These Sedona Hikes Have Mystical Energy Vortexes, Towering Red Rocks, and Epic Views

Sedona hikes

Sedona, Arizona, is a hiker’s paradise – especially if you’re into bright red sandstone rocks and thriving desert greenery.

All of the best Sedona hikes will have you gaping in awe at the fiery colors or the gravity-defying rock formations. There are even a few spots spirit junkies love to visit due to their magical energy vortexes.

As with any hike – especially Arizona hikes – be sure to get an early start and pack lots of water. That Southwest desert sunshine is no joke.

Bell Rock Trail

bell rock sedona

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  • Length – 0.8 miles
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Directions – Take Highway 179 until you reach Forest Service Road. From there, you can park near the Courthouse Vista and begin your hike from the Bell Rock Trailhead.

Start your Sedona hiking adventure with the Bell Rock Trail. Although it’s just 0.8 miles long, this out-and-back is still rated as moderate, thanks to some scattered rock climbing sections. 

When you start this trail, you’ll have a lovely hike where you can take in the sunshine and blue skies. The challenge comes at the end when you try to scale Bell Rock itself. All 203 feet of elevation seem to be right at the end of the trail.

While you might have to use handholds to help you out, most hikers can get themselves a good way up the Bell Rock climb. To get all the way to the top, you might need to put your rock climbing and belay skills to use, but most people don’t do that. Either way, you’ll get to take in the jaw-dropping views of the Sedona sandstone landscape.

Travel Tip – For an even longer Sedona hiking experience, combine the Bell Rock Trail with the nearby Courthouse Butte Loop Trail. That’ll be two incredible rock formations in just one (slightly longer) hike. Bell Rock is known for being a powerful energy vortex.

Devil’s Bridge Trail

devils bridge trail

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  • Length – 2 to 4.2 miles, depending on your starting point and your type of vehicle
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Directions – If you have a 4WD, you can start at the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead on Dry Creek Road, which will shorten your hike by a couple of miles. If you don’t have a 4WD, you’ll need to start at the Mescal Trailhead on Long Canyon Road and lengthen your hike a bit.

The Devil’s Bridge Trail is by far the most well-known hike in Sedona. Known for its gravity-defying red rock bridge – also known as Devil’s Bridge – this trail is a must-do on your Arizona vacation.

As for where to start and how long your hike will be, that all depends on the type of car you have. If you have a 4WD, you can start at the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead, which will make your hike about two miles round trip.

But if you don’t have a 4WD, you’ll need to start at the Mescal Trailhead. From there, you’ll hop on the Chuck Wagon Trail for a bit and then start the Devil’s Bridge Trail, which will make your hike about 4.2 miles round trip. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

As with many Arizona hikes, you’ll get to take in the beautiful red rocks on your hike over to Devil’s Bridge. But it’s really the red rock bridge at the end that’ll make your jaw drop.

I found myself genuinely wondering how this natural bridge has defied gravity for so long, especially with so many people walking on it every single day.

While at Devil’s Bridge, be sure to snap some pictures on this one-of-a-kind bridge and take in the amazing views. After all, there’s nowhere in the world quite like it.

Travel Tip – Try to get an early start, plan for a sunset hike, or tackle the trail in the off-season. The Devil’s Bridge Trail has hundreds of visitors every day, all of whom want to take pictures, soak up the views, and occasionally even propose to their loved ones on this bridge.

It can be a little overwhelming, so I recommend trying to avoid the crowds.

Cathedral Rock Trail

cathedral rock trail sedona

Image Credit: Matthew Noll/Shutterstock.

  • Length – 1.2 miles
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Directions – After taking Highway 179, turn onto Back O Beyond Road. This trail starts about midway down this small street, where you’ll find a decently-sized parking area and the Cathedral Rock Trailhead.

If you’re looking for one of the more challenging Sedona hikes, look no further than Cathedral Rock Trail. While this particular pathway is only 1.2 miles long, it covers about 740 feet of elevation gain, so it’s steep.

Throughout the hike, there are shockingly steep sections where you’ll have to use handholds to help you up. Luckily, there are also scattered plateaus, which are great for much-needed breaks.

By the end, you’ll feel like a champ. Especially when you get to take in the view from the top, complete with striking red rocks and thriving greenery.

Travel Trip – Cathedral Rock is another strong energy vortex.

The Birthing Cave Trail

birthing cave

Image Credit: Brittany Webber/Shutterstock.

  • Length – 1.9 miles
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Directions – Navigate your way onto Long Canyon Road. From there, you’ll find the Long Canyon Trailhead, which is where you start the hike to the Birthing Cave.

The Birthing Cave Trail is one of the easier Sedona hikes. This hike is just under two miles round-trip, and it has minimal elevation gain, which is definitely nice for beginner hikers or even advanced hikers looking to take it easy.

