Sedona, Arizona, is known for its fantastic hiking trails, jaw-dropping views, and spectacular caves. There’s only one problem—it’s too difficult to narrow down which of the best hikes in Sedona to embark on during your vacation!

Well, hopefully, that’s where this hiking guide can help! These hikes are some of the most famous in Sedona and include a variety of easy, moderate, and challenging hikes to accommodate all skill levels.

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Best Hikes in Sedona, Arizona

This list of the best hikes in Sedona, Arizona, includes important general information, like the trail length, difficulty, total elevation gain, type of trail, and much more.

You can also learn what to expect on the trails, where to park, points of interest you can see while hiking and great spots to take photos.

1. Soldier Pass

  • Trail Name: Soldier Pass
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back
  • Total Miles: 4.5 miles roundtrip
  • Total Elevation Gain: 839 ft.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Permit Required: No
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

Soldier Pass Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Sedona, and for a good reason! You’ll find many popular points of interest in Sedona along the trail, such as Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole, Seven Sacred Pools, and the Soldier Pass Cave.

Parking at Soldier Pass Trailhead can be a bit of a challenge. If you’re hiking on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, arrive at the trailhead early (between 7:30 AM – 7:45 AM) to snag a parking spot in the small 14-car parking lot. If you’re hiking on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you’ll need to take the Sedona Shuttle from Posse Grounds Park. It departs every 45 minutes from 8 AM until 5 PM.

Since it’s off the beaten path, finding the Soldier Pass Cave can be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. Once you’ve been hiking for about 1.5 miles, you’ll need to take a right at a fork in the road onto a spur path that leads to the cave. If you’re unsure if you’re in the right place, ask some other hikers, and they’ll be happy to point you in the right direction! Soldier Pass Trail is one of the best hikes in Sedona, so you’ll likely never be alone on your hike.

Tip: You can discover the exact coordinates and directions for finding Soldier Pass Cave in this detailed blog post about the hike!

Best Hikes in Sedona - Soldier Pass - Travel by Brit

2. Bear Mountain

  • Trail Name: Bear Mountain
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back
  • Total Miles: 4.9 miles roundtrip
  • Total Elevation Gain: 2,024 ft.
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Permit Required: Yes
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

Sedona, Arizona, is known to have some of the most epic yet easy hikes. But if you are up for the challenge, Bear Mountain is known to be a more challenging hike with epic views, making it one of the best hikes in Sedona!

Bear Mountain is around 4.9 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 2,024. It is a thigh burner and rated as difficult. The trailhead is located Northwest of Sedona, and there is a small parking lot you have to share with people hiking on Doe Mountain, so get there early or later. 

Because it is difficult and lengthy compared to other hikes in the area, bring plenty of food and water, especially if you hike it in the summer. Good hiking boots with ankle supports are also essential because this trail has rocks, and the elevation gain is pretty intense. If you are going in the early spring or winter, bring microspikes because the trail can get pretty icy and dangerous. It is best to allocate a whole day for this trail since it requires a lot of energy to complete. The views are outstanding throughout the hike, so make sure you always have a camera on you, but the summit is, of course, the best view!

Contributed by Michelle of The Wandering Queen

Best Hikes in Sedona - Bear Mountain

3. Devil’s Bridge

  • Trail Name: Devil’s Bridge
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back
  • Total Miles: 2 miles with 4×4 | 4.2 miles without 4×4
  • Total Elevation Gain: 400-500 ft.
  • Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
  • Permit Required: No
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

Devil’s Bridge consistently tops the list as not only one of the best hikes in Sedona but all of Northern Arizona. The hike traverses past panoramic views of gorgeous red rock mountains before being awarded a chance to take your photo on top of an iconic natural archway. It is one of the most Instagrammable spots in Sedona!

There are two main starting locations: Dry Creek Road Trailhead and Mescal Trailhead. If you have a 4×4, you may drive an additional 1.3 miles down Dry Creek Road for a shorter hike. 

Both routes begin through sections of brush and small hills, with grand views of the Sedona mountain range. This park of the trail is well-marked and very wide. On Dry Creek Road, signs direct hikers to branch onto Devil’s Bridge trail for a final scramble up steep, rocky steps. Catch your breath at the viewing platform overlooking the picturesque archway. 

Important Tip: Due to the hike’s popularity, arrive early! Parking fills up by 7 AM, especially if you come on a weekend or holiday. Second, the later you arrive, the longer the line is to snap your picture on Devil’s Bridge. Waits to take photos at the busiest times can be up to one hour. If you want to hike Devil’s Bridge at a time that is less busy, visit during winter in Sedona!

