Sedona, the “Red Rocks Country,” is a hiker’s paradise. In addition to iconic rock formations, vortexes, and unique trails, you will find some of the Best Hikes in Sedona. Lying in Arizona, Sedona is as beautiful as its name sounds. Most noteworthy is that it’s a place to spill your outdoor adventure bug with fantastic opportunities to explore. Also, the massive red rocks jutting out from the ground provide a spectacular view and outdoor adventure sitings within the Best Hikes in Sedona.
In Sedona, you can hike, mountaineering, rock climb, and do many other things. And how about healing yourself spiritually and mentally? Let’s take a look at some of the Best Hikes in Sedona. Go and have the time of your life!
Red Rock Crossing
Red Rock Crossing is the visitors’ charm starting with the easiest. Furthermore, with two swimming holes, a lake, and a magnificent view of Cathedral Rock, consider Red Rock when you are in the mood for a short day hike with the family.
Level: Beginner (easy)
Distance: 2 miles
Duration: 2 hours
Location: Red Rock Crossing Rd (See directions)
One of the Best Hikes in Sedona, Red Rocks Crossing, is where you will get that iconic shot of the red rocks in the backdrop and a stream running in front. And honestly speaking, this is the easiest of all Sedona hikes. And it is also one with the least crowds. Also, the trek runs along the stream on a paved path with trees sidelining the walk. In addition, you will come across some grassy fields along the way where you can rest, have a picnic and enjoy the fantastic view of the S rocks. Also, getting to the swimming holes is fun, where you can dip and beat the heat.
Eventually, in the end, you will love the magnificent sight of Cathedral Rocks and the creek.
There is nothing devilish about the Devil’s Bridge hike trail in Sedona. It’s instead of the notorious roads and the highly rugged terrain that earned the infamous name. Devil’s Bridge, on the other hand, is one of the Best Hikes in Sedona.
Level: Beginner (Moderate)
Distance: 3.8 miles roundtrip
Location: Dry Creek Rd Sedona (See directions)
Devil’s Bridge sports a few arches near Sedona, Vultee Arch, and Fay Canyon Arch. The Devil’s Bridge arch (Yes, it’s an arch, not a bridge!) is the one people view the most of all and a signature spot to the whole hike.
There are two routes to take for this hike. One is to make the Dry Creek Road and hike for about 0.8 miles for the Devil’s Bridge. While the other is to start at Long Canyon Trailhead. However, both the trails are pretty similar, so you won’t miss out on anything while not being on the other!
The hike is quite comfortable at the start due to hiking along mostly the leveled roads. In the end, finally, the terrain is quite steep to get up to the arch.
Consequently, overall the hike is moderate, and you can treat it as a day hike. Also, you will come close to some jaw-dropping scenery and a fantastic view of the Sedona rocks.
A little gem situated in Sedona, Cookstove is probably one of the least known hike trails due to its difficulty level and one of the Best Hikes in Sedona.
However, this 1.4-mile trail presents a majestic view of the beautiful wildflowers and oak tree forests. The best month to visit is from April until November for all skill levels.
Distance: 1.4 miles round trip
Elevation change: 800 ft.
Duration: 1.5 hours (roundtrip)
Do not go on the short numbers of the period. The hike is quite a challenge with considerably steep elevations. It requires you to climb for about 0.7 miles and gradually gain 800ft of elevation.
And most noteworthy is that the trail will undoubtedly reward you with beautiful scenery and a chance to explore rare flora and fauna.
In addition to hiking, Cookstove is famous for birdwatching amidst the serene and peaceful Oak Creek Canyon trail. Also, if you are an advanced-level hiker, do not overlook this trail. This trail is one of the best hikes in Sedona.
Oak Creek Canyon – West Fork Trail
Not only has West Fork Trail earned its position as one of the best hikes in Sedona, but it also comes in some of the bests in the United States.
You will witness yourself surrounded by oak trees and streams all along the way. Nevertheless, it won’t come as a surprise if you happen to cross a stream using stepping stones and logs.
Distance: 6.4 miles round trip
Duration: Can be modified from a day hike to an overnight one
Location: West Fork Oak Creek Trail Parking Lot (See Directions)
You will notice the steep canyon walls and the thick wood cover making the heat much bearable throughout. The pleasant mix of hues will make it all the more remarkable and let you gasp at the amazing wonders. Colorful wildflowers, trees, and birds alongside the small river streams and the red rocks will make you want to come here again.
Take care of the stepping stones you will use while crossing the streams, as they can be pretty slippery. The trail ends with large canyon walls towering in on you and a pool of water. You can travel further 11 miles but will require advanced skills like boulder hopping, adding, and swimming in some areas.
It won’t take a genius mind to realize why Bell Rock’s name is Bell Rock. The shape looks like a giant red bell kept on the Earth, hence the name. Also, for obvious reasons, it is a photographer’s muse.
