike just beyond this mark (about 0.25 miles), you will come across this “most beautiful view,” where you might even spot Bell Rock in the distance on a clear day. Be careful when going past the end of the maintained trail.

Distance: 2.2 miles out and back
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 190 feet

#3 Cathedral Rock Trail

Cathedral Rock Trail is one of the most popular trails in Sedona. Many reviews of this trail say hiking at sunset is a great time to see the different colors of the Sedona landscape. This trail has a few challenging sections where you might need to use your hands, but handholds and footholds are there for your convenience. The hike up to Cathedral Rock is steep in places, but you can take plenty of breaks on the way up. 

You’ll find some great places for photo ops. Once you reach the top, look for mini side trails for views of Platform Rock and the Edge of the World. On the horizon, you can spot several famous red rock formations, like Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock. There is a small fee to park at the trailhead.

Distance: 1.2 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 744 feet

#4 Soldier Pass Trail

This hike is sure to keep you entertained, as there’s plenty to see the entire way. The Soldier Pass Trail features sinkholes, pools, caves, and, of course, amazing views. Within the first mile of the hike, you’ll pass by the Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole and Seven Sacred Pools. 

The collapse of an underground cave created the Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole, and it’s growing slightly deeper every day. The Seven Sacred Pools is an important religious site for local Indigenous populations, so be respectful when you pass.

Distance: 4.5 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 600 feet

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#5 The Birthing Cave

One of Sedona’s hidden gems, this quick and easy hike in Sedona is a must-see. The Birthing Cave at the end of the trail, along with its views, is truly breathtaking. While you’re inside this large cave, you will marvel at the valley, soaking in the tranquillity of the land. 

This trail is located near many of the other popular Sedona trails, and it’s a great second hike of the day to add to the nearby Soldier Pass Trail. The terrain is relatively flat and wide and likely won’t tire you out. You will start the hike on the Long Canyon Trail before splitting left onto the trail to the cave after about a mile of hiking.

Distance: 2 miles out and back
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 400 feet

#6 West Fork Trail

If you’re looking for a calm, scenic trail, the West Fork Trail is definitely the way to go. You’ll find water and shade throughout the walk, which are uncommon in Sedona’s desert. Located in Oak Creek Canyon, this serene hike captures the beauty of Sedona in a single hike. Because of the diversity of topography and scenery, the West Fork Trail stands out from other paths in Sedona. 

You will see incredible red rock formations, verdant plant life, and the beautiful creek. You will actually hike through the creek approximately 12 times, so make sure you come equipped with water-resistant hiking shoes or other appropriate footwear. The water is shallow, and you might even find it refreshing on a hot day.

Distance: 6.9 miles out and back
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 800 feet

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#7 Courthouse Butte Loop Trail

This hike highlights two red rock formations. Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte are well-known Sedona landmarks and are also the namesakes of the two trails you can choose to hike. The Bell Rock Trail is usually packed with tourists, so if you’re looking for a calmer outing, opt for the Courthouse Butte Trail.

Along this hike, you will enjoy beautiful red rock scenery. Halfway through, you’ll spot a dome-shaped rock called Spaceship Rock, which is a great place to pause, munch, and take in the scenery.

Distance: 4 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 300-350 feet

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Now, Here is Everything You Need to Know Before Hiking in Sedona, AZ

When is the best time to go hiking in Sedona?

The busiest seasons are in the spring and October to visit Sedona hikes because the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. The two most popular seasons, when highs usually range from the mid-60s to the low 80s (F), are March through May and September through mid-December. 

What is Sedona Vortex? and why is it worth visiting?

Ah, Sedona’s Vortex sites – where the earth’s energy is supposedly so concentrated, even your skeptical Aunt Linda might start levitating. Jokes aside, these mystical spots offer more than a spiritual reboot. Close your eyes and just imagine you’re surrounded by jaw-dropping red rock landscapes that look like Mars and decide to have a garden party. 

Whether you’re here to meditate, hike, or just soak in the views, Sedona’s natural beauty is undeniable. So, why visit? Because where else can you claim to have found your chi and lost your breath to the scenery, all in one trip? Trust me, it’s worth every mesmerizing moment.

Things to Know Before You Go

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-time visitor, these insights will help you make the most of your Sedona hiking experience. 

  • A Red Rocks pass is required for the majority of the best hikes in Sedona. The pass is meant to aid in the preservation of the stunning rock formations within the city. At most of the city’s trailheads, you may buy them. A daily pass currently costs $5, and a weekly pass costs $15. You can buy these passes from recreation.gov here. 
  • Hikes in Sedona can get extremely busy, particularly in the busiest months. Initiate hikes at an early hour to secure parking spaces and enjoy peaceful pathways.
  • A lot of the trails lack proper signage. It is highly recommended that you download the maps of the trails you will be hiking and we recommend them from the AllTrails app.
  • For your hikes, bring lots of water and sunscreen. Even in the winter, the Sedona sun can be extremely powerful. Make sure you have more water and sun protection with you.
  • Certain trails demand four-wheel drive cars. To find out if you can access the trails, you need to do some study on them before you travel. 

