The author, Ashleigh Bandimere during her hike in Yavapai Vista Trail, one of the best hikes in Sedona

19 Best Hikes in Sedona in 2023

Frankly, there are some awesome hikes in Sedona. Sedona’s hiking trails are extremely varied, yet each one offers unique sights like towering buttes, sweeping views, and incredible desert scenery.

Due to its location in the heart of red rock country in Arizona, hiking is one of the best things to do in Sedona for outdoorsy types. I know Sedona’s hiking scene like the back of my hand, and in this article, I’ll share the very best hikes in Sedona with you.

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Best Hikes in Sedona, Arizona

Boynton Canyon Trail to Subway Cave

Take this stunning trail to reach the increasingly iconic Subway Cave viewpoint. 

View of a man at the Subway Cave in Sedona, Arizona
With a unique view like this, there’s no doubt why Subway Cave has turned into a Sedona icon.

🥾Moderate | 5.5 miles | Google Maps | Park Website | 17-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Day Pass

Boynton Canyon Trail is a 7.2-mile out-and-back moderate trail that guides you to Sedona’s iconic tubular Subway Cave, one of the area’s most popular natural attractions. The trail is moderately difficult with 1,100 feet of ascension and has views of towering buttes. 

To reach Subway Cave, you don’t need to do the entire 7.2 miles of Boynton Canyon Trail. At around the 2-mile mark, you’ll encounter a smaller trail forking to the left of the main path. Take this, and then find the next trail to the right. After 0.4 miles you’ll reach the cave.

Just keep in mind that Boynton Canyon Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Sedona and many people hike it with the sole purpose of seeing Subway Cave. The parking lot fills up early during the high season, so set your alarm for early in the morning!

Long Canyon Trail to Birthing Cave

A short, yet moderate, Sedona hike that culminates in uniquely shaped rock formations called the Birthing Cave.

View of the clear blue sky from the Birthing Cave
Now appreciated for its beauty, the Birthing Cave was once where women of the Sinagua tribe would come to give birth, which is how it got its name.

🥾Moderate | 1.9 miles | Google Maps | 14-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: Free

Long Canyon Trail to Birthing Cave is a 1.9-mile out-and-back Sedona trail with an elevation gain of only 242 feet. Due to it being relatively flat, this trail is perfect for beginner hikers who want to get out into Sedona’s beautiful countryside.

The Long Canyon Trail is mostly a flat, sandy trail. To reach the Birthing Cave from it, come to the fork in the road 0.6 miles into the hike, and turn left. From there, hike 0.3 miles until you come to a heart-shaped depression in the towering rocks in front of you, this is the Birthing Cave. Just be careful as the trail gets steep and slick getting up to the caves. 

Fay Canyon

An easy-moderate Sedona hike that is known for its sandstone arch and box canyon experience.

A man walking at the Fay Canyon trail
Hiking on the Fay Canyon Trail

🥾Easy | 2.3 miles | Google Maps | Park Website | 18-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Day Pass

Fay Canyon is a 2.3-mile shady and cool trail in the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness. It’s located near a stream and has plenty of shade from trees, making it perfect for beginner hikers to tackle on a sunny day. The two miles are relatively flat and the canyon walls keep the area cooler than the surrounding desert.

Along the hike you’ll come to the Fay Canyon Arch, a small overhang that’s worth a photo. This formation paired with the green vegetation growing near the water is a unique juxtaposition.

Cathedral Rock

A difficult hike that leads to panoramic views from atop Cathedral Rock.  

Overlooking view at the Cathedral Rock
Me posing on Cathedral Rock

🥾Difficult | 1.2 miles | Google Maps | Park Website | 12-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Day Pass

Cathedral Rock Trail is one of the most iconic hikes in Sedona, climbing 741 feet over 1.2 miles. This hike is a steep ascension over a short distance, but it leads to Cathedral Rock, one of the most breathtaking views in Sedona. This steep climb is not for the faint of heart and sometimes is more like rock scrambling than hiking.

The view at the top is worth the effort, though. You’ll come to the top of Cathedral Rock and find yourself in a saddle between two sheer rock faces. From here, you’ll have panoramic views of the landscape far below. You’ll see why Sedona is one of the best places in Arizona after completing this hike!