Distance: 3.5 miles round trip
Duration: 1.5 hours round trip
Elevation: 4000 ft.
Location: Courthouse Vista Parking Lot (See Directions)
The trail overall is relatively short, but the climb is steep at the end, with an elevation gain of 318 feet. In addition to hiking, Bell Rock is famous for rock climbing activities and witnessed many enthusiasts year-round.
Also, there are three trails from where the Bell Rock can be accessed- Bell Rock Pathway, Bell Rock Trail, and Courthouse Butte Loop. The Bell Rock pathway is the most noteworthy of the three, giving a spectacular view of the bell itself and its vast area.
If you can, climb to the top of the bell and enjoy your hike!
The list of best hikes in Sedona is probably incomplete without mentioning Cathedral Rock. The trail is relatively short, about 0.7 miles but offers spectacular and iconic views. Also, the first trail is relatively flat but then gains an elevation, putting the label of “difficult” on this trail.
Distance: 1.4 miles round trip
Location: Back O Beyond Road (See Directions)
The trail is quite famous among climbers because, in between, you will come across a near-vertical section that requires climbing.
Therefore, people not comfortable with climbing are advised not to choose this trail. In the end, you will come across a plateau with relatively steep terms.
Also, you can do a little more exploring, but that is the completion mark of the hike. Especially relevant is that you should take a walk at noon for shade in most areas.
To beat the Almost Canyon is your best hike for a tinge of calm and greenery. Also, you will be hiking in a dense shade of trees and massive mountain walls. Furthermore, Fay Canyon will have a breathtaking waterfall and loads of green cover.
Distance: 2.5 miles round trip
Location: Boynton Pass Road (See Directions)
This hiking trail is quite an easy one with an elevation hike of just 150ft, instantly making it an ideal day hike for a beginner. Finally, the trail ends with the Canyon dividing, from where you can do a short and quick climb to the top for a fantastic view.
In addition, look out for the iconic Bell Rock in the distance. Also, do not forget to take your camera along, as you will encounter some terrific sites for photography.
When hiking on Soldiers Pass, you will encounter a beautiful river and incredible vistas. The 4-mile loop trail is labeled a moderate-level hike and should be started early in the day.
Level: Easy to Moderate
Distance: 4 miles round trip
Location: Soldier’s Pass Trailhead (See Directions)
The Soldier’s Pass hike is quite comfortable at the start, where you must go downhill for the majority. You will come across some beautiful sites along the way, including the two iconic arches, the Soldier’s Arch.
Also, look out for the much famous Seven Sacred Pools, where you can stop and enjoy for some time. The major attraction is the Devil’s Kitchen, the most massive sinkhole in Sedona.
Take a look at Sedona’s Map, which will provide you with much information regarding the main trailheads, canyons, mountains, and roads. It will help you to plan your activities when in Sedona.
Click here for Map
Other Outdoor Activities
Sedona is a place where life happens outdoors! Furthermore, surrounded by 1.8 million acres of forest cover along with the beautiful red rocks jutting outwards and some soothing lakes, Sedona presents a magnificent blend of hues.
I walked you through the best hikes in Sedona, but other outdoor activities are ready to complete your holiday. Also, the land attracts fitness freaks, hikers, and photographers; Sedona presents fantastic opportunities to spend your day outside.
In addition to hiking, the best way to start a day fresh in Sedona is by getting a rental motorcycle or ATV and going on your adventure. There are many well-designed trails, especially for ATV-ing your way through the red rocks.
This trail will allow you to your vehicle for about 4 hours, covering a distance of approximately 14.2 miles. The path is relatively short but will allow you to experience the beautiful landscapes and the rugged terrain. The elevation change is from 3,764 ft. to 4,112 ft.
It will lead you to a historic stone cabin along with the spectacular Oak Creek.
Click here for Map
The Broken Arrow is one of the most popular trails for ATV-ng or jeep tours. The total time taken to cover can be modified from 4hrs to 8hrs depending on the path. Look at the fantastic red rock structures you pass and the rugged trail that makes driving thrilling.
Be sure to take a camera with you, as you will have some spectacular things to see during the 28.7-mile trail.
Click here for Map
Oak Creek Homestead
Like the House Mountain Trail, Oak Creek Homestead is a short trail of about 14.2 miles that takes about 4 hours to complete.
You will come across a rocky shelf road, Cliffhanger, beautiful stone cabin. The trail ends about 0.5 miles from the river, so you do not cross the Oak Creek boundary.
Remember to take your camera to capture the fantastic scenery.
Click Here for Map
Sedona is a land of outdoor fun! In addition to boasting about the best hikes in Sedona, biking is one activity that notices a proper amount of craze here.