Some Interesting Facts about Hiking in Sedona

  • Cathedral and Bell Rock hikes? They’re like energy drinks but for your soul.
  • Those red rocks? They’re blushing because they’re rusting. Classic Sedona chic.
  • Stagecoach” and “Broken Arrow” weren’t just shot in Sedona, they practically moved in!
  • Sedona at night is less “lights, camera, action” and more “stars, wow, and wish upon.”
  • Expect to bump into deer, javelina, and birds. It’s like a Disney movie, but you’re in it.
  • Sedona’s trails are where Mother Nature meets Art Gallery. Watch your step, it’s a masterpiece!

Tips and Guidelines for Hiking in Sedona, Arizona

Now, let’s discuss some responsible recreation practices. Sedona is a well-liked hiking location, as you may already be aware. However, this also means that on weekends and at the busiest times of the year, crowds can get fairly huge. Before you travel, you must take into consideration the following rules (here are some must-know tips for your convenience, although the link contains many more tips) and be aware of your impact on the area.

  • GET ALL OF YOUR TRASH OUT

This should go without saying don’t leave any trash, nutshells, fruit peels, toilet paper, human feces, etc. behind. Make sure you have a bag with you so you can carry all of your trash home.

  • BE RESPECTFUL OF WILDLIFE AND OTHER PEOPLE

Always keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid giving them food. Never pick up or handle wild animals. It’s also critical that you show consideration for other hikers who are having fun on the trails. 

  • STAY ON THE TRAIL

Keep on the trail and watch where you walk when you leave it to give way to other hikers, cyclists, horses, or equestrian riders. Don’t step on small animals or delicate plants. In Sedona, there are some hiking off-trail routes and “social trail” detours. It’s acceptable to stray from the main track in these situations but make every effort to walk where others have made a path before you (or on top of rocks).

  • DO NOT TOUCH DWELLING SITES OR PETROGLYPHS

In addition to its stunning natural rock formations, Sedona is rich in Native American heritage, including cliff dwellings and petroglyph sites. There’s never a good excuse to leave wood carvings, rock carvings, or graffiti outside. Always leave places as you find them. Stay away from standing, sitting, leaning, and touching petroglyphs and dwellings.

  • GOING TO THE BATHROOM OUTDOORS

Before you start hiking, use the restroom (most trailheads offer dump toilets). There are several best practices to adhere to if you must use the restroom while hiking. Make sure to urinate and defecate at least 200 feet away from any hiking trails, streams, and campgrounds when doing so outside. Sedona is not a place to bury your waste; therefore, remove any human waste and toilet paper.

  • DOG-FRIENDLY HIKING TRAIL ETIQUETTE

This Sedona hiking guide’s selection of routes is pet-friendly, but your dog or cat needs to be leashed at all times. Make sure your dog is under control when another hiker approaches, and let them know that he or she is friendly. You should never leave your dog’s waste or poop bags on the trail and you should always clean up after them.

That’s all from my side, dear travelers. Now that you have all the necessary information about hiking in Sedona, what are you waiting for? It’s time to pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey through the breathtaking trails of Sedona, Arizona.

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FAQ’s

What is the best time of year to go hiking in Sedona?

As already mentioned above, Sedona offers excellent hiking conditions throughout the year. However, many visitors prefer the spring (March to May) and fall (September to mid-December) when temperatures are moderate and the scenery is breathtaking.

Are there any permit requirements for hiking trails in Sedona?

While most trails in Sedona do not require permits, some, like the Red Rock Pass, are subject to fees for parking. Always check specific trail regulations for any permit requirements.

Are dogs allowed on hiking trails in Sedona?

Yes, many trails in Sedona are dog-friendly, but it’s essential to check individual trail rules.

Are there family-friendly hiking trails in Sedona?

Yes, Sedona offers family-friendly trails like the West Fork Trail and Bell Rock Pathway. These trails provide relatively easy terrain and captivating scenery suitable for hikers of all ages.

Are there guided hiking tours available in Sedona?

Yes, Sedona offers a variety of guided hiking tours led by experienced local guides. These tours provide insights into the region’s geology, flora, fauna, and cultural history.

Is it safe to hike alone in Sedona?

While many trails are well-traveled and considered safe, it’s generally recommended to hike with a companion, especially on more remote or challenging trails.

Can I go hiking in Sedona if I’m not an experienced hiker?

Absolutely! Sedona offers trails for all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there are paths suited to your abilities. Select trails based on your level of fitness and desired level of challenge.

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