Top 5 Best Hikes in Sedona, AZ You Won’t Want to Miss

by | August 2020 | 6 comments

*All photos are protected by copyright and the property of Briana Nickas unless otherwise noted.

Are you looking for things to do in Sedona, AZ? If you’re planning a trip to the beautiful Sedona Red Rock Country and love the outdoors, you’re in the right place!

I’m going to give you the top 5 best hikes in Sedona along with some helpful info about Sedona and hiking there.

Plus, stick with me to the end for a few BONUS places and things to do in Sedona! And be sure to Pin this post for later so you don’t miss out on the best hikes in Sedona when you visit!

Top 5 Best Hikes in Sedona AZ You Won't Want to Miss

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Are you planning a trip to the beautiful #SedonaAZ Red Rock Country and love the outdoors? Here are the top 5 best hikes in Sedona you won’t want to miss! #sedona #sedonahikes Click To Tweet

Sedona, AZ

Ahhh… Sedona. The artsy town of Sedona, AZ is the epitome of Southwest America with its towering red rocks contrasting against greenery and blue skies. Everywhere you look are stunning views and scenery! You can’t help but want to explore every nook and cranny. And the best way to do that is by hiking!

Sedona has so many incredible hikes, it’s hard to narrow them down. I spent hours upon hours researching the best hikes in Sedona prior to our trip. And these hikes I’m going to share with you are the top 5 Sedona hikes I narrowed my list down to and made sure to do during my visit.

Red Rock Views along the Sedona Soldier Pass Trail - Best Hikes in Sedona AZ

Hiking in Sedona, AZ

While I was there, Sedona quickly became one of my happy places. I could have spent months there and even considered moving there (no joke!). But I will say that we were there at the end of June, and it was HOT, especially in the sun! The first few days were close to 100 degrees. 🥵

Not the ideal temperature for hiking. I definitely recommend going when it’s cooler if possible. But regardless of when you go, make sure you bring plenty of water on your hikes and be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen as many of the hikes don’t provide much (if any) shade.

Also, some of the trails require a parking pass. Get info about the Red Rock Pass Program here.  And another option for a parking pass is the America the Beautiful Pass which also gets you into all the U.S. National Parks.

You may also like: Arches National Park in Utah: 2-Day Itinerary of the Best Things To Do

Gear for Hikes in Sedona, AZ

Just a heads-up, pretty much all of these hikes require some form of scrambling and/or climbing on slick rock. I wore my HOKA ONE ONE hiking boots for the first time during my trip to Sedona and fell in LOVE with them! 

They’re lightweight which was helpful in the heat. And they also have excellent traction for gripping the slick rock. I highly recommend them (or at least some hiking shoes with good grips).

I also recommend using a lightweight mirrorless camera with a lightweight tripod, especially on the hikes to the caves so you can capture them properly. I use this camera and this tripod for hiking and traveling.

I love using them together because they’re both super lightweight and easy to use. And on top of that, the tripod is extremely affordable. Score!

RV Park in Sedona, AZ

We RVed to Sedona and absolutely LOVED the Sedona RV park we stayed at – Rancho Sedona RV Park! It has actually become one of our all-time favorite RV parks. Unfortunately, they only had a few nights available. 

So we stayed at another RV park for the first few nights we were visiting Sedona – Distant Drums RV Resort in Camp Verde, AZ. It’s a very nice RV park, and we enjoyed staying there. But the location is further out and takes a little over 30 minutes to drive to Sedona.

We would rather be right in Sedona close to restaurants and all the hiking trails. Here are the details for the RV park we highly recommend for RVing to Sedona if you can get a reservation:

RV at Rancho Sedona RV Park in Sedona AZ

Rancho Sedona RV Park in Sedona, UT

If you’re lucky enough to get a site at this RV Park, book it! This campground gets booked up months in advance and for good reason. It’s well-maintained with a beautiful setting featuring large Sycamore and Cottonwood trees that provide plenty of shade. There’s also access to Oak Creek where you can take a dip to cool off or just enjoy the tranquil flowing water. And on top of all that, it’s in a super convenient location that’s walking distance to town!

