Sedona Hiking Trails

Sedona Hiking TrailsApproaching Sedona's Red Rock Beauty

Sedona hiking trails are many and fabulous! You have your pick - short, long, easy, more difficult.

  • Are you looking for a day hike? You've got it! 
  • Want just a family stroll? There's a choice for you! 
  • Want a backpacking adventure? It's here!

Hiking in Sedona is...

  • Something you will enjoy
  • Something your family will enjoy
  • Something any of your friends coming with you will enjoy!

I remember the first time my husband Bill and I drove into Sedona. We took Route 17 North out of Phoenix and then left the Freeway on Exit 298. We drove West onto Hwy. 179.

As we approached the little village of Oak Creek (much more of a little village than it is today!) - we began to see the red mountain formations in the distance.

We came upon Bell Rock - before actually getting to it, there is a parking area. We pulled in there. Out came the camera, for multiple photos of this amazing formation! We were just awed! It was the beginning of our love affair with the area...

The Bell Rock Trail originates from this parking lot, so it is a great place to begin this trek. We didn't do that ourselves, right then. But we moved along again on Hwy. 179.

Sedona Hiking Trails for Easy Going

  • Bell Rock Trail - Mentioned above. You can't go wrong here. It rambles around Bell Rock. Then it also wanders over to Cathedral Rock... You can take it over that way if you so desire. 
  • Another option a lot of people go for (and we did!) is to begin to climb Bell Rock. For what it's worth, this Sedona hiking trail is sort-of like a gradual stair-step. Find the right path as you walk around it. It doesn't make the journey more difficult really.
  • Fay Canyon Trail - Just a little over 1 mile hiking distance one-way, and fairly level terrain. You are rewarded with a view of a natural arch. And at the end for your efforts are cliff dwelling remains!

Sedona Hiking Trails: Moderate & Worth It!

Sedona Hiking from easy to difficult aboundsAlong the West Fork of Oak Creek
  • West Fork of Oak Creek -  For this Sedona hiking trail, park at the trailhead. Find it at the Call of the Canyon day use area. There's a parking fee. Instead you can try for a pull-out area nearby along the road. Your Red Rock Pass is good for that. Beautiful scenery along this route! You can extend this trek further along, if you want more diversity and difficulty while hiking Sedona trails.
  • Soldier's Pass Trail - Nearly a 5 mile round trip. There's a gated entry to the trail-head. It's only open during the day. There's a good climb in elevation. The rewards are passing The Seven Sacred Pools. Also at the turn-around point, you get a good panoramic view of the whole red rock area.

Sedona Hiking Trails for the Hearty

  • Cathedral Rock Trail - Very steep trail, not for the faint of heart... Taking this route, you may feel like a novice rock climber! Some areas have carved out toe holds to scramble up the rock face a bit. There are ledge areas to move along. Total round trip is 1.5 miles. Seems short enough... Yet still with the continuous elevation, it's more difficult! See more details>
  • South Wilson Mountain Trail - Go North of Sedona along 89A for the trail-head just North of Midgely Bridge. The elevation rises 2,300 ft. to the top of this mesa. Along the way are fantastic views. Plan on the whole day for this one, with an early start!

Hiking Safety Considerations

Hike Sedona safelyEnsure Sedona Hiking Safety

Remember even when the weather is cooler, this is the Southwest. The sun is strong! Plus it's a dry climate. Dehydration can come on unexpectedly fast!

Basic hiking safety essentials you should always practice on Sedona hiking trails. Always! Even when the weather doesn't seem that hot. Even when monsoon storms are not predicted that day. Etc. You never know when something may occur which could turn things around!

Be prepared for anything! What should you consider in your preparations...

  • When parking anywhere within the bounds of the Coconino National Forest - which includes many hiking areas - for any length of time (more than approx. 15 min.), you must purchase a Red Rock Pass.
  • Wear sunscreen - at least SPF 15. The sun in Arizona is strong at any time of the year.
  • Bring water - every person should have at least 2 liters, but pre-hydrate before the hike, by drinking 1 liter before you start. If it's really warm, get in a little more than that. Starting early in the day. 
  • On a long hike, you may have water sources - but you will have to filter/purify your water before drinking
  • Wear practical clothing. That depends on the type of hike, the area, the time of the year. Typically layering is the best method. Have good walking/ hiking shoes, that are well broken in.
  • Bring a pair of binoculars. They're handy for looking at scenery and wildlife. They can also help you check out what's ahead - there may be something on the trail to be wary of.
  • Don't forget your sun-glasses - eyes can suffer from sun exposure, especially UV light
  • Check the weather forecast. Traditionally the Monsoon season begins mid June and runs until the last of September. The timing isn't exact. Thunderstorms with lots of lightning can come on quite suddenly. Flash flooding can occur.
  • Listen for heat warnings. If they're projecting high heat - DO NOT plan hikes. People die because they do not heed warnings.
Sedona hiking preparationTake along a Day-pack with essential items.
  • Have a first aid kit - you need to take care of injuries as soon as possible to ward off infection.
  • You can't rely on cell phones for help in an emergency! Coverage is spotty if available at all in hiking areas. With any Sedona hiking, be sure someone knows where you are going.
  • Finally... Err on the side of caution!