Sedona is known for its stunning red rock formations, making it a paradise for hikers. With so many trails to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to tackle. Here are the top 10 best hikes in Sedona that offer a variety of difficulty levels and breathtaking views.
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When to Visit Sedona
The best time to visit Sedona for hiking is typically between September and November, as well as from March to May. These are the shoulder seasons when the weather is milder and there are fewer tourists. The summer months can be quite hot and dry, and the winter can be chilly, making for less pleasant hiking conditions.
The landscape of Sedona rarely offers a lot of shade, so sunny days can get very hot very quick.
Where to Stay in Sedona
Sedona is popularly done as a day trip, but depending upon how much you have planned it is also a beautiful place to spend a few nights. Sedona offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets.
10 of the Best Hikes to do in Sedona
The trail is 3.7 miles round trip and is considered a moderate hike with some steep inclines and rocky terrain. The trailhead is located at the Cathedral Rock Trailhead and offers a challenging and rewarding experience, with stunning views of Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.
The trail starts off easy, but as you ascend the trail, the incline becomes steeper and the terrain rockier, it’s a steep climb to the summit but the views from the top are well worth it. Once at the top, hikers can enjoy panoramic views of Sedona’s red rock formations, including Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.
This moderate 4-mile round trip hike takes you through beautiful oak and juniper forests and culminates in a visit to a natural sandstone arch that stands at a staggering height of over 50 feet.
The arch is a popular spot for photos, and the views from the top are worth the hike. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes, as the trail can be rocky in spots.
P.S – The arch looks a little sketchy from the side when you hike up to it, but once you are walking onto it for a picture or to see the view it is not nearly as bad.
West Fork Trail
The sand dunes are the most commonly visited part of Great Sand Dunes National Park, however there are many other areas to explore. If you are looking for a hike away from the dunes, Mosca Pass Trail is worth checking out.
This 7 mile hike follows a small stream to the summit of a narrow pass. Overall the views of the dunes aren’t the best, but the aspen and evergreen forest is very scenic. This trail will also help you avoid the crowds, as it is not commonly traveled.
Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail
This moderate to difficult 7.5-mile round trip hike takes you along Oak Creek and through a stunning canyon filled with sycamore and cottonwood trees. The trail is considered moderate to difficult due to the rocky and uneven terrain and the fact that you have to cross the creek several times.
Be sure to bring water shoes or sandals to make the crossings easier. The trail can get crowded, so it’s best to go early in the morning to beat the crowds.
Boynton Canyon Trail
The trail is 6.2 miles round trip and is considered a moderate hike, with some steep sections and rocky terrain. The trailhead is located at the Boynton Canyon Trailhead and the hike takes you through a beautiful red rock canyon, with spectacular views of the surrounding red rocks.
Boynton Canyon is a sacred site for the Yavapai tribe, and the trail is also considered to have spiritual significance. Along the trail, you will see ancient ruins, and a vortex, which is a place believed to have a strong spiritual energy and is said to be a place of healing and meditation.
Soldier Pass Trail
The trail is 4.6 miles round trip and is considered a moderate to difficult hike, due to the steep inclines and rocky terrain.
The trailhead is located at the Soldier’s Pass Trailhead and the hike takes you through a wide variety of landscapes, including red rock formations, a lush riparian area, and a series of ancient Sinagua Indian ruins, including the Seven Sacred Pools.
The trail also features a natural tunnel, called “The Fat Man’s Misery”, which is a narrow passageway that hikers have to navigate through, it is also known for its tight spaces, making it a challenging hike for those who are claustrophobic.
Bell Rock Pathway
This easy to moderate 4-mile round trip hike takes you around the base of the iconic Bell Rock, offering views of the surrounding red rock formations.
While many people don’t necessarily hike the 4 mile loop around the base, it is worth a stop to visit while coming in or out of Sedona.
Broken Arrow Trail
The trail is 2.5 miles round trip and is considered a moderate hike with some steep inclines and rocky terrain. The trailhead is located at the Broken Arrow Trailhead, and it offers a challenging and rewarding experience, with great views of Sedona’s red rocks and the surrounding landscape.
The trail starts off easy, but as you ascend the trail, the incline becomes steeper, and the terrain rockier. The trail is well-maintained and offers a variety of landscapes, including red rock formations, a lush riparian area, and a series of ancient Sinagua Indian ruins. Along the way, you will also see a variety of wildlife, including lizards, hawks, and deer.
Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness Loop
The trail is approximately 12.5 miles and is considered a strenuous hike with steep inclines, rocky terrain, and a significant elevation gain. The trailhead is located at the Secret Mountain Trailhead.
The trail offers a unique and challenging experience, taking you through a variety of landscapes, including red rock formations, a lush riparian area, and a series of ancient Sinagua Indian ruins.
Brins Mesa Trail
This moderate 4-mile round trip hike offers panoramic views of the Sedona landscape. The trailhead is located at the Brins Mesa Trailhead and while it may be a little challenging due to elevation at the end you are awarded with great views of Sedona.
Fay Canyon Trail
This easy to moderate 2.5-mile round trip hike takes you through a beautiful canyon with towering red rock walls. The highlight of this hike is the natural arch that can be found at the end of the trail, the arch is a beautiful feature that is well worth the hike.
Sedona offers a wealth of hiking opportunities, and these are just a few of the many great trails available. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, Sedona’s trails offer something for everyone. So, pack your backpack, lace up your hiking boots and go out to explore Sedona’s beautiful nature.