There are more than 200 mountain biking trails, and let’s not start talking about the much sought Sedona Mountain Bike Festival! Furthermore, let’s take a look at some recommended courses.
Note: We cover the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival in a later section.
Sedona Bike Park
The Sedona Bike Park offers various opportunities to bike enthusiasts of all skill levels. You must adhere to the park rules and consider things. Take care of yourself and your fellow bikers while enjoying your day.
Click Here for Park Rules
Technical Ability: Intermediate, Advanced
The park has various trails and remains open till the evening. Enjoying the park itself can take up your whole day.
Click Here for Park Map
Most noteworthy is the fact that without mentioning the Hangover, no list can ever be complete. The Hangover trail is the most jaw-dropping trail that will kick-start your adrenaline like never before.
In addition to the rugged terrain, you will come across some thrilling drops and the steepest climbs. Therefore, it’s pretty obvious to say that do not travel on this trail alone!
Technical Ability: EXTREME
Click Here for Map
Bell Rock Pathway
First of all, beginners, do not be disheartened, as the Bell Rock Pathway can be unique for you. You can ride here for your leisure time, which is perfect for family outings.
Also, the trail is relatively smooth and will not have advanced-level difficulties. Probably this is the most comfortable bike trail Sedona could give you.
Technical Ability: Beginner
Click here for Map
What else can Sedona not give to its travelers? The United States has its best hikes in Sedona, biking trails, and rock climbing opportunities too!
Yes, the red rock mountains are pretty famous in the climbers’ communities. The climbing activities include bouldering, trad climbing, and mountaineering.
Desert and Rock Climbing are deadly, and Mars Attacks are precisely that. Not regarding difficulties but in the quality of climbing.
Type of Climbing: Trad, four pitches, Grade II
Difficulty Rating: 5.9
For more information, click here
Dr. Rubo’s Wild Ride
The climb at Dr. Rubo’s Wild Ride can be quite a fun-filled activity of your day. With impressive boulders and rocks, climbing to rank is not too tricky.
Difficulty Level: 5.9
Type of Climbing: Trad, four pitches, 300 ft, grade III
For more information, click here
North Face is Sedona’s favorite rock climb, famously known as the “Rabbit Ears.” Visit this site to complete your journey of adventures after exploring the best hikes in Sedona.
Difficulty Level: 5.10a
Type of Climbing: Trad, three pitches, 250 ft
For more information, click here
Sedona has some great opportunities to offer water-sport enthusiasts. Go on some of the best hikes in Sedona while beating the heat, kayaking through the relaxing rivers surrounded by the lovely landscape.
Also, raft through the Verde and Colorado rivers to explore Arizona.
Take a look at the two rivers famous for kayaking and river rafting.
The Verde River
Duration: 2 to 3 hours
Difficulty level: Easy
The Verde river offers a spectacular view of Sedona, immersed in colorful hues and full of life. Also, you will get a chance to glimpse some of the rarest animal species, like the blue heron, black hawks, bears, golden eagles, coyotes, and mule deer.
Depending on the weather and water current, visitors can enjoy soft paddling or kayaking in the river. River rafting is a more rigorous activity and might be weather dependent.
Also, you can go on a guided tour or, if confident enough, independently raft or kayak in the Verde River.
The Colorado River
Duration: Full day
Difficulty level: Moderate
Colorado River flows through much of Southwest Arizona, of which Lake Powell is a part. The river flows right next to the Grand Canyon, so brace yourself for spectacular views throughout the journey.
What’s impressive is that you can get a helicopter ride from Grand Canyon to have a breathtaking view from the top.
Like the Verde River, the Colorado River also presents excellent opportunities to raft and kayak.
It might be a little surprise to know that Sedona is not all about adrenaline pumping and heart racing. In addition to finding the best hikes in Sedona, some mountaineering and kayaking opportunities too, it’s popular vortex sites.
First, not many people know what a vortex is and usually overlook this aspect of Sedona. But delving into the concept just a little deeper might interest you.
Note: Vortex sites are more of a general phenomenon rather than a scientific fact. Some believers claim its existence, while some don’t. Sedona is a popular vortex site, and you will also stumble upon various vortex tours. In the end, it’s all about your personal choice and faith.
What is a vortex?
A vortex is a site of solid transformational energy known to heal one spiritually and mentally. Scientifically speaking, these dominant energy centers are intersections of Earth’s electromagnetic radiations(ley lines) known to dissipate some energy.
The vortex sites are quite favorite amongst those on the path of a spiritual journey to get inspired, release stress, get peace of mind, and get healed mentally.
Sedona’s Vortex Sites
The best-known vortex sites of Sedona known to the world are:
- Airport Mesa
- Bell Rock
- Cathedral Rock
- Boynton Canyon
One thing especially relevant is that it’s not just these four sites in Sedona known for vortexing. Most of all, the whole of Sedona is a giant vortex, but the energy center is the most powerful of the particular four sections.