Contributed by Catherine of Nomadicated

Best Hikes in Sedona - Devil's Bridge

4. Cathedral Rock

  • Trail Name: Cathedral Rock
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back
  • Total Miles: 1.2 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: 744 ft.
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Permit Required: No
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

Cathedral Rock is one of the best hikes in Sedona because it offers incredible views of the gorgeous red rocks! Although this hike is extremely challenging, it’s definitely worth the views you’ll be able to enjoy when you reach the top.

When preparing to hike Cathedral Rock, you should be prepared for a bit of a rock scramble. You’ll need to use your hands as you climb to reach the top, and you’ll need to slide on all fours on the way down. I’d recommend wearing long pants or biker shorts to avoid scratching your legs.

I’d also recommend starting this hike as early as possible. Since the views at the top are such a popular vantage point for photos, you may have to wait longer for photos the later the day you wait to hike. Additionally, a few parts of the trail going down create a bottleneck, so you may have to wait longer to even get back down the mountain.

Overall, Cathedral Rock shouldn’t be missed during your visit to Sedona! It’s short, steep, and challenging, but the views are incredible, and you’ll have plenty of time during the rest of your day to check off a few more of these best hikes in Sedona from your list.

Best Hikes in Sedona - Cathedral Rock - Travel by Brit

5. Fay Canyon

  • Trail Name: Fay Canyon
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back
  • Total Miles: 2.3 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: 200 ft.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Permit Required: No
  • Dog Friendly: Yes 

Fay Canyon is easily one of the best hikes in Sedona, and it’s great for kids too. Located in the Coconino National Forest on Boynton Pass Road, this hike is a great option for anyone looking for an easy hiking trail to experience while in Sedona.

This trail is well-maintained and is only 2.3 miles out and back. It is also dog-friendly and has minimal elevation gain. This makes it the perfect trail for children of all ages and puppies!  

Despite its short distance, Fay Canyon has a lot to offer its hikers. This short trail takes you closer to the rock cliffs as you hike towards the edge of the canyon area. While Fay Canyon is not the type of canyon that you usually picture when you hear the word “canyon,” this hike is surrounded by towering rock faces in three directions. 

If you are looking for a great little hike while in Sedona, then Fay Canyon needs to be added to your list!

Contributed by Shannon of Adventuring With Shannon

Best Hikes in Sedona - Fay Canyon

6. Boynton Canyon

  • Trail Name: Boynton Canyon
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back
  • Total Miles: 8 miles roundtrip
  • Total Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft.
  • Difficulty: Moderate / Hard
  • Permit Required: Yes
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

Boynton Canyon is one of the most varied, exciting, and best hikes in Sedona, but not everyone knows about each of the four potential stops along the route. Most hikers on the Boynton Canyon Trail are only interested in visiting the impressive Subway Cave, which would reduce the distance to just 5 miles roundtrip with only 600 ft elevation gain. But there’s more than meets the eye in Boynton Canyon.

One of Sedona’s major energy vortex sites isn’t far from the trailhead, an inconspicuous left spur trail leads up a steep bank to almost unknown Kachina Tree Cave, two miles into Boynton Canyon Trail a right spur path forks at a thick-set tree leading up to the ultra photogenic Subway Cave and the end of trail sign with sweeping valley views marks the climax of hiking Boynton Canyon.

The key is to arrive as early as possible at the Boynton Canyon parking lot. This means you will snag a coveted parking spot, but it also means you can get inside Subway Cave before the crowds and during the best light in the early morning. Take the steep bank to the left and walk around the curving half tunnel to access Subway Cave, rather than going directly up the narrow sandstone passage. You’ll need shoes with good grip and traction.

Contributed by Mark and Kristen of Where Are Those Morgans

Best Hikes in Sedona - Boynton Canyon & Subway Cave

7. Birthing Cave

  • Trail Name: Birthing Cave
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back
  • Total Miles: 2.0 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: 291 ft.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Permit Required: No
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

Birthing Cave is one of the best hikes in Sedona, Arizona! You start the hike to Birthing Cave on the Long Canyon Trailhead. There are a handful of parking spots here and a few spots alongside Long Canyon Road a bit further north, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a spot if you arrive early.

The trail begins on the Long Canyon Trail, surrounded by desert flora and distant views of Sedona’s famed red rocks, until you reach a fork 0.6 miles in. Here, you’ll hang a left and continue until you reach yet another fork in about a quarter of a mile, with a wooden fence on the right-hand side. Again, you’ll pick the left fork, where the trail will start gaining more elevation. Eventually, you’ll notice a heart-shaped indentation on the cliffside. Make one last final (and steep!) push up a rocky hill to enter the Birthing Cave!

