The Absolute Best Hikes in Sedona

Written by Sammi Caramela
Updated: July 7, 2023
© Deep Desert Photography/
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Sedona, Arizona, is known as a highly spiritual place. The desert town is home to gorgeous red rock formations, steep canyon walls, and pine forests, making it a great destination for hikers and nature lovers alike. In fact, Sedona has some of the best hikes in the country.

With its mild climate and passionate arts and culture community, Sedona offers visitors a unique experience with tons of New Age shops and businesses. On the outskirts of the town, you can also find countless hiking trails of various difficulty levels with breathtaking scenery.

Here are 13 of the best hikes in Sedona.

1. Devil’s Bridge Trail

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: Located in the Sedona area of the Coconino National Forest, Devil’s Bridge Trail is a moderate, short, yet steep trail that provides hikers with a gorgeous view of Red Rock Country. The trail is well-maintained and relatively flat for most of the route, with a steep incline, especially toward the end. There are many beautiful plants and wildlife along the path. Don’t forget to bring tons of water, as it can get hot!

Length: 3.9 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

Underneath Devil's Bridge in Sedona, Arizona.
Devil’s Bridge Trail offers beautiful scenery of red rocks, lush plants, and wildlife.

©Brandon Arzoumanian/

2.  Cathedral Rock Trail

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: Cathedral Rock is known as one of Sedona’s most famous monuments. While the Cathedral Rock Trail is considered challenging, it’s still fit for hikers of various ages and experience levels due to its short length. The hike’s 740+ ft elevation offers breathtaking scenery of Sedona’s arches and rock formations. However, the terrain can be rocky and slippery — especially toward the highest point of the hike — and requires vertical climbing and scrambling at times, so be sure to pack the right footwear! 

Length: 1.2 miles out and back

Difficulty: Hard

Cathedral Rock Mountain Arizona
Cathedral Rock Trail is a short yet challenging hike that features the well-known sandstone butte.


3. Boynton Canyon Trail 

Location: Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness

Description: With Sedona’s reputation for being hot and sunny, the shadier and cooler Boynton Canyon Trail is one of the best hikes in Sedona. It’s also deemed a “center for spiritual energy” by many visitors, offering scenic views of desert landscapes, box canyons, and ancient Sinaguan Indian ruins. This trail is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing, and the temperatures are dipping. It’s also known to feature different wildlife, including javelina.

Length: 6.1 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

A view from the secret subway cave in boyton canyon in Sedona. This may one once been a secret location but it is now one of the premier hiking destinations in Sedona.
Boynton Canyon Trail features many secret subway caves.


4. Seven Sacred Pools (via Soldier Pass Trail)

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: This easy trail is great for beginners or those looking for a simple morning hike with great scenery. As its name suggests, a portion of the Soldier Pass Trail takes you directly to the Seven Sacred Pools, a landmark many travelers deem a must-visit destination. The pools are naturally carved out of sandstone and are typically filled with trickling water from a seasonal stream, which includes runoff from rainwater and other natural precipitation. 

Length: 1.1 miles out and back

Difficulty: Easy

Seven Sacred Pools Sedona Arizona
The Seven Sacred Pools are one of Sedona’s most popular attractions.

©Matt Grimaldi/

5. Soldier Pass Trail

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: As one of the most popular hikes in Sedona, the Soldier Pass Trail in its entirety tends to get crowded fast. This 4.5-mile out-and-back trail is of moderate difficulty. It offers various points of attraction, including Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole, Soldier Pass Cave, Soldier Arch, and — as noted above — the Seven Sacred Pools. This trail can be steep and have uneven terrain at times, so be sure to wear the proper hiking footwear and attire. 

Length: 4.5 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

Red Rock Formation on Soldier Pass Trail, Sedona, Arizona
The Soldier Pass Trail features various popular Sedona attractions along its path.

©Dawn Minkow/

6. Bell Rock Climb

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: The Bell Rock Climb in Coconino National Forest is a short yet moderately-challenging hike. The terrain is rocky and can be slippery throughout the hike, and some scrambling may be required. Many hikers choose to visit this short trail during sunset, as the 360 view offers stunning scenery. 

Length: 0.8 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

Man hiker standing on Bell Rock with incredible views within coconino national forest in Sedona Arizona USA against white cloud background.
The Bell Rock Climb is a steep and rocky hike, but the views are worth it.


7. Birthing Cave

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: The Birthing Cave is an archaeological and sacred cultural site with cryptobiotic soil and sensitive vegetation. Hikers using this path must refrain from taking artifacts, climbing or sitting on walls, or tampering with the site. While the hike is moderate in terms of difficulty, there are some particularly steep and slippery parts — especially toward the end — that require scrambling and appropriate footwear. However, the panoramic views from the cave are worth the trip. Bring lots of water, as there isn’t much shade on the path!

Length: 1.9 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

The Birthing Cave is one of many popular hikes in Sedona, Arizona. It is an interesting spot to check out. Everything is better at sunrise.
The Birthing Cave is especially beautiful at sunrise.


