If you are planning a trip to Arizona, Sedona should definitely be on your list of places to visit! Sedona is well known for its majestic red rock formations and red dirt trails that surround you wherever you look. Here is my list of the top 6 hikes you should do while you are there!
1. Devil’s Bridge
This hike in Coconino National Forest is rightfully named for the iconic rock formation at the end of the trail: Devil’s Bridge. The bridge spans 45 feet across and a mere 5 feet wide, making anyone who walks across it look like a daredevil. It’s not as scary as one might think, though, and even those with a fear of heights should be able to do it.
If you have a 4WD vehicle, this hike is very short: about 1.5 miles from the trailhead parking lot. However, if you do not have a vehicle equipped for rugged terrain, this hike is about 4.2 miles roundtrip starting from the parking area at Mescal Trailhead.
The early portion of the trail is smooth and wide, surrounded by bushes and cacti. At about the 3/4 mile marker the trail will split and you will go left, taking you right to the base of the bridge. Here you will find a natural rock staircase that will take you up to Devil’s Bridge!
Tip: GO EARLY! This hike is very popular and some portions are narrow,(especially at the rock staircase) so be prepared to wait in line to get onto the bridge for photos if it’s crowded!
2. Cathedral Rock
Looking for a short, steep climb to see amazing 360 degree views of Sedona? Hike to Cathedral Rock! It takes a bit of scrambling up red rocks and straddling boulders, but you’ll make it to the top in 0.5 miles. You will know you have reached your destination when you see the “End of Trail” sign. The best time to go is at sunrise or sunset.
There is plenty of space at the top to relax and enjoy the views, even if it is crowded. Want more info on this hike? Head on over to my blog post about Cathedral Rock for a more detailed description!
3. West Fork Trail
West Fork Trail is located about 9.5 miles from downtown Sedona off of the 89A North. This is a great trail option to beat the heat, as it is shaded by steep canyon walls and has 13 river crossings throughout the hike. West Fork Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Sedona because it is a relatively flat trail with the most majestic, towering canyon walls that make you feel as if you are in a completely different world. It is suitable for families, young children and dogs on leash.
West Fork is a 6.9 mile roundtrip trail, and if you are trying to avoid getting wet, it may take much longer than anticipated. That is why I recommend wearing water shoes so that you may wade through the river crossings and bypass all the hikers waiting in line to use logs and rocks to cross the river!
You can park in the Call of the Canyon Recreational Area, which requires a $10 fee, or park along the road and pay $2 per person entering the recreation area. No matter what day of the week you go this hike will be CROWDED, so arrive early!
4. Doe Mountain
Another must-do hike in Sedona is Doe Mountain! This hike is only 1.2 miles roundtrip with gradual switchbacks carving their way to the top. At the top is an expansive red rock mesa with panoramic views of beautiful Sedona. We loved this trail because it is such an easy climb, and the reward is well worth it! When you reach the top, you are able to wander around for at least another mile if you choose. It is flat all around, so it is the perfect place to bring a blanket and have a picnic while enjoying your surroundings!
Tip: Go earlier in the day and you will be shaded from the sun for most of the trail!
5. Robber’s Roost
*Only plan to do this hike if you have a 4WD vehicle that can handle very rocky roads, or if you are willing to hike an extra 2 miles each way to reach the trailhead!*
Robber’s Roost is nothing less than EPIC! I mean, what’s cooler than a natural rock cave with stunning Sedona views?! Not much.
This short trail is located a few miles down a dirt road where there is also plenty of opportunity for primitive camping. To get to the trailhead, there is a turnoff to the right. It is not very well marked but you may see cars parked along the side of the road. You can park there and walk two miles on a rocky road, or drive a 4WD vehicle straight to the trailhead. We made it in our 2WD truck, but it was bumpy!
The trail is only about 0.75 miles each way, but not well marked. In order to get to the cave, you will take the trail to the left, and when you think you cannot go any further, keep going. The trail becomes a narrow ledge that hugs the side of a rock wall on one side, and becomes a drop-off on the other. Be careful climbing here! Before you know it, you will see the huge cave and know you’ve made it.
We were there by ourselves and being able to take in the moment was the most serene and enjoyable experience. Enjoy and be respectful of others while you are there! 🙂
6. Bell Rock Trail
This trail is an easy, flat 4 mile loop that takes you around a huge rock formation known as Bell Rock. It is quite popular, but honestly sort of a boring trail if you only hike around it. That is why we decided to hike up onto Bell Rock as high as we could safely go and that made it 10x more awesome! The higher you go, the better view you will get, and this hike has some incredible panoramic views, which make the climb worth it. It does require navigating your way up the rocks and doing some scrambling, so be prepared for that. This is another great place to bring a blanket and have a picnic or take a snooze!
No matter where you go in Sedona, you are bound to be awestruck by the amazing scenery and views, but these hikes will immerse you in nature and give you the real Sedona experience. I hope you are able to tackle a few of them the next time you are there! Please leave any questions, comments, or your own photos in the comments below 🙂