Best Hiking in Sedona, Arizona: Our Top 8 Trails

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Best Hiking in Sedona, Arizona: Our Top 8 Trails

Arizona is hailed as the Grand Canyon State, and for good reason! It’s home to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, which sees millions of visitors every year.

Here’s the thing, though: if you are just traveling to Arizona for the Grand Canyon, you are definitely missing out on an equally impressive (and maybe more beautiful destination – Sedona!

Located just two hours south of Grand Canyon National Park, Sedona is home to some of the most beautiful red rock formations in the entire world. What’s even better: if you love to hike, there are tons of hiking trails all throughout Sedona. The biggest problem hikers face when traveling to Sedona is picking one of Sedona’s many hiking trails! To help you narrow down your list of hikes to bag on your next trip, check out this list of the top 8 hiking trails in Sedona, AZ.

  1. Sugar Loaf Loop Trail
  2. Fay Canyon Trail
  3. Chapel of the Holy Cross Trail
  4. Devils Bridge Trail
  5. Cathedral Rock Trail
  6. Soldier Pass Trail
  7. Bear Mountain Trail
  8. Wilson Mountain Trail

To make it even easier for you, you’ll find that this list is organized from easiest to hardest so that you’ll be sure to pick the hike that is right for you!

1 Sugar Loaf Loop Trail

Sugar Loaf Loop Trail
Photo via Pine Plum/Flickr

Location: Just west of downtown Sedona

Difficulty: Easy

Dogs: Yes, must be leashed

Best Feature: Spectacular views and wildflowers in the spring

If you’re looking for a quick, kid-friendly hike, look no further than Sugar Loaf Loop Trail. This trail will take you on a fairly easy 2-mile loop where you will only gain just over 350 feet in elevation. 

This trail is easy to access as the parking area is only a few miles west of the center of Sedona! Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and head out early to beat the heat. Also, keep in mind that parking is pretty limited, so it definitely helps to arrive sooner rather than later. 

Be sure to be on the lookout for some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the area. Indian Paint Brush dots the edges of the trail, especially after a good rain!

2 Fay Canyon Trail

Fay Canyon Trail

Location: 20 minutes northwest of downtown Sedona

Difficulty: Easy

Dogs: Yes, must be leashed

Best Feature: Fay Canyon Arch

This easy out-and-back trail is a must-see if you have a little more time to hike! At 2.6 miles round trip, you’ll end up only gaining a little over 380 feet in elevation. Be sure to stretch out beforehand as most of the elevation that you gain is at the beginning of the trail!

Be sure to also bring your camera along for a chance to take a picture of Fay Canyon Arch. It’s a gorgeous natural feature that is made out of deep red stone. One of the best times to capture the beauty of Fay Canyon Arch is either in the early morning or as the sun is beginning to set. Plan accordingly to get the best pic!

3 Chapel of the Holy Cross Trail

Chapel of the Holy Cross Trail
Photo via Ben Cappellacci/Flickr

Location: 11 minutes south of downtown Sedona

Difficulty: Easy

Dogs: No 

Best Feature: The Chapel of the Holy Cross

If you’re hoping to view a spectacular feat of architectural genius, be sure to hit up this easy 1.3 mile out-and-back trail! You barely gain any elevation and you are rewarded with a great view of the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

Interesting tidbit: This can’t miss Sedona hiking feature was built in 1957 and was inspired by the construction of the Empire State Building! It is nestled against a backdrop of the iconic red stone that Sedona is famous for. If you’re looking for a beautiful wedding venue, be sure to get on the list here as soon as possible. You might even want to plan a couple years in advance to be on the safe side.

4 Devils Bridge Trail

Devils Bridge Trail
Photo via Denny Armstrong/Flickr

Location: 14 minutes northwest of downtown Sedona

Difficulty: Medium

Dogs: Yes, must be leashed

Best Feature: The Devil’s Bridge Arch

Be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen for this one! The Devil’s Bridge trail is just under 4 miles round trip. While you only gain 521 feet in elevation, most of that elevation is gained by walking up the natural stairs that are formed by the red stone.