8. Fay Canyon Trail

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: Open year-round, Fay Canyon Trail is a moderately-challenging hike with wildlife (beware of rattlesnakes!), wildflowers, and shade along the route. Offering views of natural rock formations, box canyons, and waterfalls, the trip is a must-do for hikers in the area. A specific point of interest halfway through the trail is the Fay Canyon Arch, which is a great place to rest and take in the scenery of the surrounding cliffs.

Length: 2.3 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

Beautiful view of rock formation at the end of in Fay Canyon trail (Sedona, Arizona).
Fay Canyon Trail provides stunning views of natural rock formations.


9. Sedona Airport Loop Trail

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: While relatively flat, the Sedona Airport Loop Trail has rocky yet manageable terrain. The path circles Airport Mesa, and hikers rave about the views on both sides of the airport. There isn’t much shade on the route, and the heat can be sweltering, so be sure to bring lots of water — especially if you’re hiking midday. Sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful times to embark on this hike.

Length: 3.3-mile loop

Difficulty: Moderate

Hiking trail at the popular Airport Mesa loop hike in Sedona Arizona USA southwest during the day with beautiful clouds in the sky looking west.
The Sedona Airport Loop Trail makes you feel like you’re up in the clouds.


10. Munds Wagon Trail

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: Following a cattle trail and wagon road, this historic route features beautiful wildflowers and scenery. Two main points of interest along the hike include the Merry-Go-Round and Mitten Ridge rock formations. Parts of the hike require scrambling, so wear proper hiking attire and footwear to ensure safe climbing. Additionally, look out for wildlife like white-tailed rabbits, hummingbirds, pollywogs, and colorful lizards

Length: 6.4 miles out and back

Difficulty: Moderate

The view of Oak Creek from the Munds Wagon Trail near Sedona, Arizona, February 2020
The Munds Wagon Trail offers a gorgeous view of Oak Creek.

©Alena Vishina/

11. Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock Loop

Location: Munds Mountain Wilderness

Description: This well-kept trail is a moderately-difficult hiking loop filled with small wildlife and rocky terrain. Hikers rave about the colorful wildflowers and gorgeous views of Bell Rock, Cathedral, and Courthouse Butte along the trail, making it one of the best hikes in Sedona. However, beware of rattlesnakes and bring lots of water, as the trail offers little shade during hot days.

Length: 3.9-mile loop

Difficulty: Moderate

Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock, AZ
This loop is filled with lush greenery and beautiful wildflowers.

©Patrick Jennings/

12. Bear Mountain Trail

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: The top of Bear Mountain offers a gorgeous 360-degree view, but the hike to get there isn’t easy. The terrain is rocky and rough in many sections, and the temperature can drop a bit drastically at the elevation of 2,024 feet. Be sure to wear shoes with great traction, as there are parts of the trail with a near-vertical drop and slippery rocks. Even the most experienced hikers warn of its challenging uphill climb, but the views are deemed worth the trouble. While you likely won’t see any bears (the mountain got its name because its peak looks like a bear), do watch out for rattlesnakes along the way!

Length: 4.9 out and back

Difficulty: Hard

View from the top of Bear Mountain in Sedona at Sunset
The views from Bear Mountain make the challenging climb worthwhile.

©James Lucas Bent/

13. Bell Rock Pathway (via Bell Rock Access Trail)

Location: Coconino National Forest

Description: The Bell Rock Pathway via Bell Rock Access Trail is considered an easy trail for hiking, running, and walking, with a slight yet manageable incline for hikers of all levels and ages. The terrain is flat and perfect for beginners, providing options to cut off to Bell Rock Climb for a more challenging trip if desired. The views offer picturesque backdrops for memorable photos. However, the trail can get a bit muddy, especially during rainy seasons.

Length: 2.7 miles out and back

Difficulty: Easy

photo scenic red sandstone evening sunset at sedona, az
The scenic Bell Rock Pathway is an easy path for hikers of all experience levels.


Summary of The Absolute Best Hikes in Sedona

1Devil’s Bridge TrailCoconino National Forest
2Cathedral Rock TrailCoconino National Forest
3Boynton Canyon TrailRed Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness
4Seven Sacred Pools (via Soldier Pass Trail)Coconino National Forest
5Soldier Pass TrailCoconino National Forest
6Bell Rock ClimbCoconino National Forest
7Birthing CaveCoconino National Forest
8Fay Canyon TrailCoconino National Forest
9Sedona Airport Loop TrailCoconino National Forest
10Munds Wagon TrailCoconino National Forest
11Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock LoopMunds Mountain Wilderness
12Bear Mountain TrailCoconino National Forest
13Bell Rock Pathway (via Bell Rock Access Trail)Coconino National Forest
Summary Table of The Absolute Best Hikes in Sedona

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About the Author

Sammi has been a writer and an animal-lover for as long as she can remember. Growing up, she was known by her neighborhood as the girl who had an entire zoo in her home, basically having every pet you can imagine, from hamsters and birds to cats and dogs; and now, as an adult, she is deemed the "cat lady" of her friend group. When she isn't writing or doing yoga with her little black cat, Poe, Sammi is spending time in nature or reading a good book.

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