👉 Pro Tip: After this strenuous hike, you’ll deserve a reward! Head to Sedona Beer Co. for a post-hike beer and snack.

West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon

A forested trail that meanders between towering red rock cliffs and across lovely creeks with peaceful pools. 

View of the river running through the Oak Creek Canyon
The river running through Oak Creek Canyon has created some stunning, tube-like rock formations like this. 
View of red rocks at the Oak Creek Canyon
The stream, combined with incredible red rocks and lush greenery makes Oak Creek Canyon one of the most beautiful hikes in Sedona.

🥾Moderate | 6.5 miles | Google Maps | Park Website | 20-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Pass

West Fork Trail is a long 6.5-mile out-and-back trail that winds along Oak Creek. The creek runs along a valley floor between tall red rock cliffs and offers shallow river crossings to traverse. The water from the stream allows trees to flourish, providing you with a shaded oasis compared to many of the desert red rock hikes in Sedona.

This is one of my favorite Sedona hikes because of the many gorgeous spots to pause along the stream. It also includes a unique subway-like rock formation created by the water running along the cliff face.

Wilson Mountain Trail

A strenuous but rewarding hike that takes hikers to the highest sandstone peak in Sedona.

A man stopping for a rest at the Wilson Mountain Trail
Sedona’s many towering red buttes make for incredible views of hikes with elevation gain.

🥾Difficult | 11.6 miles | Google Maps | 6-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Day Pass

Wilson Mountain Trail boasts an extreme elevation gain of 2,830 feet and transports hikers to the top of Wilson Mountain. The trail ends at a 2-mile wide grassy basalt plateau that gives you a breathtaking view of the surrounding red rock country. 

It’s a challenging hike and best if you’re experienced and want a day-long adventure out in Sedona’s beautiful red rock country. I recommend allocating at least 6.5 hours to complete the Wilson Mountain Trail and bringing plenty of water. 

Even if you only do a small portion of it, Wilson Mountain Trail is awesome for its proximity to the town of Sedona. Be sure to check out our guide on the best places to stay in Sedona!

👉 Pro Tip: Don’t confuse the Wilson Mountain Trail with the Wilson Canyon Trail. Both are awesome trails, but the Wilson Mountain Trail is a much more strenuous hike compared to Wilson Canyon Trail’s “easy” rating. 

Sterling Pass

A magical yet difficult hike that winds through red rock scenery and conifer forest.

View of red rocks and greenery at the Sterling Pass
The combination of red rock and green foliage is an incredible feature of shaded Sedona hikes.

🥾Difficult | 5.1 miles | Google Maps | 13-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: Free

Sterling Pass is a 5.1-mile out-and-back trail that combines Sedona’s beautiful red rock landscape with picturesque woods. The trail starts in Oak Creek Canyon and leads you into Sterling Canyon, both equally stunning. 

I’d recommend enjoying the journey of this hike more than the final destination, as some of the best views are along the trail itself. Plus, because this trail is less popular than some other Sedona trails, hikers often get the chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery in peace and calm.

👉 Pro Tip: This trail is especially beautiful in fall when the trees turn red and orange!

Devil’s Bridge Trail

A moderately difficult trail that leads to Sedona’s most iconic landmark, Devil’s Bridge Arch.

A couple hugging each other at the Devil's Bridge Trail
Brave people will get to take epic photos atop soaring Devil’s Bridge.

🥾Moderate | 3.9 miles | Google Maps | 23-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Day Pass

Devil’s Bridge Trail is one of Sedona’s most iconic and popular hikes and one of the best things to do in Sedona. It’s a 3.9-mile out-and-back hike that leads to Devil’s Bridge; Sedona’s largest natural sandstone arch. Most of the hike is easy, although you’ll encounter steps and a section of rock scramble.

While many people hike this trail just to take a picture perched out on the bridge, the entire hike is worthy of appreciation. You’ll meander through some of Sedona’s most beautiful scenery on the way up to the bridge.

👉 Pro Tip: There’s often a long line to take photos at the arch, so to avoid some of the crowds, start your hike early.

Bear Mountain Trail

A difficult trek leading to one of the tallest peaks in Sedona, Bear Mountain.