In the cave, you can scramble up the walls to get panoramic views of the surrounding ponderosa pine forests and the beautiful red mesas of Sedona. If you want the best photos, try to see if you can climb to the slight “belly button” indentation in the middle of the back wall- it’s the perfect perch to snag some incredible pictures of the cave and the gorgeous vistas beyond.

Contributed by Jessica of Uprooted Traveler

8. Airport Mesa

  • Trail Name: Airport Mesa
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Total Miles: 3.2 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: 416 ft.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Permit Required: No
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

Airport Mesa is an amazing trail with some of the best views in Sedona. You can park at either the Sedona Airport Mesa or the Sedona Airport Overlook. The Mesa parking lot is free but also has far fewer parking spots. If this parking is full, drive up to the Airport Overlook, where you can park for only $3.

This loop circles all of Table Top Mountain and has views almost the entire way. You will be able to see some of the iconic Sedona landmarks, including Cathedral Rock, East and West Twin Butte, and Bell Rock.

The Airport Mesa is a must-see on this hike, and with a short side trail, you can climb to the top of the Sedona vortex. Airport Mesa is a great spot to watch both sunrise and sunset in Sedona, with views to the East and West. This trail does have some steep drop-offs, so watch your step and be careful of the cacti that line the path.  

Contributed by Val from Voyages with Val

Best Hikes in Sedona - Airport Mesa

9. West Fork Trail

  • Trail Name: West Fork Trail
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back
  • Total Miles: 7.2 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: 839 ft.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Permit Required: No
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

If you’re willing to drive a bit further north, West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon offers varied scenery, making it one of the most unique and best hikes in Sedona.

West Fork Trail is an easy hike surrounded by beautiful trees, lush landscaping, canyon walls, and refreshing water. You will cross Oak Creek multiple times during the hike, so be sure to wear shoes you’re comfortable with getting wet. West Fork Trail is a great hike if you’d like something longer that isn’t strenuous. Plus, you can always turn around along the trail if you need, which is convenient.

Note: Parking at West Fork Trail is $11, so be prepared to pay when you arrive. There’s plenty of parking in this lot, but it does fill up quickly, so try to arrive as soon as the trail opens to secure a spot.

10. Courthouse Butte

  • Trail Name: Courthouse Butte
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Total Miles: 4 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: 400 ft.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Permit Required: Yes
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

The Courthouse Butte Trail is one of the best hikes in Sedona and will take you by some of the most iconic rock formations in Sedona, like Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. Courthouse Butte is a family-friendly trail and is a great hike to take dogs on.

The Courthouse Butte is a very popular hiking area. Parking can be tricky and may take some patience, especially if you are visiting during the peak seasons. The closest parking lot is the Bell Rock North Trailhead at Courthouse Vista. If that parking lot is full, you can park at the Bell Rock South Trailhead or the Yavapai Vista Parking Area.

This hike takes three to four hours, depending on whether you choose to climb Bell Rock after your hike around the Courthouse Butte trail. There is no shade on the trail, so it is good to be prepared with lots of water and sun protection.

The hike is easy with little elevation gain unless you climb up Bell Rock. It is a flat and wide trail that is fun to explore. You can see the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the distance, as well as beautiful red rock formations. 

Contributed by Candice of CS Ginger

Best Places to Stay in Sedona for Easy Access to the Best Hikes in Sedona

Stay in one of these top-rated hotels for quick access to the best hikes in Sedona:

  • Sky Ranch Lodge—Enjoy an outdoor swimming pool, spa, wellness center, and more at this hotel with beautiful views of the red rocks.
  • Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock—After a day of hiking, relax in luxury at this stylish resort with a full-sized golf course, a full-service spa, a tennis court, several sparkling swimming pools, and red rock views.
  • Arabella Hotel Sedona—This quaint hotel offers a seasonal outdoor pool, a year-round jacuzzi tub, and comfortable rooms.

Hiking Supplies to Bring to Sedona

Please don’t forget to bring these hiking essentials to stay cool, safe, and dry while exploring these scenic hikes in Sedona:

Begin Your Arizona Adventure with These Best Hikes in Sedona

Which of these best hikes in Sedona would be the first one you’d want to explore during your adventurous trip to Arizona? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Brit! I'm a writer from Phoenix, AZ who loves coffee, golden retriever puppies, and obviously, travel! I help ordinary women (like me!) dream, plan, and do extraordinary travel experiences.