7 Best Sedona Hiking Trails
While Sedona is a small town with just over 10,000 residents, it experiences an influx of 3 million tourists annually. And many of these tourists are looking for the best Sedona hiking trails into the red rock canyons and stark desert beauty that defines Sedona.
Not only are people seeking out hiking trails, many come in search of the vortexes that also define Sedona.
Sedona vortexes are centers of heightened spiritual and metaphysical energy that are believed to promote healing along, with creating a special space for meditation and self-exploration.
Believe what you will, but each of these 7 hiking trails, linked to a vortex or not, will inspire and recharge you, and at the very least, bring about a heightened sense of the beauty that is Sedona.
West Fork Trail
Trailhead GPS: 34.99057, -111.74292
Parking: Parking fills up fast and is $11 per vehicle. Arrive early to ensure a spot. The entrance to the Call of the Canyon Day Use Area is on a bend in the road, and you’ll see a sign marked “West Fork Oak Creek”.
Distance: 7.2 miles out and back
Difficulty: Easy, 820 feet of elevation gain
With towering cliffs, 13 water-crossings, ruins from the 1870s Mayhew Cain cabin and of course the stunning Sedona views, this Sedona hiking trail will both awe you and close in on you. That’s how you know you are at the end, when the canyon walls no longer allow you to go further in, unless you wade the creek or scale the canyon. With your signal to turn around, now you get to experience this out and back trail from a different perspective.
Cathedral Rock Hike
Trailhead GPS: 34.822467,-111.795369
Parking: The Cathedral Rock trailhead can be accessed off of Back O’Beyond Road where there is a small trailhead parking area. It can also be accessed from Baldwin and Templeton trails. The trailheads and street parking fill up fast, so arrive early.
Distance: 1.3 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate, 740 feet of elevation gain
The naturally occurring red rock formations lie here at this Sedona hiking trail, in the heart of red rock country. While gorgeous views await you throughout the entire trail, it can get quite steep and be quite strenuous. Some scrambling may be required, but once you reach the top of Cathedral Rock, your legs may be worn out, but your body will be rejuvenated from the beauty that surrounds you.
Devil’s Bridge Trail
Trailhead GPS: 34.9015583,-111.8133398
Parking: Dry Creek Vista Trailhead parking has no fees, but fills up quickly. The unpaved portion of Dry Creek Road (FR 152) requires a high-clearance vehicle. If you do not have a high-clearance vehicle, park at the Dry Creek Road trailhead at the end of the paved section or at Mescal Trailhead on Long Canyon Road.
Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip
Difficulty: Moderate, 400 feet of elevation gain
Devil’s Bridge is the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area. Once you’ve reached Devil’s Bridge, there are many options for stunning photo opportunities, such as standing directly under the 50 foot high arch, or climbing the natural staircase to the top of the bridge. This is one Sedona hiking trail that brings you to the heavens and maybe beyond. Sedona is, after all, known as the Vortex capital of the world. If you’re feeling brave, you can even walk across this natural bridge of beauty.
Boynton Canyon Hike
Trailhead GPS: 34.90763, -111.84906
Parking: From Dry Creek Road, follow the signs to Boynton Canyon. There’s a parking lot next to the trailhead just outside the entrance to the Enchantment Resort. Parking is $5 for a Red Rocks Pass or you may use the America the Beautiful Pass.
Distance: 6.1 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate, 810 feet of elevation gain
Sedona hiking trails often bring you to vortex sites, and this is one is no different. Easily accessible via paved roads from town, whether or not you believe in vortexes, you’ll believe in the natural beauty of the towering buttes, red rock cliffs, and desert plants. Ripe with a variety of wildlife and plants that can withstand the desert hardships, you’ll remember Boynton Canyon hike as spiritual, even if you don’t believe.
Trailhead GPS: 34.85547, -111.78070
Parking: Located a ½ mile from airport road, you’ll find parking here for only $3.
Distance: 3.2 mile loop
Difficulty: Moderate, 416 feet of elevation gain
Beautiful views of Sedona Canyon highlight this Sedona hiking trail. Also used as a common mountain biking trail, the Airport Loop consists of rocky terrain, is known to be a vortex site, and offers vistas overlooking West Sedona, Capitol Butte and Wilson Mountain.
Trailhead GPS: 34.89353, -111.86515
Parking: You’ll need to either pay $5 for a Red Rocks Parking Pass or currently have an America the Beautiful Pass to park at this trailhead’s ample parking lot.
Distance: 1.5 mile loop
Difficulty: Moderate, 492 feet of elevation gain
A layer of erosion resistant cap rock gives Doe Mountain its classic mesa shape. At a 400 foot high perspective, hikers can see Bear, Maroon and Wilson Mountains; Loy, Boynton and Secret Canyons; Chimney Rock and the Cockscomb to name just a few. Complete with wildflowers, birdwatching and stunning canyon views from the top, you won’t want to miss this Sedona hiking trail. It is also a great area to watch hot air balloons rising in the distance.
Courthouse Butte Loop / Bell Rock
Trailhead GPS: 34.791030, -111.76279
Parking: You can choose from the north or south trailhead and both fill up quickly. You’ll also need to either pay $5 for a Red Rocks Parking Pass or currently have an America the Beautiful Pass.
Distance: 3.9 mile loop
Difficulty: Moderate, 357 feet of elevation gain
This popular hiking trail in Sedona is also a popular mountain biking area, so be sure to enjoy the trail while remaining vigilant and aware of all the trail users, following proper trail etiquette. Sharing trails allows all users to experience this desert beauty of dry washes, bare rocks and landscape unique to Sedona.
Where to Camp in Sedona
Paid: Rancho Sedona RV Park
Address: 135 Bear Wallow Lane, Sedona
Rancho Sedona is fully shaded with Sycamore and Cottonwood trees towering above you and Oak Creek babbling near you. Located in town, you’ll find yourself within walking distance to Sedona’s many shops, restaurants, and galleries.
From the RV park itself, mountain biking and hiking trails are right outside your door, along with trout fishing and swimming. Amenities here include spacious sites, full hookups, laundry, showers, free WIFI and more starting around $45/night. With adult only sections and AAA and Good Sam membership discounts available, you’ll find a site perfect for you.
Free: National Forest Road 525
GPS Coordinates: 34.814328, -111.905194
Sedona is known for its plethora of free beautiful camping sites, and this area is no exception. About 7 miles from town, you can enjoy access to Sedona and its shopping, along with prepping for boondocking, knowing your campsite is in the middle of a beautiful desert area close to hiking, biking, Sedona’s renowned vortex sites and more.
Keep in mind, many people take advantage of the free camping in the Sedona area, so you may not be alone in the middle of this vast desert, but chances are, you’ll meet new friends, share adventures, and be content no matter the dust that seems to be constantly keeping you company.
Getting here the road is paved, but quickly becomes dirt. Some spots may be a bit tricky depending on your rig. It is recommended to scout with a smaller vehicle before taking your rig too far down the road, as turnaround spots become less frequent further down the road.
If you want less people, keep driving and you’re more likely to find some secluded spots If you feel like having neighbors park sooner than later, and you’re sure to have neighbors as this area is a popular free camping site.
Sedona Hiking Trails Invigorate the Mind, Body and Soul
You may or may not have experienced an increased spiritual or energized vibe from a vortex while hiking in Sedona. But I do hope that you experienced the resplendent beauty as charmingly displayed through her red rock canyons and stark desert artistry.
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