Whether you’re visiting Sedona for a spiritual awakening or a luxurious getaway, chances are you’re going to embark on an outdoor adventure. These are the 8 best Sedona hiking trails to add to your itinerary, especially if you want to capture photos of the stunning scenery!
How to find the best Sedona hiking trails
I narrowed down the list of the best Sedona hiking trails that I wanted to explore by researching interesting photo spots on Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs. Then I saved each hiking location in a Google Map so I could easily see how far away the trails were from my hotel and from each other and planned my itinerary accordingly. My itinerary included approximately 1-2 hikes a day over three days. Do some research ahead of time and make sure you know where the trailhead begins. Have a rough idea of the distance on the trail before you start because you’re likely not going to have cell service while you’re hiking and you don’t want to get lost! AllTrails is really helpful, I’ve included links to the trails below so you can save them.
1. Devil’s Bridge Trail
The most popular hike in Sedona is Devil’s Bridge. Prioritize starting this hike early to avoid crowds; there will likely be a long line of hikers waiting to walk on the red rock “bridge” and get a photo. The surrounding view is beautiful and standing on the bridge it’s not as scary as it looks, I promise!
There are two recommended parking areas, the Devil’s Bridge Parking Lot and another parking area by Mescal Trailhead. I recommend parking near Mescal Trailhead and walking from there, it’s a lot less crowded and the distance is about the same from either parking lot up to Devil’s Bridge. It will take ~30 minutes from the parking lot to the trailhead before you get to the beginning of the trail). Once you get to the Devil’s Bridge trailhead, it’s a 15-20 minute walk to the bridge itself. The bridge is harder to spot as you hike up and approach it, so keep an eye out for it! Check out the AllTrails link for reference.
2. Birthing Cave from Long Canyon Trail
Considered a “vortex” with healing and mystical energies, the Birthing Cave is worth the hike and climb. It’s a very unique experience to sit in a massive cave overlooking the beautiful red rocks and greenery that cover Sedona.
Start on Long Canyon Trail, take a left after 0.6 miles where you’ll see barbed wire and a fallen log/wood. This is off the beaten path – literally. Check out the AllTrails link for reference. Be prepared to climb a little bit as you enter the cave and wear hiking shoes with proper tread because the red rocks can be slippery.
3. Cathedral Rock
Another Sedona vortex here! The light is beautiful at Cathedral Rock in the morning; it’s really such a peaceful and calming experience at the top. Start the hike early to avoid crowds since this is a popular hike for all levels. Once you get to the top, take a left and follow the path to get to the spires in the upper left image. It’s a bit treacherous to hike down to the spires, be sure to watch your step. Take a right from the summit to walk along a path to the overlook in the upper right image. AllTrails link for reference.
4. Airport Mesa
The Sedona “vortex” of Airport Mesa is the perfect place to wind down and watch the sunset after a long day of outdoor exploration. You can drive and park in the lot nearby. It’s a short walk to the viewpoints. We sat among other visitors who brought chairs, snacks, and drinks to Airport Mesa to leisurely enjoy the view.
5. Seven Sacred Pools to Soldier’s Pass
I was so excited to see the Seven Sacred Pools! In the end, I was disappointed to discover they weren’t filled with water and didn’t look so great. Apparently, Sedona didn’t get as much rain this year, resulting in shallow pools with some gross-looking water. The Seven Sacred Pools hike itself may not be worth the time if the pools aren’t filled, make sure to research ahead of time. Plan to take this trail if you want to continue further to Soldier’s Pass, which is a more difficult hike.
Keep in mind that the parking lot at the trailhead only has a few spots. If you can’t park there, drive back toward Sedona and you’ll find a dog park/local park parking lot about 1 mile away. Don’t forget to factor in the extra time to walk to the trailhead when you evaluate the total hike duration and distance. See this AllTrails link for the Seven Sacred Pools hike.
6. Bell Rock
It’s easy to spot Bell Rock — it looks exactly like a bell! This 1.1-mile out and back trail gets a lot of visitors – go early! AllTrails link for more details.
7. Chimney Rock
If you’re hiking Bell Rock, make sure to stop at Chimney Rock on your way back into Sedona. These trails are within a 6-minute drive of one another and can be completed in one day. Chimney Rock is a 1.7-mile out-and-back trail that is suitable for the whole family. Check out AllTrails for details.
8. West Folk Oak Creek Trail
For a change from the red rocks and buttes you’ll see on the other trails listed here, try West Fork. You’ll wander along Oak Creek for beautiful views amidst the trees. This trail is about 6.5 miles out and back, so plan to spend most the day on this hike. More details on AllTrails.