While on these best hikes in Sedona, you will notice people performing yoga or meditating. That’s seeming because they are there for their spiritual tour and feel connected. It’s of utmost importance to respect fellow hikers in all aspects.
Outdoor Festivals in Sedona
Since we have talked about vortexing, biking, rafting, and some of the best hikes in Sedona, it’s time to shift on to the two most widespread outdoor festivals you can witness in Sedona.
In addition to these two, events are happening in Sedona all year round. Please take a look at them here.
Sedona Mountain Bike Festival
The Sedona Mountain Bike Festival happens every year in March first week. This 3-day mountain bike festival is all needed for your Sedona holiday.
The events include Main Expo/Festival, Bike Demos, Shuttled Rides, a Beer Garden, and Bands for all three nights, in addition to the fact that you can bike all day long.
Many companies get their demo bikes for promotion in this mountain bike festival by giving them for use to the participants. Mostly you will be allowed to use the bike for about an hour or two, depending on the vendor.
Bikers also have the option to rent a bike for the whole day from some local shops in Sedona, like Over The Edge Sports and Absolute Bikes.
The list of exhibitors is long but to mention some:
For the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, you can camp at Chavez Crossing Group Campground, about 5 miles from the event. The ground can hold up to 80 campers; you must book your tent spot before the game.
The way from the campground to the tent holds terrific lanes for you to bike your way to the event. The camp will even include breakfast for the campers on particular days.
For more information and booking, click here.
Other Camp Sites
If you do not wish to camp at the Chavez Crossing Group Campground, there are other sites to camp at as well. In addition to being one of the best hikes in Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon offers extraordinary camping opportunities for the event. Camping here is relatively cheap, ranging from $15-$18 only.
In addition to Oak Creek Canyon, other campsites include Manzanita Campground, Pine Flat Campground, and Bootlegger Campground.
All four provide great camping sites for you to stay in. The camping style is primitive. Likewise, there will not be any amenities of washrooms or food. In addition to this, campfires are a big no-no.
For something different than this, you can choose to camp at Cave Springs Campground, which will provide you with the option of cooking and campfires.
You must sign up for all the camping sites before the main event.
If you do not find a spot in any campgrounds or do not wish to stay in tents, you can book some private cottages for yourself. Moreover, enjoy living in the luxury of Sedona while staying connected to the red rock vibe.
Check out some lodging facilities here.
Note: Some of the most popular trails are in the biking section of other outdoor activities.
In addition to the best hikes in Sedona, it is pretty famous for biking too.
Most of all, Sedona boasts over 200 trails for biking for all levels. Also, most noteworthy is that since 2018 trail maps have gone digital and can be accessed through mobile phones.
Some of the most famous trail paths are:
- Hangover Trail
- The “Hogs” Area
- Mescal – Aerie – Cockscomb
- Broken Arrow
A lot of shuttle services are available for specific trails. Do your research and pre-book the shuttle.
For more information regarding the timings and bookings, click here.
Beer Garden, Bands, and Food
The bike festival has everything needed for entertainment as well. The Sedona Mountain Bike Festival has everything from fantastic beer gardens to great bands to keep you engaged.
Also, some lip-smacking food from the great food trucks to serve you. The festivals are a huge success.
RunSedona in Best Hikes in Sedona
The RunSedona festival will take place on Saturday, February 2, 2019. The festival’s main events are 5k, 10k, and half marathon lengths distance running. Following this will be a Race Expo, Pasta Dinner, and Awards Celebration.
10k and 5k
The run covers beautiful landscapes and a Sedona vibe. The 10k and 5k run is perfect for a whole family or a group of friends to run together and have fun. It took place at Dry Creek Road on February 5, 2019. The time limit for both activities is 5.5 hours, and aid stations are located every 2 miles to supply water, food, and first aid.
But, first of all, you will have to register through an online portal to participate in the run.
Half Marathon in Best Hikes in Sedona
Firstly, Half Marathon is one of the most beautiful runs you can experience in Sedona. Moreover, you will run through various terrains with the most spectacular views. Furthermore, you will pass through some of the best hikes in Sedona, running along the paved Dry Creek Road.
Like the 5k and 10k runs, the time limit here is also 5.5 hours, and aid stations are set up every two miles. Likewise, RunSedona’s half marathon is an experience on its own.
Exhibitors will come to RunSedona to promote their products with the event participants. The expo took place at Posse Grounds Park in 2018. Therefore, everything will be available at the exhibition, from simple products to performance gear like clothes and footwear.
As a result, if you are passionate about running, RunSedona is the festival you need to look forward to.
Moreover, Sedona is the place for your holiday. You get to see the best hikes in Sedona, the biking festival, the running festival, outdoor adventure activities, and whatnot. Go to Sedona and probably live the life of your dreams.