13 Absolute Best Sedona Hiking Trails

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When it comes to the best Sedona hiking trails, I’ve got you covered! Sedona is known for its incredible red rock landscape and hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy it. Let’s dive in!

easy hiking in sedona
Deadman’s Pass Trail along the Mescal Loop (#5 below)

There’s a reason Sedona Arizona is a popular hiking destination. The red rock landscape is simply incredible. This list of best hikes in Sedona will help you pick the perfect hike for your trip!

Important Notes for Hiking in Sedona Arizona

Trailhead Shuttle and Parking:

Since Sedona has become a very popular destination, there’s now a free shuttle service for hikers to some of the most popular trailheads.

I’ve noted the parking and shuttle situation for each of the hikes below. You can get more information about the Sedona shuttle here. For some hikes, taking the shuttle is the only option to access the trailhead on certain days of the week.

Red Rock Pass:

A Red Rock Pass (or America the Beautiful Interagency Pass, Golden Age, or Golden Access) is required at most of the parking areas on National Forest land in Red Rock Country.

You can purchase a pass online here or by scanning a QR code on the signs at each fee site. If you’re taking the free Sedona shuttle to a trailhead, no Red Rock Pass is necessary.

Best Sedona Hiking Trails

walking on Devils Bridge in Sedona
View of Devils Bridge
Devils Bridge hike in Sedona
Walking on Devils Bridge

1. Devils Bridge

  • Distance: about 4.1 miles roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Dry Creek Vista Trailhead
  • Parking: Parking is very limited and this is a popular hike, so you can take the free Sedona shuttle (running Thursdays through Sundays) to the Dry Creek Trailhead if you don’t want to deal with parking.

Amanda’s Quick Take: A Sedona classic to a very unique red rock bridge!

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

Devils Bridge is an iconic Sedona hike. The hike starts along a Jeep road for about 1.1 miles and then branches off for a steady uphill to the natural bridge viewpoint (where the photos above were taken).

This is a very crowded hike, but the views are incredible. Walking out on the bridge looked very intimidating from the viewpoint, but it’s a lot wider than it looks in photos.

You can expect to see a lot of other people on the trail and Jeep tours driving by on the dirt road.

view of the Seven Sacred Pools
Seven Sacred Pools (view from the top)
inside Soldier Pass Cave sedona
Soldier Pass Cave

2. Soldier Pass Trail

  • Distance (round trip):
    • To Seven Sacred Pools: about 1.1 miles
    • To Soldier Pass Cave: about 3.0 miles
    • To Soldier Pass Summit: about 3.5 miles (distance does not include cave detour)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate (depending on how far you hike)
  • Trailhead: Soldier Pass Trailhead
  • Parking: Parking for the trailhead is in a residential area and is very limited. The free Sedona hiking shuttle runs year-round from Thursday through Sunday. (It runs daily during some holidays and Spring Break.) When the shuttles are running, the parking lot at Soldier Pass Trailhead will be closed. You’ll need to take the shuttle to access the trailhead. Outside of shuttle hours, the trailhead parking will be open.

Amanda’s Quick Take: I loved hiking the Soldier Pass Trail as part of a loop with the Brins Mesa Trail (see #3 below). It was beautiful! Next time I would skip the cave.

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

There are a few options for this trail. You can go out and back to the Seven Sacred Pools or the Soldier Pass Cave, or you can continue up to Soldier Pass and make this a loop hike with the Brins Mesa trail (see #3 below). The Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole is also something you can see along this trail.

This is one of the most popular hiking trails in Sedona so be prepared to encounter a lot of other people. Most people choose to go out and back to either the Seven Sacred Pools or Soldier Pass Cave.

The Seven Sacred Pools are cool but can be underwhelming when they’re dry or muddy.

