Sedona, Arizona is an incredible midwestern desert town filled with excellent hiking trails. Each hiking trail is unique and leads hikers to a new discovery, be it a cave or a pool or just a beautiful view in general.
With so many great trails to choose from, it can feel a bit daunting to choose which Sedona hikes to do and which ones to hold until your next trip. Either way, we’ve got you covered with the best hikes in Sedona. We’ll cover everything from the hike itself to where to park and even whether or not you can bring your dog along.
Are you excited to dive into the best hiking trails in Sedona? We are, so let’s grab our favorite pair of hiking boots and get going!
The Best Sedona Hiking in Arizona
Hiking can mean different things for different people. For some, it can be a simple day hike along a nature trail for a half hour or so before they turn around. For others, it can be an epic adventure that includes wading through water, scaling a cliff, climbing through rocks, and more. However, for most people, it’s probably somewhere in the middle. Regardless of whatever type of hiking suits your fancy, you can find the perfect trail in Sedona, Arizona.
However, due to the desert heat in Sedona, we’ve got a few hiking tips that are specific to its climate.
- Plan Ahead.
Hiking in Sedona most likely means that you’ll be under direct sunlight for an extended length of time, so be sure to pack sunscreen. Also, make sure that you have a map or know where you’re headed before stepping out onto the trail – especially if it’s a more secluded hike.
- Stay Hydrated.
Because your body will be experiencing different elevations as well as exerting additional energy to hike in the desert sun and heat, it’s crucial that you remain hydrated. Pack enough water to get you through the hike, as well as a decent snack. Make sure that your snack is dense in both calories and nutrition.
- Don’t Go Hiking Alone.
Hiking alone is not recommended for anyone – unless you’re a serious expert. Be sure to let friends and family know where and when you’ll be hiking in Sedona and bring along someone on the trail with you. While it’s unlikely that you’ll get hurt or lost on the trail, having a companion will help ensure that you stay safe. Not to mention, hiking is always more enjoyable when you have someone to share the experience with!
- Bring Your Camera.
There will be some incredible views when you’re hiking in Sedona, so be sure to bring your camera to help capture some of that Red Rock Country and the natural formations. You also might see some wildlife – just be careful not to disturb the animals if you take their picture!
- Waterproof Your Boots.
Though Sedona is referred to as a desert, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t encounter some rainfall from time to time. There are also multiple natural pools (like the Seven Sacred Pools) that you may be wading through in order to complete your hike. As a general rule of thumb, you should always waterproof your boots before a hike.
In order to waterproof your boots, first make sure that they are as clean as possible. Then, apply a waterproofing treatment. Based on the fabric of your boots, you’ll want to use a different waterproofing treatment, so be sure to check that your treatment is compatible with your boots. After you’ve treated your boots, give them enough time to dry before taking them out on the trail.
If you follow these tips, you’ll have an incredible hiking experience in Sedona.
Best Hikes in Sedona
Before we take a deep dive into all of the great hiking trails in Sedona, it’s important that we get our bearings. Where exactly is Sedona, Arizona and why is it such a great hiking town? Sedona is located in a part of Arizona known as Red Rock Country which is known for its red sandstone cliffs and formations. These formations make it a prime destination for tourists, adventurers, photographers, and the like! So, where should you hike in Red Rock Country? Keep reading to find out.
Cathedral Rock is an excellent hiking trail spanning over roughly 1.5 miles (so about 3 miles round trip) and elevating about 645 feet. Keep in mind that there are a few places on this hiking trail that will require you to hike with your hands and so it is not recommended for a beginner hiker; however the views are well worth the challenge.
Hiking Cathedral Rock will bring you to the famous Red Rock Pillars. Be sure to head there around sunset to catch one of the most breathtaking sunsets on planet earth. Parking is limited at the base of the trail, so if you’re going with a group of friends, be sure to take only one car – or better yet, hail a cab!
This hiking trail features very little to no shade, so be sure to pack some SPF to prevent sunburn!
Oak Creek Trail
Very close to Cathedral Rock is Oak Creek, where you can hike to many great swimming holes. From the parking area, the hiking trail is very short at a little less than 1 mile (just 2 miles round trip), but is a great way to cool off on a hot desert day.
If you do check out Oak Creek Trail, you’ll definitely be glad that you waterproofed your hiking boots!
If you’d like to hike one of the most popular trails in all of Arizona, give Devil’s Bridge (a national park in Arizona) a try. This hiking trail is approximately 4 miles long with 400 feet in elevation.
The hike is not very difficult, which is part of its popularity, not to mention the sandstone arch! Hiking the Devil’s Bridge trail inevitably leads you to an incredible natural sandstone arch, known as the Devil’s Bridge because of its natural red color. From the top you get some awesome panoramic views allowing you to check out the secret mountain wilderness that surrounds you!
