What was once a secret hideway, soon became over-trafficked and eventually destroyed. The Subway Cave in Sedona was first popularized by a hiker in the area who shared the location with many others. As soon as images were posted on Instagram, the destination became so popular that crowds swarmed the trail and within just 3 years a cave dwelling was destroyed.
When I visited this spot a couple years ago, I fell in love with it. But, now I wouldn’t return. Visitors have marked the cave walls and toppled an old indigenous cave dwelling. So, I’m encouraging others to consider visiting other fantastic trails in Sedona.
Below you can find resources about other trails, why you should consider leaving the Subway alone, and how to do your part to help save the trails that you love!
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Table of Contents
Subway Cave Sedona Details
Why You Shouldn’t Hike the Subway
Boynton Canyon was a moderately popular trail in Sedona for many years. This wonderful hike is well-maintained and has beautiful views over the Sedona area.
However, when people began to share about the Subway trail soon this hike became incredibly popular to find this “secret location.” However, the secret got out with multiple people (including myself) giving out hike details to capture the gorgeous Subway Cave.
But, a couple weeks ago visitors to the area completely destroyed a cave dwelling there. Rangers cannot keep up with the foot traffic, so the area has become overrun. This trail is technically off-trail and it’s hurting the environment there. For all of these reasons, I encourage you to stay on the Boynton Canyon Trail, but do not go on the side venture to Subway Cave.
Boynton Canyon Trail Details
Distance: 5.3 miles
Elevation: Roughly 500 feet of gain
Type: Loop Trail
Length: 1-3 hours total (depending on your pace and breaks)
Difficulty: Moderate-Hard (flat areas throughout with some elevation, it can get long)
Other Great Sedona Trails
There are so many great trails in Sedona that are maintained and provide fantastic views over the area. I strongly encourage you to find the hikes that are less-trafficked so that you have some hikes to yourself.
Here are some great trails that you can check out:
How to Follow Leave No Trace
In order to keep our natural lands looking beautiful it’s important that you follow the Leave No Trace Principles. Follow these simple rules to keep our earth pristine and allow visitors to enjoy places for years to come!
✍️ Plan Ahead & Prepare. This means that you know where you’re going, you bring the proper gear, and you prepare for all emergencies. It’s especially important to know the rules and regulations of where you are going.
⛺️ Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces. This means that you walk over established trails and that you do your best to avoid damaging the earth. Do not go off trail and do not mess with the natural environment.
🗑 Dispose of Waste Properly. Do not leave anything out in the wild, which means that you need to pack it in and pack it out! That includes all organic materials like banana peels or apple cores.
👋🏻 Leave What You Find. Do not take rocks, wildflowers, or other plants from the environment around you! That way others will enjoy those places for years to come.
🔥 Minimize Campfire Impacts. Make sure that you know how to create the proper fire and do not destroy the environment around you. Also, always follow rules and fire regulations in an area. Humans cause most wildfires and these can be avoided!
🐻 Respect Wildlife. This means that you leave wildlife alone. If you see animals, do not feed them and keep enough distance away to not bother them. It’s their home, not yours.
🗣 Be Considerate of Others. One of the most important rules in nature! Let others enjoy the trails and outdoors. Don’t play loud music and treat others well so they can explore their surroundings in peace.
How Can I help?
The best thing you can do to help is to stop sharing the Subway Cave online and help spread good resources. When you’re visiting Sedona, go on trails that are maintained by the officials there and always respect nature.
If you want to help more, then you can donate to the Arizona Site Steward Program to help maintain other beautiful Arizona locations. I hope you enjoy more trails and keep our planet beautiful for others to enjoy!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!