Keep in mind that the hike up to Soldier Pass Cave is steep and rocky. To get up in the cave requires some scrambling and a big step up or down. Once there, the rocks are very slippery and there are steep drop-offs, so it goes without saying to be careful here!

hiking on the Brins Mesa Trail
View along the Brins Mesa Trail

3. Brins Mesa Loop 

  • Distance: about 5.1 miles (5.6 miles if you include the hike to Soldier Pass Cave)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Soldier Pass Trailhead or Brins Mesa Trailhead
  • Parking: Parking at the Soldier Pass Trailhead is very limited. On the days when the shuttles are running (typically Thursday through Sunday), the parking lot at Soldier Pass Trailhead will be closed and you’ll have to take the shuttle. For the loop hike, the Brins Mesa Trailhead might be the better option if you want to park.

Amanda’s Quick Take: I love a good loop hike and this one is beautiful! It’s a great moderate hike with epic views!

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

If you’re looking for a loop hike, this is a great option. I hiked this in a clockwise direction starting on the Soldier Pass Trail to Soldier Pass and then hiked down the Brins Mesa Trail.

You also could do this hike as an out-and-back from the Brins Mesa Trailhead if you want something shorter. I thought the Brins Mesa Trail was beautiful and I liked being able to enjoy the scenery and hike down that side of the loop rather than up it.

Also, that side of the loop was less crowded so it was nice to get the busier part of the hike done first.

view of the Subway Cave Sedona hike
The Subway Cave

4. Boynton Canyon Trail to the Subway Cave

  • Distance: about 4.6 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Boyton Canyon Trailhead
  • Parking: There’s a decent amount of parking at the Boynton Canyon Trailhead, but it still fills up quickly!

Amanda’s Quick Take: The Subway Cave is very cool but the hike to the cave is not my favorite hike in Sedona.

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

The Subway Cave is another popular Sedona hike, so you can expect to see many other people on this trail. To be honest, the hike up to the cave is not my favorite hike in Sedona, but the Subway Cave itself is very cool.

Keep in mind that to get to the cave (where the photo above is taken) you’ll need to branch off of the main trail and then at the end, climb up and down a steep slippery rock face that can be challenging. Nick had to give me a hand up.

It’s a beautiful viewpoint, but with a lot of other people, it can be loud and cramped.

the Mescal Trail hike in Sedona Arizona
Hiking on the Mescal Trail

5. Mescal Trail Loop

  • Distance: 5.7 miles (We started at the Boyton Canyon Trailhead and this distance includes a stop at the Birthing Cave, see #6 below, which added about 0.6 miles to the loop)
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Trailhead: Boyton Canyon Trailhead or Mescal Trailhead
  • Parking: The Mescal Trailhead is one of the trailheads served by the free Sedona shuttle. If you don’t want to deal with trying to find parking at the trailhead, the shuttle runs year-round Thursday through Sunday.

Amanda’s Quick Take: This loop hike surprised me and ended up being one of my favorites! It’s relatively easy and the hike has it all – great views and hiking on red rock!

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

The Mescal Trail Loop is one of my favorites! To make this a loop, you’ll hike the Mescal Trail, Deadman’s Pass Trail, and Long Canyon Trail.

While it seemed like everyone was hiking to the nearby Subway Cave (see #4 above) the Mescal Trail was less crowded and beautiful!

It was a relatively easy hike with spectacular views the entire time and even some hiking on red rock. I hiked this loop in a clockwise direction, but I think it would be great in either direction.

This trail doesn’t get as much hype as Cathedral Rock or Devils Bridge, but this ended up being one of my favorite hikes in Sedona because the views were awesome and it was relatively easy and relaxing to hike.

hiking up to the Birthing Cave in Sedona
The Birthing Cave

6. The Birthing Cave

  • Distance: about 1.9 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Long Canyon Trailhead
  • Parking: There’s not much of a parking lot at this trailhead. It’s mainly parking along the road, so during the busy times in Sedona, this will fill up quickly.

Amanda’s Quick Take: The Birthing Cave is cool and a good hike if you want something short and relatively easy.

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

The most direct way to get to The Birthing Cave is to start at the Long Canyon Trailhead. From there, the hike to the cave is relatively easy with a steep section at the end to get in the cave.