🥾Difficult | 4.9 miles | Google Maps | 42-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Day Pass

Hikers of Bear Mountain Trail should be prepared for a challenging and steep climb with stunning views along the trail. The trail is 4.9 miles round trip and is a mix of flat and strenuous sections. The summit will take a couple of hours of climbing to reach, but the views are worth pushing to the top.

Due to the difficulty, this is one of the less popular hikes in Sedona, so you’ll skip the crowds by choosing this one. Be sure to bring lots of extra water as there is little shade along the trail.

Soldier Pass Trail to the Seven Sacred Pools and Devil’s Kitchen

A Sedona hike leading to Devil’s Kitchen, the Seven Sacred Pools, and Soldier Pass Cave and Arch. 

View at the Seven Sacred Pools in Sedona, Arizona
The seven Sacred Pools are extremely unique features hidden out in Sedona’s countryside

🥾Moderate | 4.5 miles | Google Maps | Park Website | 9-minute drive from Downtown Sedona

Soldier Pass Trail is a relatively flat 4.5-mile trail that leads to the Soldier Pass Cave, the Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole, and the Seven Sacred Pools. The beginning of the trail showcases a beautiful and diverse landscape with a wide variety of plants. 

The trail brings you to a rocky area with large cliffs and intricate formations, including Devil’s Kitchen. Further along the trail, you’ll find the Seven Sacred Pools, small holes in the rock that contain water. 

This is one of my favorite moderate hikes in Sedona thanks to the variety of scenery and unique landmarks it offers along the way.

👉 Pro Tip: Parking can be limited at Soldier Pass trailhead, but there is a free shuttle that will take you from downtown Sedona and pick you up.

Bell Rock Loop Trail

A popular Sedona hike that weaves through the red rock landscape to a summit scramble and awesome views.

The Bell Rock from afar in Sedona, Arizona
Bell Rock is one of Sedona’s most famous buttes.

🥾Moderate | 1.2 miles | Google Maps | Park Website | 13-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Day Pass

The Bell Rock climb is a popular hike in Sedona that’s 1.2 miles in length and 200 feet in elevation gain. Due to the hike being relatively accessible, you’ll likely have to share the trail with others. Still, it’s a worthy climb that will take you along a ridgeline that offers incredible views of the surrounding landscape. 

The trail is not marked very well near the end, so hikers are encouraged to download a map before setting out.

Robber’s Roost

A difficult hike that involves scrambling on towering rock formations with fantastic vistas.

Overlooking view at the Robber's Roost
Hike up to Robber’s Roost for a unique perspective of Sedona’s landscape.

🥾Moderate | 3 miles | Google Maps | 18-minute drive from Downtown Sedona

Robber’s Roost Trail is a 3-mile hike whose main attraction is a uniquely shaped cave at the end of the hike called Hideout Cave. The hike is not recommended for the faint of heart or height-adverse hikers, as you’ll have to do some serious, lofty rock scrambling to reach the cave. Still, those brave enough to accomplish the last leg will be rewarded with an incredible sight.

Since the trail is about a 20-minute drive from Sedona, the trail tends to be less crowded than the most popular hikes in Sedona.

Airport Loop Trail

A meandering, flat loop offering views of the mesas and buttes that characterize Sedona’s unique scenery. 

View of rock formations at the Airport Loop Trail
With rock formations that look like intricate sculptures, it’s hard not to stop every few feet to admire them

🥾Moderate | 3.3 miles | Google Maps | Park Website | 7-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: Free

Airport Loop is one of the best hiking trails in Sedona for an immersive hike in the area’s characteristic red rock landscape. At 3.3 miles out and back, the hike gives hikers quintessential Sedona views of towering rock formations, desert plants, and sweeping views. 

The trail is considered moderate mostly for the rocky terrain, but in terms of elevation gain and length, it isn’t a challenging hike.

Yavapai Vista Trail

A quick and easy trail perfect for a low-intensity immersion into the red rock countryside. 

The author, Ashleigh Bandimere during her hike in Yavapai Vista Trail
Me on the Yavapai Vista Trail

🥾Easy | 0.5 miles | Google Maps | 14-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Day Pass

At only half a mile, Yavapai Vista Point is one of the best short hikes in Sedona. The 15-20 minute trail features giant red rock formations that characterize Sedona’s landscape. 