Once you reach the end, you’ll reach the Birthing Cave. You can probably infer from the name what the cave mouth looks like. The cave opening acts as a cool frame for the red-rock-filled Sedona landscape below.

Be sure to snap a few shots before heading on your way.

Boynton Canyon Trail + The Subway Cave

boynton canyon

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  • Length – 7.5 miles
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Directions – There are a couple of routes to get to Boynton Canyon Trail, but both of them start on Highway 89A. From there, you’ll eventually make it onto Boynton Canyon Road, where you’ll find the trailhead for this lovely Sedona hike.

If you’re looking for a nice half-day hike, the Boynton Canyon Trail is, without a doubt, a fantastic option. This mostly flat, seven-mile trail takes you through some of Sedona’s most stunning landscapes. Then, in the end, you’ll gape in awe at the beautiful Boynton Canyon.

Travel Tip – While the Boynton Canyon Trail is cool enough on its own, I recommend adding the Subway Cave detour as well. This little addition makes the hike even better. The hidden cave offers some of its own epic views, and it’s definitely worth the bit of added hiking. Boynton Canyon is home to another mystical vortex.

Soldier Pass Trail

soldier pass trail

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  • Length – 4.5 miles
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Directions – To get to the Soldier Pass Trail, you’ll want to make your way out of downtown Sedona via Soldiers Pass Road. Then, you’ll find the trailhead soon after on Forest Service 9904 Road.

At just 4.5 miles long, Sedona’s Soldier Pass Trail is surprisingly packed with things to see and do. You’ll start by peeking into the enormous Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole, then peering into the Seven Sacred Pools, and eventually climbing your way into the Soldier Pass Cave. It’s a fun-filled hike, that’s for sure.

Travel Tip – As for the Soldier Pass Cave, that’s an adventure that we need to talk about on its own. Getting into the cave isn’t the easiest thing in the world, as that’s where much of the trail’s 800 feet of elevation can be found. There’s probably going to be a decent amount of scrambling and backtracking before you finally make it inside.

But once you actually make it into the Soldier Pass Cave, it’s a magical experience. With golden sunlight streaming through the smallest cracks in the red cave walls, it looks otherworldly. 

Seven Sacred Pools via the Soldier Pass Trail

sacred seven pools

Image Credit: Christian Perry/Shutterstock.

  • Length – 1.1 miles
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Directions –  To get to the Soldier Pass Trail, you’ll want to make your way out of downtown Sedona via Soldiers Pass Road. Then, you’ll find the trailhead soon after on Forest Service 9904 Road. When comparing this trail to the previous Soldier Pass Trail hike, you’ll end your journey a little sooner once you see the Seven Sacred Pools.

So far, on this list of Sedona hikes, almost all of the trails have been in the moderate to difficult category. But don’t worry! Sedona has some fun hikes for beginners as well like the Seven Sacred Pools hike via the Soldier Pass Trail.

To put it simply, you’ll basically follow the same trail as the previous Soldier Pass Trail hike but stop a little sooner. This shortened 1.1-mile trail only has 108 feet of elevation, so it’s definitely doable for most people.

Despite the fact that the Seven Sacred Pools via the Soldier Pass Trail is easy, you’ll find a whole lot to see along the way. Look up at the tall red sandstone rock structures or peer down into the Seven Sacred Pools.

Given the hot Arizona sun, you may be wondering if you can take a dip into the Seven Sacred Pools. First of all, each of the Seven Sacred Pools are very small. There isn’t space to swim (in case Instagram has you fooled).

Second, there are quite a few creatures – including tadpoles and frogs – that like to make their home in these little pools. It’s best to leave them alone, so they can grow up as happy and healthy as possible.

Travel Tip – The parking lot gate for this particular hike is closed from Thursdays to Sundays (as of August 2023), so you’ll need to take the city’s free shuttle service instead.

Sedona is a Hiker’s Haven

USA, Arizona, Sedona 2014-11-09 Die historic city Sedona is dominated by colorful sandstone rocks

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

From easy strolls to rock climbing-esque adventures, the best hikes in Sedona offer something for hikers of all skill levels. With red rocks galore, there’s so much to see along the way.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your hiking gear, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to tackle some amazing Sedona hikes.

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Sarah Etinas

Sarah Etinas is a full-time travel writer and avid adventurer. She has written for dozens of renowned publications, including Time Out, Insider, Honolulu Magazine, and TripAdvisor. When she's not writing, Sarah practices what she preaches by traveling to new destinations, hiking to beautiful waterfalls, and exploring her home. You can find more of her professional work on her portfolio website and follow her adventures on her Hawaii travel website.