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 amazing landscapes or visit the mystical vortexes. This a comprehensive list of the best Sedona hikes!
I am an avid planner and hiker. I have already done over 50 hikes this year alone and these hikes in Sedona were some of my favorites! Choosing which hikes to do in Sedona can be very overwhelming. If you have been thinking about hitting the trails, then look no further. Below you can read all about the best Sedona hikes, so you can explore this magnificent landscape!
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Table of Contents
Things to Know Before You Go
- Most of the best Sedona hikes require a Red Rocks pass. The pass is intended to help conserve the beautiful rock formations in the city. You can purchase them at most of the trailheads in the city. Right now a daily pass is $5 and a weekly one is $15. They take interagency passes including the America the Beautiful pass, so you can hang that on your dashboard instead.
- Sedona hikes get very crowded especially during the peak season. Start hikes early in the morning to get parking spots and experience quieter trails.
- Many of the trails are not always clearly marked in Sedona. I highly recommend that you download the AllTrails app to download the maps of the trails to follow as you hike.
- Pack plenty of water and sunscreen for your hikes. The Sedona sun can be very strong even in the wintertime. You will want to make sure you’re prepared with extra water and sun protection.
- Some trails require 4 Wheel Drive vehicles. You will want to research the trails you are going to take before you go, so you know if you can access them. Some of the very best trails are only accessible down rough roads that require 4WD cars.
7 Best Sedona Hikes!
This hike is one of the most popular in Sedona and features a red rock bridge with the valley behind it. I suggest that you start this trail at Dry Creek Road Trailhead and take the path from there if you do not have a 4WD car. The first 1.5 miles is fairly easy walk through the red rocks.
Around the 1.5 mile mark the path starts to lead up the path and gets a little steep and rocky. One of the craziest parts of this hike is how you can’t see the bridge until you get to it. It almost appears out of nowhere. It looks scary to view it from afar, but there is a fairly wide path to walk along and take pictures.
Important Notes: If you plan on doing this hike, then my biggest advice is to get there early!! We got to the trail around 6:30 am, which was perfect timing. We only saw a couple other people at the bridge and we had plenty of time to take pictures while we watched the sunrise behind us.
Elevation: 524 ft
If you were short on time in Sedona and could only choose one hike to do in Sedona, then I would suggest this hike. This trail is only a mile long, but the walk to the top is almost straight up the cliff face. We saw quite a few people catching their breath as we made the trek up to the top.
Once you get to the peak, you’ll be greeted by magnificent views of the rocks that line the Sedona skyline. You will be able to walk all along the rim of Cathedral Rock and you can walk out to the edge for a great photo op.
Important Notes: This is one of the very best sunset spots in Sedona, but you should get there a little before the sun goes down to get a good spot for photos. Don’t forget a headlamp or flashlight to make it down the rocks after the sun goes down!
Elevation (Ft): 741
Take a trail that is slightly off the beaten path and walk all the way to Merry Go Round rock. In order to get there, you’ll want to park at the Munds Trailhead and take the Mund’s Trail all the way until the end. If you have a 4WD car, then you can take the drive up to the top of the hill and it’s a short walk from there. For people without those cars (like us), you’ll have to walk 3 miles to the top of the hill.
Luckily, the first two miles of the trail are fairly easy. The trail does go a little up and down, but it does not get steep until about two miles into it. You will have to walk on some smooth rocks and cross a few streams along the way.
At the top, a stunning view will greet you. You can see the unique rock formations, the city of Sedona, and the verde valley all in one landscape. Climb onto some of the rocks to the side for great photos and for an extra challenge you can climb down the rocks to get an amazing photo through a rocky arch to the landscape beyond.
Important Notes: When you research this trail, you may find the shorter Merry Go Round hike. The 1.5 mile hike is only accessible with a 4WD vehicle. Otherwise, you’ll have to take the Munds Wagon to Merry Go Round Rock Trail.
Elevation (Ft): 1,261
This beautiful trail is one of the most scenic in the area. It’s a relatively flat out and back trail to a gorgeous view over the canyon there. As you pass through the canyon, you’ll also get fantastic views over the neighborhood nearby. There are also four energy vortexes around this area, which is one of the unique parts of Sedona!
Although many people visit this area, to see the Subway Cave, I encourage you to skip this part as it is off-trail. Instead you can enjoy the panoramic views from this serene trail. It’s definitely worth a visit!
Important Notes: This trail is very fragile and so is the ecosystem there. It is very important that you leave no trace and treat your environment with respect. Do not touch any sensitive areas and be a responsible visitor.
Elevation (Ft): 700 feet
Red Rock Crossing is a whole area of the Sedona landscape that follows Oak Creek. This trail is easy and short, but you may have to get wet to get to the best views. Most people take the Red Rock Crossing trail across the river to get amazing views of Cathedral Rock.
In the summer, you may see visitors swimming in the river itself. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see the reflection of the rock in the water below. This is a wonderful place to take photos or to see the sunset over Cathedral Rock.
Important Notes: You will need waterproof shoes if you want to cross the creek for the reflections! We didn’t have waterproof shoes and we ended up walking in freezing cold water barefoot.
Elevation (Ft): 64
This is yet another trail that features a cool cave formation. Early on into the trail you’ll be able to see the seven enchanted pools where you can see reflections of the red rocks above them. Similar to a lot of the other Sedona trails it starts off relatively easy, but as you get closer to the cave it gets a lot steeper.
At the very end you will have to climb rocks to get into the cave itself. Once you’re in there, you’ll see three openings that peer out to the red rocks behind them. You can continue on to Brins Mesa, but we chose to turn back at the cave.
Important Notes: There are only 14 spots at the trailhead for parking. Luckily, there is a very nice woman named Debbie who provides shuttle services for a donation from the parking above to the trailhead. Her number is (928) 592-2011, but you should only call her if you are there and you need a ride. She does not work everyday in the off season.
Elevation (Ft): 644
I’m including this trail on the list of best Sedona hikes because a lot of others really enjoy it. Although, we found it a little bit underwhelming and it was also very crowded. You’ll have to park at the Mescal Trailhead and then walk from there to the Birthing Cave.
This trail is not well marked, but it is fairly flat until the very end. At the end of the trail, you’ll need to walk up the cliff side to get to the cave opening. You can really only take in the shape of the cave from the center of it with a camera. Otherwise, it’s just a large opening with a nice view beyond.
Important Notes: Again, this trail is not well marked and so you should have it downloaded on AllTrails. It can be easy to lose the path, because there are other trails along the way. The cave walls are very slippery, so wear shoes with good traction.
Elevation (Ft): 291
Let me know in the comments if you found this guide helpful!
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