The highlight of this hike is the iconic Devil’s Bridge Arch. Adrenaline junkies that visit the arch who are brave enough to walk out onto the bridge are rewarded with an excellent photo opportunity! We should clarify, however, that we are not encouraging or even suggesting you to try this. In fact, we are strongly recommending that you do not.

Just be sure to hang onto your hat when you go out onto the bridge. Wind gusts can quickly snatch your head covering in an instant if you’re not careful!

5 Cathedral Rock Trail

Cathedral Rock Trail
Photo via Erica Frank/Flickr

Location: 13 minutes south of downtown Sedona

Difficulty: Medium

Dogs: Yes, must be leashed

Best Feature: Towering Rock Spires of Cathedral Rock

Don’t be fooled by the short distance: this hike is definitely strenuous! In only 1.2 miles, hikers can expect to climb almost 700 feet in elevation! Definitely make sure to bring sturdy shoes with a gripped sole for this one!

While dogs are allowed on this trail, it may be a good idea to leave them at home. There are a lot of spots that you’ll need to scramble up rocks as you climb your way to the top of this hike. That can be really fun for people, but dogs might not enjoy or appreciate the scrambling as much! 

Be sure to go early in the morning because there is little to no shade on this hike!

6 Soldier Pass Trail

Soldier Pass Trail

Location: 9 minutes northwest of downtown Sedona

Difficulty: Medium

Dogs: Yes, must be leashed

Best Feature: The 7 Sacred Pools

Soldier Pass Trail is a great trail to add some miles onto your hiking boots. At just under 5 miles, you’ll end up gaining over 800 feet in elevation on this out-and-back trail. One of the best times to hike this trail is after a good rain!

Not only will the rain encourage the wildflowers to pop out of the ground, but it will also fill up the 7 Sacred Pools with fresh rainwater!

Just be careful not to slip if the rocks are wet. 

7 Bear Mountain Trail

Bear Mountain Trail

Location: 20 minutes northwest of downtown Sedona

Difficulty: Hard

Dogs: Yes, must be leashed

Best Feature: Views of Sedona from the top

This 5 miles hike is not for the faint of heart! You had better make sure that your shoes are made with excellent traction and that you haven’t skipped leg day, because you will gain just under 2,000 feet in elevation on this one! Bear Mountain Trail offers those who are brave enough to take on this monumental hike some amazing views of Sedona from the summit of Bear Mountain.

Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen for this one. You’ll also want to start out early so that you can get to the top before it gets too hot! Hiking Bear Mountain Trail for a sunset hike might not be the best idea as there are plenty of spots that are vertical drops that could result in some severe injury if you have a misstep in the dark.

8 Wilson Mountain Trail

Wilson Mountain Trail

Location: 5 minutes northeast of downtown Sedona

Difficulty: Hard

Dogs: Yes, must be leashed

Best Feature: Spectacular views from the top

Saving the absolute most savage hike for last, Wilson Mountain Trail puts the rest of the trails to shame. Wilson Mountain covers an impressive and exhausting 11.5 miles of trail that climb over 2,800 feet in elevation. You’ll want to be sure to leave very early for this one, as you’ll likely end up hiking it all day!

If you want to test your metal against this trail, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of Sedona and the San Fransico Peaks to the north. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks on this one, and be sure to take plenty of breaks!

Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Hiking in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona’s hiking trails are some of the best trails in Arizona. There is something that will suit just about everyone! And when you’re done with your hike, be sure to stop in to visit one of the many restaurants and shops that line the streets of downtown Sedona. Or perhaps look for a guide to take you to one of the many vortexes around town! Any way you do it, you’ll be sure to love these Sedona hiking trails!

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