You may also like: 10 Reasons Why Traveling by RV is the Best Way to Travel

The Top 5 Best Hikes in Sedona, AZ

And now the moment you’ve been waiting for… here are the top 5 best hikes in Sedona that you won’t want to miss if you’re visiting Red Rock Country!

1. Soldier Pass Trail to the Secret Soldier Pass Cave

Distance: 3.5-miles roundtrip

*NOTE: I tracked our mileage using the AllTrails app, but I’ve seen others state the mileage as 4.1 to 4.5-miles. Somehow we ended up looping back on the Jeep road rather than the trail, so maybe that affected the distance.)

Elevation: 620-feet (according to AllTrails)

Difficulty: Moderate (climbing required to get into the cave)

Trail Type: Out & Back

Hiking Time: 3 hours (including time to explore the cave and take photos)

Trailhead: Soldier Pass Trailhead

If you like hiking to secret caves, then Soldier Pass Cave is an absolute must-hike trail when you visit Sedona, AZ! In fact, this was my favorite hike in Sedona! 

Finding hidden trails to secret places is my jam! And aside from an awesome cave to explore, this trail also features the Seven Sacred Pools as well as Devils Kitchen, a large sinkhole.

If you want to hike to the secret Soldier Pass Cave though, you have to know how to find the hidden trail turn-off on the Soldier Pass Trail.

And lucky for you, I just so happened to write a detailed post on exactly how to find the way and get to Soldier Pass Cave off of the Soldier Pass Trail. You can find it HERE! 😉

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2. Cathedral Rock

Distance: 1.8-miles roundtrip

*NOTE: I tracked our mileage using the AllTrails app. But the AllTrails Cathedral Rock Trail page states the mileage as 1.2 miles total roundtrip.

Elevation: 807-feet (according to my AllTrails recording)

Difficulty: Moderate-Hard (requires a lot of scrambling and climbing)

Trail Type: Out & Back

Hiking Time: 2 hours (including time to take in the view at the top and snap pics)

Trailhead: Cathedral Rock Trailhead

Parking Pass Required: Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass required to park at the trailhead

Cathedral Rock is a close second after Soldier Pass Cave for the best hikes in Sedona. If you enjoy scrambling and climbing along with amazing views while you’re hiking, be sure to hike Cathedral Rock!

Hiking Cathedral Rock in Sedona is really more of a climb than a hike though. It requires A LOT of rock scrambling and climbing. And there are some steep places that are challenging to climb. But that’s part of the fun! Plus, the views are incredible, especially from the top.

You’ll want to have your hands free for this hike as you’ll have to use both of your hands and feet to reach the end of the trail. Hiking shoes with good traction are also a must. This is one of the hikes where my HOKA ONE ONE hiking boots really came in handy!

You may also like: How To Hike To The Secret Birthing Cave Sedona, AZ

3. Bell Rock Climb

Distance: 1.3-miles roundtrip

*NOTE: I tracked our mileage using the AllTrails app, but the AllTrails Bell Rock page states the mileage as 1.1-miles total roundtrip. We had a hard time finding and staying on the trail at times.

Elevation: 453-feet (according to my AllTrails recording)

Difficulty: Moderate (requires scrambling and climbing)

Trail Type: Out & Back

Hiking Time: 1.5 hours (including time to rest and take in the view at the end)

Trailhead: Bell Rock Trail

Parking Pass Required: Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass required to park at the trailhead

The Bell Rock Climb is similar to the Cathedral Rock hike. It’s a steep climb and requires a lot of scrambling on the slick rock face to reach the end of the trail towards the top of Bell Rock.