If you’re hiking the Mescal Loop (see #5 above) you could take a short detour to see the Birthing Cave along that route if you prefer. That’s what we did!

hiking the Cathedral Rock trail in Arizona at sunrise
View of the Cathedral Rock Hike

7. Cathedral Rock

  • Distance: about 1.25 miles roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Trailhead: Cathedral Rock Trailhead
  • Parking: Parking for the trailhead is in a residential area and is very limited. The free Sedona hiking shuttle runs year-round from Thursday through Sunday. (It runs daily during some holidays and Spring Break.) When the shuttles are running, the parking lot at Cathedral Rock Trailhead will be closed. You’ll need to take the shuttle to access the trailhead. Outside of shuttle hours, the trailhead parking will be open.

Amanda’s Quick Take: A short steep hike that’s a lot of fun with incredible views!

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

Cathedral Rock is one of the most well-known spots in all of Arizona. It’s the most popular Sedona hiking trail, so you can expect to see many other people. We started hiking just before sunrise on a weekday in the winter and there weren’t too many people, but in general, this is a crowded one.

Despite the crowds and popularity of this hike, I loved it! It’s short but very steep and requires scrambling up the red rock. I was using my hands at a few points going up and down. So while the mileage is short, it will require some work to get to the top!

view of Bell Rock in Sedona
Bell Rock

8. Bell Rock Pathway

  • Distance: There are a lot of paths in this area, but from the Courthouse Vista parking lot to one of the viewpoints on Bell Rock is about 0.8 miles round trip (if hiking the Bell Rock Loop Extension to Bell Rock Pathway to the Bell Rock Trail).
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Courthouse Vista Parking (the closest option) or the Bell Rock Pathway/Vista Parking
  • Parking: This trailhead has a big parking lot but it still fills up because of the popularity of this area.

Amanda’s Quick Take: If you want something easy and fun, this is a great option.

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

This is a short fun hike along the base of Bell Rock on the Bell Rock Pathway or up the Bell Rock Trail for a higher viewpoint!

You can easily see Bell Rock from the road and this is a popular short hike where you’ll encounter many people walking the pathway. The area is well-marked with signs.

View of the Courthouse Butte in Sedona Arizona
The Courthouse Butte

9. Courthouse Butte Loop 

  • Distance: about 3.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Courthouse Vista Parking
  • Parking: There are a lot of parking spots at this lot, but it still fills up quickly!

Amanda’s Quick Take: If you want an easy hike that’s a little longer, this loop is a great option!

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

The Courthouse Butte Loop is a wonderful easy Sedona hike. If you want something a little longer, this is a great option and you can combine this with Bell Rock (see #8 above).

On this hike, you walk around the Courthouse Butte and there are some great views along the way. We hiked this trail on a trip with Nick’s family and it was a lot of fun.

easy Sedona hike Fay Canyon
View of Fay Canyon

10. Fay Canyon Trail

  • Distance: about 2.1 miles roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Fay Canyon Trailhead
  • Parking: This parking lot is large compared to some of the others in Sedona. The Sedona shuttle does not go to this trailhead.

Amanda’s Quick Take: Not my favorite trail, but still a great hike if you want something short and easy!

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

This is a short easy hike that takes you into Fay Canyon. The views at the start were my favorite and I enjoyed how easy and relaxing this trail was.

The end of the trail was a little abrupt, but we still enjoyed the hike. This hike is also well-shaded, so on a hot day, this might provide some relief. There’s a less traveled trail that branches off the main trail and goes up to Fay Canyon Arch, however, the hike up to the arch is steep and rocky.

hiking on the airport loop trail in Sedona
View along the Airport Loop Trail

11. Airport Loop Trail

  • Distance: about 3.2 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Trailhead: Airport Saddle Trailhead or Sedona Airport Overlook
  • Parking: There are only a few spots at the Airport Saddle Trailhead. You’ll most likely have to drive up to the Sedona Airport Overlook where there is a large paid parking lot.

Amanda’s Quick Take: A nice relaxing loop hike close to town.

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

This is a nice easy-to-moderate loop hike close to town. I hiked this loop in a clockwise direction starting on the Airport Loop Trail and then connecting with the Sedona View Trail at the end of the loop.

I think the Airport Loop Trail side has the better views. If you don’t want to do the entire loop, you can hike out and back on the Airport Loop Trail and get some great views and a shorter hike. Just go as far as you want and then turn around.

