POPULAR | 5 SEDONA HIKES UNDER 5 MILES

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Article by Casey & Ruby


Sedona boasts over 100 hikes through magnificent red rocks, famous overlooks, mystical vortexes, and flowing streams.

This once quiet community has become one of the most popular destinations in the country for outdoor enthusiasts. Sedona was named #5 Best places to Hike in North America. In fact, Arizona claimed two of the top ten spots on the list (go AZ!).

One of the main draws to Sedona is the accessibility of the surrounding wilderness. Many of the hiking trails can be accessed by passenger cars and are short in length.

In this post, I have found the 5 most popular Sedona hikes under 5 miles for a quick and easy way to explore one of the nations top hiking destinations! Enjoy.

*Note: Some of Sedona’s trails require a Red Rock Pass ($5 per day or $15 per week). The nice part about the fee is that all the money goes to protecting the landscape.

Map: Here is a great Map of the area. As you can see, many of the more popular trails are located on Highway 179 or Highway 89A.


COURTHOUSE BUTTE LOOP – 4.5 MILES

         Time: 2 hrs.

         Elevation Change: + 250 ft.

         Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

This hike is a fan favorite for many reasons. First, the trailhead is located right off Highway 179 which makes the trailhead easy to get to. Also, it’s a loop hike that takes you around some of the most prominent rock features in Sedona. The loop, which is just under 4.5 miles, offers stunning views of Bell Rock, Castle Rock, and Courthouse Butte. Beginning at the Bell Rock pathway (see picture above) take the wide, popular trail clockwise until you junction with Courthouse Butte Trail. Continue on the Courthouse Butte Trail which will meander through a dry wash and gradually ascends and levels off to a fairly nice flat hike. The loop will first send you around Bell Rock (the one that looks like a bell 😉 ) and then over towards Courthouse Butte. There are other trails that connect to Courthouse Butte Loop such as Llama Trail but the path is well marked. When in doubt, follow the large cairns which help navigate your way.


DEVILS BRIDGE – 1.8 MILES (ROUND TRIP)

                 Time: 1.5 hours

                 Elevation change: +400 ft.

                  Difficulty: Moderate

Devils Bridge is the largest, and most famous, natural sandstone bridge in the area. From the trailhead hikers will stroll gradually uphill on an old jeep road until you reach a fork in the road at around 3/4 of a mile. The trail to the left takes you directly under the arch (which is quite a sight to behold) and the trail to the right takes you on a steep path towards the top of the arch. I recommend doing both, however, the trek to the top of the arch is not very kid friendly. Once you’ve ventured your way up the steep trail to the top your lack of breath will match the “breathtaking” views of the red rock country. For those who are a bit more adventurous, take a stroll across the arch but please use a little common sense!


FAY CANYON – 2.4 MILES (ROUND TRIP)

                    Time: 1.5 hours

                     Elevation change: +200 ft.

                     Difficulty: East

Fay Canyon is a well known and popular destination for casual viewers and hikers alike. Many people come to Fay Canyon for a glimpse of the natural arch that’s located about half a mile up the trail. However, if you aren’t looking for the arch it is easy to glance right at it and not realize what you’ve seen. Watch the rock wall to the north (right side) of the trail and you can’t miss it. The trail leads to a short, steep, and un-maintained trail that takes you directly to the arch.

After you’ve located the arch, I recommend that you continue forward. There is a small, hidden canyon that offers nice views of the surrounding cliffs. The trail follows an old jeep road and eventually turns into a single track footpath. It ends at a red Supai sandstone cliff where you can see evidence of some ancient Native American dwellings. Enjoy your time, respect your surroundings, and return the way you came.

CATHEDRAL ROCK – 3.5 MILES (ROUND TRIP)


                      Time: 2 hours

                        Elevation change: +600 ft.

                        Difficulty: Difficult

If spectacular views and a vigorous workout appeals to you than this is your hike! This hike may be one of the most popular hike in Sedona so get to the trailhead early and expect to share the trail with many other hikers. Use this Map to locate the trail.

More of a rock climb than a hike, this trail is unshaded and steep and difficult in places. Follow the basket cairns across the wash and up the moderate slope toward the spires. At 0.25 mile, the trail emerges on a broad ledge with nice views. Then, it ascends steeply over bald rock and in a shallow cleft with a few toeholds notched into the rock to help on the steeper places.

DOE MOUNTAIN TRAIL – 1.5 MILES (ROUND TRIP)


                      Time: 1.5 hours

                         Elevation change: +400 ft.

                         Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 1.5 hours

Elevation change: +400 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate

This trail offers spectacular views of the red rock country. Doe Mountain Trail is a popular hike, and for good reason. The trail not only provides tons of scenery for little sweat, but the trailhead is easily accessible as well.

From the ample parking lot at its trailhead, the Doe Mountain Trail switchbacks directly up the north side of this low, flat-topped Mesa. As you climb, you’ll want to take time out to enjoy the excellent views of the surrounding countryside. A layer of erosion resistant cap rock has given Doe Mountain its classic mesa shape and provides hikers with a great platform from which enjoy the panoramic view.

From this 400 foot high perspective, you can see a number of the Sedona Red Rocks Country’s more prominent landmarks . You’ll see Bear, Maroon, and Wilson mountains, Loy, Boynton, and Secret Canyons, Chimney Rock, and the Cockscomb to name a few. Sedona is visible to the east and off to the south, Munds Mountain and Sycamore Pass mark the location of Sycamore Canyon and the Verde Valley.