There is a parking lot for Devil’s Bridge on Dry Creek Road, which is very close to the hiking trail.
Sedona Hiking Pro-Tip:
If you’re up for a bit of an “at your own risk” adventure, you can walk on the bridge. Just be careful because the bridge still poses a threat of falling to those who walk on it.
Bell Rock Loop Trail
Bell Rock Loop Trail is a hiking trail that brings hikers directly to the Bell Rock formation, which is a natural rock formation that looks like (you guessed it!) a bell. Hiking to Bell Rock is a very quick and easy hike, but to get to the top of the bell can be a bit more difficult.
The hike itself is between 1 and 1.5 miles, depending on which path you take and scales 700 feet in elevation. From the top of the bell, you will be able to see the vast desert land of Red Rock Country, which is a simply stunning sight.
Dogs are allowed to join you on this hike, as long as they remain on the leash.
Sedona Hiking Pro-Tip:
Parking can be challenging due to the popularity of this hike; however, the turnaround is relatively quick, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself waiting for a few minutes.
Just south of Bell Rock is the Courthouse Butte Loop Trail, which is a 3.9 mile long trail that has an elevation gain of 357 feet.
West Fork Trail
West Fork Trail claims to be one of the top hiking trails in all of Arizona and even in the US. This trail is roughly 6 miles long (12 miles round trip) and is relatively easy, so it’s perfect for beginner hikers or advanced hikers who simply want a relaxed hike with excellent panoramic views.
The trail leads hikers to a pool of water that’s surrounded by cliffs, where hikers will be required to wade in the water, so bring waterproof hiking boots!
If you’d like to take your hike overnight, there are an additional 11 miles or so past the water where you can camp and enjoy taking a step away from civilization for one night.
Soldiers Pass Trail
If you’re looking for a hike that is chock-full with impeccable views, then Soldiers Pass Trail (also referred to as Soldier Pass Trail) is the trail for you. The Soldiers Pass Trail features incredible sights and landmarks like the Seven Sacred Pools, the Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole, and many natural caves.
First, the Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole is an active sinkhole that was created by the collapse of an underground cave. Currently it’s 150 feet deep and 50 feet wide, but it is still growing, so definitely be sure to watch your step.
The Seven Sacred Pools are exactly what they sound like, and they look their best after a light rainfall. The pools are all in a row next to each other and are beautiful small, natural pools all in a row.
The Soldiers Pass Trail itself is about 4.5 miles each way with an elevation of 650 feet.
Fay Canyon Trail
Fay Canyon Trail is considered to be a relatively easy 2.6 mile hike in Sedona, Arizona. The beautiful canyon walls of the box canyon provide some shaded parts along the trail, so you won’t need to worry about being in the bright, direct sunlight for too long. This trail is perfect if you’re interested in a simple nature hike and bird watching.
This trail allows dogs to join as long as they remain on their leash.
Boynton Canyon Trail
Boynton Canyon Trail is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a longer, yet relatively moderate hike. This trail is a little over 6 miles long with an elevation gain of 810 feet. This trail provides an excellent opportunity to see some Sedona wildlife, as well as some of Sedona’s finest red rocks.
You can bring your dog with you on this trail, but they do need to be kept on a leash. Bikes, however, are not allowed on this trail.
Sedona Hiking Pro-Tip:
The parking area is pretty accessible for Boynton Canyon Trail, but there is a $5 parking fee. For a lot of the best Sedona hikes, you can also consider doing a bit of mountain biking!
The Birthing Cave
Aside from the Devil’s Kitchen and Devil’s Bridge, the Birthing Cave is the hiking trail with the strangest name. The Birthing Cave received its name because, once you’re inside the cave, you will feel like you are inside a womb.
This hike is relatively secluded and private, which makes it an excellent choice for the more adventurous hiker. The hike itself is relatively short at just 2 miles there and back with a mere 400 feet elevation gain. The view from inside the cave is pretty spectacular as well. You’ll see views of Sedona desert land from within the red rock cave.
Sedona Hiking Pro-Tip:
If you happen to be visiting the cave in the spring, be mindful of standing water along the trail. Come prepared with waterproof hiking boots.
Hiking in Sedona, Arizona is a truly magical experience. Remember to bring sunscreen, water, and some trail snacks for your day of hiking in the desert. It’s also important to note that Sedona isn’t the only place to go hiking in Arizona. Because of Arizona’s unique climate, it’s actually one of the most sought after hiking destinations in the entire United States.
Which hiking trails did you decide to hike in Sedona? Let us know!