Another option in this area is to walk up to the Airport Mesa Viewpoint. This is a very short walk from the parking lot to some great views!

hiking the Broken Arrow Trail to Chicken Point
View of Chicken Point

12. Broken Arrow Trail to Chicken Point

  • Distance: about 3.0 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Broken Arrow Trailhead
  • Parking: The Sedona hiking shuttle does not go to this trailhead, so you’ll have to try and get a parking spot.

Amanda’s Quick Take: It was a lot of fun hiking up and over the red rock on this trail! The views are great, but the trail can get crowded and loud with Jeep tours in the busy season.

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

There are a lot of hiking options from the Broken Arrow Trailhead. I hiked the Broken Arrow Trail out to Chicken Point, and then turned around and took the Twin Buttes Trail back to make a ‘lollipop’ loop. It was a really fun hike! (If you take the Twin Buttes Trail back, it will add about 0.2 miles more to the hike.)

It’s worth noting that this is a popular area for the Jeep tours, so you’ll likely see and hear them as you hike.

I did this hike in January when Sedona was less busy and I hardly saw anyone else along the hike. Chicken Point is a beautiful viewpoint, but again, the Jeep tours stop here so there’s probably going to be other people around!

hiking the Bear Mountain trail in Sedona
Views along the Bear Mountain Trail

13. Bear Mountain Trail to Bear Mountain Summit

  • Distance: about 4.6 miles roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Trailhead: Bear Mountain Trailhead
  • Parking: This is a relatively large parking lot. Since this hike is less crowded than some of the others, it can be easier to get a parking spot here.

Amanda’s Quick Take: A very fun challenging hike. The ending viewpoint is a little underwhelming, but the hike up to it is so beautiful!

ABOUT THE TRAIL:

This was by far the most challenging hike that I did in Sedona, but it was a lot of fun! You’ll be climbing up steep slippery rocks along the way, but the views are incredible. This hike reminded me a lot of Zion National Park.

According to my GPS, the total elevation gain was 1,875 feet – that’s a lot of gain over a short distance! On a hot sunny day, this would be even harder, so make sure you’re prepared and know what you’re getting into with this one.

I did see a lot of agave plants along this hike. The agave plant is all over Sedona, but I noticed a lot of them along this trail in particular. The agave plant has stiff pointy spines and it’s sometimes called the ‘Cowboy Killer’.

You do not want to slip and fall into one of these plants, so make sure you take extra caution as you’re hiking up and down this trail since it is steep with slippery rocks.

The viewpoint at the end of the trail is not nearly as cool as some of the views on the way up, but it was a nice place to relax and have a snack before hiking down.


hiking in Sedona Arizona
Hiking the Brins Mesa Trail (#3 above)

Sedona Hiking Trails Mapped 

The map below shows the different trailheads mentioned in this post. The map is intended for planning purposes only and to give you a general idea of where things are.

Trip map created with Wanderlog, a trip planner on iOS and Android

Best Hikes in Sedona Arizona (by category)

The 3 Most Popular Sedona Hikes:

  • Cathedral Rock (#7)
  • Devils Bridge (#1)
  • Boyton Canyon Trail to the Subway Cave (#4)

Best Easy Hikes in Sedona:

  • Bell Rock Pathway (#8)
  • Fay Canyon Trail (#10)
  • The Birthing Cave (#6)
  • Courthouse Butte Loop (#9)

Amanda’s Top 3 Favorite Sedona Hikes:

  • Cathedral Rock (#7)
  • Mescal Loop (#5)
  • Devils Bridge (#1)
Views along the Mescal Loop Hike (#5 above)

What is the best time of year to hike in Sedona?

You can hike in Sedona year-round with the best times being the Spring and Fall. In the Spring and Fall, weather is typically great for hiking.

In the Summer, temperatures can get very hot making the hikes more challenging, especially since many of the hikes don’t have a lot of shade. Start early to avoid the heat of the day.

Winter is another great time to visit Sedona, but snow, ice, and mud on the trails are very common. The least crowded months in Sedona are December, January, and February, so if you don’t mind a little snow and colder temperatures, that can be a great way to avoid the big crowds.

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