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Best Hiking Trails Sedona, Arizona: Exploring Red Rock Wonderland

Best Hiking Trails Sedona, Arizona: Exploring Red Rock Wonderland
a girl hiking near cathedral roc in sedona, arizona.

Sedona holds a special place in my heart as one of the most captivating destinations Garrett and I explored during our road trip through Arizona. If you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing it yourself, you’ll understand the enchantment: majestic red rock formations envelop you, transporting you to what feels like the surface of another planet. Situated within this breathtaking landscape lies the charming town of Sedona, where it’s evident that many residents are drawn by the promise of boundless outdoor adventures just steps from their door, including discovering the best hiking trails in Sedona.

We spent our time in Sedona exploring its hiking trails with our pups Rae and Bowie. Yet, with so many options to choose from, selecting the perfect trails can be daunting, especially when time is limited. Join me as I share insights into the best hiking trails in Sedona, guiding you towards unforgettable adventures in this wonderful place.

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Devil’s Bridge Trail

a couple walking on devil's bridge in sedona, arizona.

There is a reason that this trail is one of the most popular hikes in Sedona. Devils Bridge is an interesting rock formation in the shape of a bridge. Hikers can carefully walk onto the bridge where there are sheer cliffs on either side of you to take some photos or just admire the incredible geological formation. The overall hike depends on where you start from, so we opted to start at the Mezcal Trailhead, which works out to making the hike 6.7 km (4.2 miles) round trip. I highly recommend taking this route, unless you have a high clearance 4×4 vehicle that can make it to the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead. 

The hike itself is well-maintained and easy enough for kids and dogs to do. I will say that there were a couple of steep areas that did require some scrambling, so be prepared for that. As well, these areas can become busy and backed up as you wait for others to hike through the narrow areas. Once you reach Devils Bridge don’t be surprised if there is a long lineup of people waiting to take photos. Everyone is respectful and waits for their turn but you may be waiting for some time. It’s best to hike this trail early in the day to avoid these crowds. All in all, this trail is a must-do in Sedona!

a sign on the bell rock pathway.

Bell Rock Loop

The Bell Rock Loop trail is a relatively easy hike offering spectacular views of the iconic Bell Rock formation. Situated just off Highway 17, the trail spans 2.4 km (1.5 miles) and is rated moderately difficult. While the main loop provides enjoyable scenery, more adventurous hikers can opt to ascend to the summit of Bell Rock, although this entails a more strenuous climb involving some scrambling. During our hike, we ventured partway up before deciding it was too challenging for both our dogs and myself.

For those daring enough to tackle the ascent, there is an established trail leading to the top, although it appeared that many hikers were forging their own paths. Whether you choose to summit Bell Rock or simply complete the loop trail, the vistas of Bell Rock and the surrounding landscape are truly breathtaking.

Cathedral Rock Trail

a girl and a dog admiring cathedral rock.

Cathedral Rock, one of Sedona’s most renowned hikes, is an essential experience for visitors to the area. Arriving early is advisable to avoid the crowds. The trail spans a brief 1.9 km (1.2 miles), yet its steep inclines and large rock formations necessitate scrambling and traversing. Due to its difficulty, dogs may struggle on this trail. We opted to only go part way up the trail with our pups. Most people had no issues making the climb and the trail is very well marked. While popular throughout the day, sunset holds particular allure, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding rock formations against the backdrop of Sedona’s vibrant and colorful sunsets.

Sedona Airport Loop Trail

The Sedona Airport Loop Trail spans 5.3 kilometers (approximately 3.3 miles) and is rated moderately difficult, we found this hike to be easier than the other hikes on this list, but a longer distance. Our dogs thoroughly enjoyed this trail, thanks to its well-defined path and absence of scrambling. However, it’s worth noting that the trail occasionally intersects with other paths, so having the trail map handy can be helpful for navigation.

Along the way, hikers are treated to captivating views of Sedona and its surrounding rock formations, adding to the allure of this picturesque route. With each turn, the landscape unfolds offering a truly immersive experience for adventurers of all levels. So, leash up your pups, lace up your hiking boots, and set out to discover the wonders of the Sedona Airport Loop Trail.

a girl and a dog hiking through cacti in sedona, arizona.

Sugarloaf Summit and Teacup Loop

This 3.2 km (2.0 miles) trail winds through desert forests and offers stunning views. We particularly enjoyed all the species of cacti on this trail. This trail is great for hikers of all abilities and there are several connecting trails you can hike if you want to hike for longer. The signage on this trail is excellent and I would consider this trail to be less popular than many of the others on this list. However, the parking lot is quite small so I would still recommend getting here in the early morning or late afternoon. As well, the trail is quite exposed to be sure to bring sun protection and lots of water. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this trail and would definitely consider it to be one of the best hiking trails in Sedona!

Related: Visiting Arizona? Check out our post about the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Arizona.

Hiking Essentials for the Best Hiking Trails, Sedona

A girl and a dog hiking in Sedona, Arizona.

As avid hikers, there are a few things that Garrett and I are always sure to bring when we hit the trails. It’s always important to bring enough water, especially, in desert climates like Arizona. I prefer to bring my hydration water bladder that fits right in my backpack so that I have lots of water and can drink throughout the hike whenever I want. Garrett brings a Nalgene water bottle. For hiking boots, I highly reccommend these Columbia boots for a comfortable and cute hiking boot. For added stability you may want to consider hiking poles, especially for some of the more difficult hikes on this list. A lightweight first aid kit is always something you want to make sure to have. Lastly, a good comfortable hiking backpack will make a huge difference and is definitely worth the investment in my opinion. We love our Osprey backpacks.

Where to Stay in Sedona, Arizona

There are many options for places to stay in and around Sedona. If you have a vehicle and are travelling on a budget, I highly recommend staying in one of the surrounding towns such as Flagstaff or Cottonwood. A nice option if you’re camping is Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. Another good budget friendly hotel option in Flagstaff is the Little America Hotel. If you’re wanting to stay directly in Sedona, the best budget friendly option would be the Greentree Inn. There are several nice options in Sedona for more of a splurge, I recommend the Enchantment Resort for a real luxurious experience, the pools here are absolutely stunning.

Environmental Stewardship

We are so grateful to be able to explore our beautiful planet and want to make sure it’s kept that way. With so many people visiting locations like Sedona, it is imperative that visitors are practicing responsible use of the land. Always remember to pick up after youself and leave places better than you found them. If you plan on bringing your dogs on the trails make sure you have dog bags. By collectively embracing responsible tourism practices, we can preserve the natural beauty of destinations like Sedona for future generations to enjoy.

Bring your Pups on the Best Hiking Trails, Sedona

Overall, we LOVED our time in Sedona. We were really looking forward to all of the hiking we would get to do with our dogs on our road trip through the United States, but we ended up being disappointed with many of the national parks. Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Bryce Canyon all have very strict dog policies, which made our choices for hikes in these parks very limited. We are lucky that the national parks in Canada are very dog-friendly, and we didn’t realize that the United States wouldn/t be the same way. That being said, we were pleasantly surprised that pretty much all of the trails around Sedona were dog-friendly. Staying here and hiking with our pups was a definite highlight of our trip and I highly recommend visiting and bringing your furry friends if you can!

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