Best Hikes in Sedona

While visiting family in Arizona in May, 2015, we took some time to explore Sedona and the surrounding area. One of the common tourist attractions in Sedona is the pink jeep tour that provides off-road sight-seeing opportunities from the comfort of a pink jeep. Since we had already rented our own off-road vehicle (a black Prius) we didn’t give the pink jeeps a second thought. We found that a combination of our rental Prius and our own two feet was a perfectly effective and extremely energy efficient way to see all that Sedona had to offer

sedona hikes

Cathedral Rock (trail map)

sedona hikes - cathedral rock

sedona hikes - cathedral rock

Our first stop was Cathedral Rock, one of the most popular hikes in the Sedona area. The hike was short (1.5 miles up and back) but relatively steep.  There is no tree cover on the trail so the views of the surrounding red rocks are completely unobstructed throughout the hike. It was unseasonably cool for the area but we could imagine that the heat could get oppressive on a typical summer afternoon without any protection from the Arizona sun. The trail ends at the saddles of Cathedral Rock where there are plenty of opportunities to tip-toe along the edges of sheer cliffs (which seems to have become a theme of many of our trips).

Rattlesnakes are common in this area, and while we didn’t see any, a fellow hiker told us that he almost stepped on one on his way up.


Devil’s Bridge (trail map)

Our second hike of the day was the Devil’s Bridge trail. It turned out that our Prius was not able to handle the rugged off-road drive to Devil’s Bridge parking area so instead we had to begin our hike from the parking lot on Long Canyon Road. This added one mile each way to the hike making it a total of four miles round-trip. The hike was much more shaded than Cathedral Rock so we were not rewarded with the views until later in the hike. The final stretch of the trail was a steep climb that ended at Devil’s Bridge itself, where we would again have the pleasure of standing on a narrow piece of rock with deadly drops on both sides. There were several other people at the bridge when we arrived and everyone was taking turns walking out to the middle to get pictures. The middle of the bridge was surprisingly narrow, but we mustered up the courage to stand out there long enough to get a decent picture.

sedona hikes - devil's bridge
Devil’s Bridge

In and Around Sedona

The town of Sedona itself was very touristy but there were almost always views of the surrounding landscape from anywhere in the town. The streets are lined with shops, art galleries, and spas, and many visitors come to Sedona to experience the supposed healing and spiritual power of the vortexes in and around the city. We lucked out getting a cheap room at the Sedona Summit Diamond Resort that was posted on Airbnb. There were a few pools on the property, including one hot tub overlooking a pretty impressive red rock backdrop. The views at sunset were also top notch.


sedona hikes

Where to Eat: 

Secret Garden Cafe

Nice lunch spot located in the Tilaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village. They have outdoor seating, they give you Mexican blankets, and their chicken salad sandwiches are in a league of their own. It definitely cracks into my mental lists of top 10 sandwiches ever consumed.

Javelina Cantina 

We just got nachos and margaritas here, so can’t really speak to the rest of the menu. The views of the surrounding landscape from the balcony were not too shabby and the grande margaritas were extremely grande. Apparently you can occasionally see javelinas running around behind the restaurant. We had no such luck, however.

Next Stop: Oak Creek Canyon



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  3. Stephen

    Is there anywhere around either cathedral Rock or Devils bridge that could be used for overnight camping? Not looking for a KOA in oak creek, I’d like to be close to one of these, maybe a small flat spot near the trail? I want to try one of these as a night hike and do some photography with the stars.

    1. That sounds awesome. I’m sure you could find somewhere near either trail but you would probably have more luck over by Devil’s Bridge. The Cathedral Rock trail is very exposed and there aren’t many flat areas other than a few rocky outcroppings. There were more flat spots near the trailhead to Devil’s Bridge and there was more tree cover.

  4. What a gorgeous area! We drove through once in a rush to catch a plane back home, wish we had left enough time to explore. A good excuse to return though…
    Very jealous of the climate there, nothing but wind, rain and grey skies in the UK this winter. Thanks so much for checking out our wildpilgrims blog also.

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