Because the walk back is quick, this is a fantastic trail to do early in the morning for sunrise or sunset when the beautiful sky changes the colors of the red landscape.

Brins Mesa Trail

Brins Mesa Trail allows hikers to explore epic red rock scenery, towering buttes, and lovely desert vegetation. 

Scenic view at the Brins Mesa Trail
Brins Mesa Trail showcases some of the best views in Sedona.

🥾Moderate | 3.6 miles | Google Maps | 8-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Day Pass

One of the more popular hikes in Sedona, Brins Mesa Trail is a 3.6-mile out-and-back hike and is moderately challenging. The trailhead is very close to downtown Sedona, which makes it an accessible trail for people staying in town who want to get out in nature.

You’ll find the Brins Mesa Trailhead at the end of W Park Ridge Road, and I recommend getting here early in the morning as parking fills up fast. 

Doe Mountain

A short climb to the top of a mesa that offers hikers sweeping views.

🥾Moderate | 1.5 miles | Google Maps | 19-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: $5 Red Rock Day Pass

Doe Mountain is a short and steep trail with 511 feet of elevation gain. Because it’s just 1.5 miles out and back, this is one of Sedona’s hiking trails with the biggest reward for effort.

While you will be climbing for most of the hike, the 1.5 miles go by quickly, especially because the surrounding scenery is so beautiful. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded for your exertion with panoramic views.

The best part of this hike is that it’s one of the less popular Sedona hiking trails, which means you won’t have to share the trail with large crowds.

Loy Canyon Trail

A difficult hike that’s perfect for getting away from the crowds in Sedona.

View at the Loy Canyon Trail in Sedona, Arizona
Even if you don’t complete all 12 miles of Loy Canyon Trail, you’ll still enjoy views like this

🥾Difficult | 12.6 miles | Google Maps | 45-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: Free

Loy Canyon is a great trail for experienced hikers who want a full-day adventure away from the crowds that hike closer to Sedona. The trail is 12.6 miles out-and-back and takes over six hours to complete. The trail begins with a 4-mile gentle upward climb and ends with a steep climb on jagged sandstone slabs to incredible views.

Along the path is a wide variety of desert vegetation including forested areas providing shade.

Sugarloaf Loop

A loop trail that’s perfect sunset or sunrise hike to watch the red rock landscape change colors. 

View of cacti at the Sugarloaf Loop
Spring is a wonderful time to visit Sedona because there are colorful flowers like these scattered throughout the desert

🥾Easy | 1.9 miles | Google Maps | Park Website | 8-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: Free

Sugarloaf Loop is an easy and inviting trail for hikers of all experience levels. With very little elevation gain and a distance of less than 2 miles, it’s the perfect hike to do at sunset or sunrise to watch the red rocks change color.

The views offered along Sugarloaf Loop are also fantastic at any time of day, as there are monumental red buttes that jut into the sky.

Harding Springs Trail

A short and tough trail that challenges hikers on the way up but rewards their perseverance with fantastic views.

🥾Moderate | 1.4 miles | Google Maps | 22-minute drive from Downtown Sedona | Cost: Free

Harding Springs Trail is a 1.4-mile out-and-back trail that packs a big hike into a short distance. Expect a challenging uphill walk that will transport you along a steep canyon wall to a summit with views over Oak Creek Canyon. 

The trail is lined with trees that provide some relief from the sun and make for lovely scenery along the trail.

FAQs About Hiking in Sedona

What is the most popular hiking trail in Sedona?

The most popular Sedona hikes are Cathedral Rock Trail which gradually climbs up a large butte, and Devil’s Bridge which features Sedona’s iconic natural red rock bridge.

Does Sedona have good hiking?

Sedona has incredible hiking trails of all difficulties that allow hikers to explore the area’s iconic red rock scenery, giant tower buttes, and lovely desert scenery. 

What is the easiest trail in Sedona?

Yavapai Trail is a fantastic option for an easy hike in Sedona. At only half a mile long and with almost no elevation gain, it’s perfect for a little taste of Sedona’s incredible natural features.


These are just some of the best hikes in Sedona, Arizona, but the only way to decide which is your favorite is to get out there and try them for yourself. When planning your trip, be sure to check out these fun hikes near Phoenix!

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