15 of the Best Hikes in Sedona You Don't Want to Miss

March 9, 2020

Renowned for its gorgeous vistas, unique red rock formations, and spiritual vibes, Sedona presents the perfect vacation for visitors seeking adventure and peaceful solitude in the wilderness.

Whether you're looking for easy, moderate, or harder hikes, Sedona showcases some of the top hiking trails in the country. Read below to see some of the best trails to hit during your trip.

1. Cathedral Rock Trail

One of the best hikes in Sedona, this popular trail provides excellent views of Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, vibrant Mogollon Rim, and awe-inspiring vistas of Sedona's vast landscape. You can also visit one of the city's famous energy vortexes while you're in the area.

Ascending up the east side of Cathedral Rock, across a fairly flat area before scaling up the rocks and crossing the Templeton Trail. Some of its sections are quite steep and may require both hands and feet for balance. The saddle between two massive towers is the highest point on the trail, and it's your choice to test yourself by following a narrow ledge along the right side to a precarious lookout point. However, most people don't attempt this portion of the hike and turn around.

Overall, the trail is about one mile round-trip with a total elevation gain of 550 feet. The trailhead is located between Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek, halfway down Back O' Beyond Road, off Highway 179.

2. Lime Kiln Trail

Completed in 2006, the Lime Kiln Trail links Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood with Red Rock State Park in Sedona. This 15-mile shared-use, pedestrian and equestrian trail enables visitors to see an interesting piece of Arizona history, as remnants of a 19th century kiln remain besides the trail.

The Lime Kiln trail follows a section of the historic Lime Kiln Wagon Road. Originally, the road provided access to a kiln that was built in the 1800s. The kiln burned limestone to crate lime, which was used as an ingredient of the mortar needed to construct fireplaces and chimneys. After the kiln was constructed, the road was extended and utilized as a route between Sedona and Jerome.

Best Hikes in Sedona

Coconino National Forest / Flickr

3. The Eagle's Nest Trail

This 2.4 mile loop trail outside of Sedona offers beautiful views of wildflowers, red rocks, and local foliage (especially in the fall). Moderately trafficked and well within civilization, you won't feel deep in the wilderness; however, the views are still exquisite. Overall, the trail gains an elevation of 331 feet.

4. Doe Mountain Trail

One of the best hikes in Sedona, Doe Mountain Trail takes visitors on a 1.2-mile trail to the flat top of Doe Mountain. Doe Mountain Trail offers a steady and gradual trek to the top of the mountain with a total elevation gain of nearly 425 feet. Guests can find incredible vistas of Mescal Mountain, Courthouse Butte, Fay Canyon, and Bear Mountain, although views extend out in all directions. Moreover, head to the southwestern end of the mesa for the best views.

The trailhead is located off of Boynton Pass Road, with adequate parking available.

5. Sedona Airport Loop Trail & Table Top Trail 

The Airport Loop Trail within Coconino National Forest circles the upper slope of Airport Mesa (or Table Top Mountain). Note that there is no shade until you reach the last mile, where it is intermittent depending on the season and time of day, so pack wisely. Once you park, you'll climb to the southeast about 100 yards to the top of the small saddle. You'll then turn tight to pick up the trail, which bends to the left to follow the southeast slide of the mesa. Mostly level for the first mile, the train then ascends at 1.4 miles before leveling out once more. Moreover, the trail intersects the Table Top Trail at 1.7 miles.

The Table Top Trail is a half-mile, one-way spur which ascends gradually to the southeast, ending at a point that provides beautiful panoramic views. You can then return by the same route to the main trail and continue north. Soon, the trail begins descending and turns to the northeast, intersecting the top of the Bandit Trail at the 2 mile mark. The trail will descend further and level out after a switchback, and the final stretch is a gradual climb eastward. From here, you can see picturesque views of West Sedona, Capitol Butte, and Wilson Mountain. The trail then ends at Airport Road across from the starting point at the parking turnout.

6. Courthouse Butte Loop

Take this gorgeous trail for peaceful solitude and incredible views of Courthouse Butte, the Mogollon Rim, Bell Rock, and beyond. This moderate 3.9-mile loop is best done in a clockwise direction. The trail has an overall elevation gain of nearly 350 feet and is mostly level.

For parking, head to the Courthouse Vista lot or the Bell Rock Vista lot near the Village of Oak Creek.

Denny Armstrong / Flickr

7. Devil’s Bridge Trail

The most frequented hike in the city, Devil's Bridge Trail is also one of the best hikes in Sedona. This easier 4.2-mile trail leads to a gorgeous natural sandstone arch. Walk below it and then take the stairs to the top of it for scenic views. However, note that there is no shade on this hike until you reach the far end, and that this trail is frequently populated with hikers, jeeps, ATVs, and mountain bikes.