You’ll also want to have your hands free for this hike as you’ll need both hands and feet to make your way up. Hiking shoes with good traction are a must here too.

The Bell Rock Climb is a bit shorter of a hike than Cathedral Rock. But the trail is harder to keep track of. Follow the rock cairns and keep heading up. You’ll be rewarded with awesome views along the way!

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4. Devil’s Bridge

Distance: 4.2-miles roundtrip

Elevation: 538-feet (according to AllTrails)

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate (there are some steep steps to climb up to the bridge)

Trail Type: Out & Back

Hiking Time: 2.5 hours (including waiting time to get photos taken on the Bridge)

Trailhead: Devil’s Bridge Trailhead from the Devil’s Bridge Trail Parking Lot at the Dry Creek Road trailhead at the end of the paved section of road

Devil’s Bridge is one of the most popular hikes in Sedona and for good reason. You can actually stand out on the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area for an iconic photo op! How awesome is that?!

To get to the Devil’s Bridge trail, you have two options – drive to it or hike to it. Driving seems like the obvious choice, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. The road to reach the trailhead is unpaved and extremely rough. In fact, it’s only meant for 4×4 high-clearance vehicles like Jeeps or ATVs.

If driving the unpaved road isn’t an option for you, no worries. The hike to the trailhead is easy. It just adds on some mileage to your hike. From the Devil’s Bridge Trail Parking Lot off of Dry Creek Rd, the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead is about 1.2-miles ahead on the dusty 4×4 road.

Then it’s just another 0.8-miles to Devils Bridge. The trail is fairly flat and easy most of the way until you get close to the bridge. Towards the end of the trail, you have to climb several sets of steep stone steps to reach the bridge. We hiked to the trailhead, and it only took us about an hour to reach the bridge. Not bad.

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Be prepared to spend some time at the bridge though. People were taking turns going out on the bridge to get their photos snapped. So we took our place in line and waited… and waited. If you want to walk out on the bridge, you’re going to be there awhile. But it’s a nice view to enjoy as you pass the time. 

The views from the Devil’s Bridge Trail may not be as good as other hikes. But being able to walk out onto the bridge itself is an awesome experience! I actually have a fear of edges and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to bring myself to walk out on the bridge. 

But I crushed it! The bridge is actually not as narrow as it looks once you get out on it. So if you get the chance to hike Devil’s Bridge, do it! And be sure to get your photo taken out on the bridge for bragging rights.

You may also like: Soldier Pass Trail in Sedona: How To Hike to the Secret Cave

5. The Birthing Cave

Distance: 3.0-miles roundtrip (counting a few wrong turns)

*NOTE: I tracked our mileage using the AllTrails app. But I’ve seen others, including the AllTrails Birthing Cave page, state the mileage as 2.0-miles total roundtrip.

Elevation: 374-feet (according to AllTrails)

Difficulty: Easy (with some scrambling to get into the cave)

Trail Type: Out & Back

Hiking Time: 1.5 hours (including time to enjoy the cave and take photos)

Trailhead: Long Canyon Trailhead

The Birthing Cave is another secret cave in Sedona you can hike to! This is a fairly easy trail that’s mostly flat until you get close to the cave. Then you have a short but steep climb up to the cave. Once you get inside the cave, the slick and nearly vertical rock can be challenging to walk on. So you’ll want your hiking shoes to have good grip.

The Birthing Cave is like a large bowl carved out of the red rock cliffs. The cave isn’t very deep and is actually quite shallow. But it’s massive and towers up over you. Aside from how cool the Birthing Cave itself is, the view looking out from inside this Sedona cave is stunning!

To reach the Birthing Cave, you have to know where the hidden trail turn-off is located. Wanna know exactly how to find the secret Birthing Cave in Sedona? Get detailed directions HERE!

You may also like: 45+ Road Trip Essentials You Need to Pack Before You Hit the Road

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BONUS Places & Things To Do in Sedona, AZ

There’s plenty of other things to do in Sedona besides hiking. So I wanted to give you a few more activity ideas for your visit.

Scenic Drive on Hwy 89A from Sedona to Flagstaff

Pretty much everywhere you go in Sedona is a scenic drive. But if you have the time, take the actual scenic drive up the 89A through Oak Creek Canyon from Sedona to Flagstaff. It’s such a beautiful area! And there are many day-use areas and campgrounds along the way if you want to stop for a picnic.

There’s also a scenic viewpoint at Oak Creek Vista located here. When we were there around 6pm, the gate to access the viewpoint was closed. So sadly, we weren’t able to see it. According to the USDA Forest Service website, the hours of the viewpoint are 7am-4pm.

Just a heads-up though, you probably don’t want to take your RV on the narrow 2-lane road though as there’s a section of tight, windy switchbacks. In fact, vehicles over 50 feet in length are prohibited from driving that section. So if your RV and/or total vehicle length is close to 50-feet or longer, don’t go this way.

Slide Rock State Park Sedona, AZ on Scenic Drive on Highway 89A from Sedona to Flagstaff, AZ

Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park was one of the places I was super excited to visit during our trip to Sedona. But unfortunately, we were in Sedona at the height of the COVID pandemic. So we opted to save Slide Rock State Park for another time.

The main attraction at Slide Rock State Park is Slide Rock itself. Slide Rock is a natural water slide in the sandstone of Oak Creek stretching 80 feet long and 2.5-4 feet wide. The 1/2 mile section of Oak Creek is open for swimming, wading, and sliding of course! For park information, including hours and entrance fees, check here

You may also like: Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah: 1-Day Itinerary of the Best Things To Do

Wrapping Up the Top 5 Best Hikes in Sedona, AZ

If you’re visiting Sedona, AZ, one of the best things to do there is hiking to explore the stunning Red Rock Country. And with so many amazing Sedona hikes to choose from, it’s hard to narrow them down. 

Hopefully, this post has given you some top trails to hike next time you’re in Sedona. I can’t wait to go back and hike more trails there! Have you already done some amazing hikes in Sedona that aren’t listed here? Share them in the comments below!

If hiking is your jam, be sure to grab your free Hiking Log to keep track of all the amazing hikes you do!

Leave a question or comment HERE!

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5 Best Hikes in Sedona, AZ

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Briana Nickas of Next Destination Unknown

Behind the Blog

I’m Briana Nickas, a part-time RVer who loves RVing, hiking, visiting National Parks, and taking photos. My happiest days are spent on the road with my hubby and our fur-baby Saucy (a 7-lb maltipoo) exploring the country and meeting fellow adventurers along the way… 

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6 Comments

  1. Maggie

    Just added Sedona to the top of my travel bucket list! Thank you so much for sharing your detailed descriptions and beautiful photos. Can’t wait to check it out!

    Reply
    • Briana Nickas

      Sedona is now officially one of my happy places. 🙂 I love that my post and photos inspired you to add it to your travel bucket list! You won’t be disappointed.

      Reply
  2. Annemarie_enjworld

    It might sound like a cliche but the pictures are amazingly beautiful! I’ve recently discovered a passion for hiking and I like you gave a lot of details regarding each place.

    Reply
    • Briana Nickas

      Thanks so much, Anne Marie! That’s awesome that you’ve recently gotten into hiking! Isn’t it the best? Hiking and photography are two passions of mine. I love being able to combine them both in a blog post. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Brenda

    You may want to add Hide Out Cave (Shamans Cave) to that list. We thought this was a great spot. Not a huge long hike but a bit of a challenge at the end.
    Amazing views and if you can get there when no one else is there, it’s even better.

    Reply
    • Briana Nickas

      Thanks so much for sharing the Hide Out Cave (Shamans Cave) hike, Brenda! I’ll definitely have to check it out next time I’m in Sedona. Appreciate the info!

      Reply

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