Also, parking may be hard to find, so you may have to park on Dry Creek Road and then walk to the trailhead.

8. Bell Rock Pathway

The sloping walls of Bell Rock Pathway are hard to miss off of Highway 179, near the Village of Oak Creek. Visitors can hike, bike, and sightsee along this accessible trail. Suitable for most hikers and bikers of all ages and abilities, the trail is wide and mostly level as it curves the skirt of Bell Rock until you start descending towards the Village of Oak Creek.

Although the main trail runs from Bell Rock Vista's parking area to the Courthouse Vista parking lot, this section is 3.6 miles one-way, so it's recommended to park at the Courthouse Vista parking lot and do the first 1.5 miles before returning the same way. Furthermore, the trail doesn't circle the base of the Rock. If you'd like to climb it, you can take a side trail that leads you to the lower section of the structure.

9. Soldier Pass

One of the most unique hikes in the area, this 4.1-mile loop trail contains the vast Devil's Kitchen Sinkhole and the Seven Sacred Pools, a significant religious site for the local Indigenous population. However, the pools may not hold much water depending on the season. Further, the total elevation gain is a little over 600 feet.

Generally less populated, you can find the trailhead off Solders Pass Road on Shadow Rock Drive in West Sedona.  The trailhead features a small parking lot with spots for about eight to ten cars, and street parking is prohibited within half a mile of the trailhead.

10. Hangover Trail

One of the best hikes in Sedona, Hangover Trail Out-and-Back offers 5.8 miles of moderate hiking. Providing views of lovely vistas and windflowers, you can access the trail year-round. Overall, this out-and-back version of the Hangover Trail Loop gains 921 feet in elevation. Even better, you can bring your dogs, but just make sure to keep them leashed. Note that the path becomes more technical around 0.9 miles from the turn back point.

Best Hikes in Sedona

Cococino National Forest / Flickr

11. Broken Arrow Trail

Considered one of the best hikes in Sedona, this popular trail enables visitors to get outside without too much strain.  The trail offers beautiful views of red rock scenery, a section of the Devil's Dining Room Sinkhole, Battlement Mesa, and Submarine Rock. Unshaded throughout the year, you'll want to come prepared for hot, sunny weather.

12. Boynton Canyon Trail

This 6.1-mile out-and-back hike takes visitors through several types of forest landscape, transporting one into an otherworldly land of beauty. Hikers can see gorgeous views of the canyon the entire length of the trail. Near its starting point, hikers can visit one of Sedona's energy famed vortexes. In order to find it, take the Boynton Vista trail. It's about a half-mile walk to the vortex, located at the base of a rock spire. From this area, you can see Deadman's Pass, Mescal Mountain, and Courthouse Butte.

Moreover, the first section of the trail is open to the sun and parallels the Enchantment Resort, which is the perfect place for a cold drink and meal once you've completed the trail. Beyond this area, the trail is enclosed by various species of trees, including large pines that provide significant shade. The final length of the trail takes guests up a rise at the end of the canyon.

Hikers can note that most of the ground is level, although the trail features some elevation gain.

13. West Fork Trail

Situated in Oak Creek Canyon, West Fork Trail is an optimal choice for hikers searching for reprieve from the desert sun. The trail runs along and crosses West Fork Creek numerous times and provides abundant shade and tree cover. You can also see beautiful, unique rock formations that have been sculpted by the flowing creek waters. 6.9 miles long, the trail features 400 feet of elevation, although the trail's in-and-out path enables visitors to dip out whenever desired.

We recommend arriving early since the parking lot fills quickly.

14. Mescal Trail

A fantastic hiking and mountain biking trail, Mescal offers beautiful vistas as you skirt around Mescal Mountain. See landmarks such as Cathedral Rock and Courthouse Butte, with perhaps small desert flowers such as ocotillo in bloom, depending on the season. Furthermore, the 2.4-mile out-and-back trail gains a little over 200 feet of elevation. Just make sure to watch out for mountain bikers.

Coconino National Forest / Flickr

15. Bear Mountain Trail

More experienced hikers can test themselves on the Bear Mountain Trail. This 4.3-mile hiking features an elevation gain of 1,975 feet, offering plenty of exercise to those who dare try it. However, the hiker's reward is 360-degree views from the top of landmarks such as Doe Mountain, Jerome's ghost town, the San Francisco Peaks, Courthouse Butte, and the Mogollon Rim.

Experience the Best Hikes in Sedona

One of the top free things to do in Sedona, what are you waiting for? Book your vacation through Tripster Sedona and save on hotels and attractions in between conquering trails.

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Written By Talena


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