That are not many places in the U.S. that can compete with the charm and natural beauty of Sedona, Arizona. Where else but in Sedona can you walk on red rock trails, discover hidden canyons, and then cool off in a slippery creek bed that acts as a natural waterslide? The good news is that most of the trails in Sedona are very accessible and relatively easy to hike for most people.
With more than 100 hiking and biking trails covering almost 300 miles in the region of Sedona, it’s easy to find a new path to roam. What’s difficult is deciding which one to choose. So here are my top favorite easy to moderate hiking trails in Sedona.
5 EASY TO MODERATE HIKES IN SEDONA
Brins Mesa – Soldier’s Pass Trail Loop
Loop Length: 5.2 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 546 feet
Level of difficulty: easy to moderate
Dogs are allowed but they have to be kept on leash
Fee/Permit: $5.00 Daily Red Rock Pass, or Interagency Pass
The Brins Mesa and Soldiers Pass trails form a 5.2 mile loop through stunning red rock formations and open desert. This is a moderate hike with great views, that passes by some very interesting rock formations like the Devil’s Kitchen, the 7 Sacred Pools and the Rock Arches.
We started our hike on the Brins Mesa Trail and returned on Soldier’s Pass because Brins Mesa seemed less steep and therefore easier on the way up. It’s not that much difference however, so you can start either way.
Cathedral Rock Trail
Location: 3.5 miles from Sedona, Arizona
Hiking Distance: 1.3 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 775 feet
Level of Difficulty: moderate
Dogs are allowed but have to be kept on a leash
Cathedral Rock is one of the most popular hiking trails in Sedona. The hike is short but don’t let the distance fool you. There are a few challenging sections where you’ll need to use your hands, so reaching the top may require some climbing abilities.
If you want to take some fascinating shots of the different colors of Sedona landscape, I suggest hiking the Cathedral Rock at sunset. The trail is also less crowded in the late afternoon, early evening.
Devil’s Bridge Trail
Location: Dry Creek Road, about 12 miles west of Sedona
Trail Length: 4.2 miles round trip (from the parking lot)
Elevation Gain: 564 feet
Level of Difficulty: easy to moderate (with a short steep climb)
Dogs are allowed on the trail, but have to be on a leash.
Devil’s Bridge is one of the most popular hiking trails in Sedona. This is partly because it’s easily accessible for most hikers. The trailhead is easy to reach, the path is easy, and the hike itself is fairly short, with just a short difficult part at the top.
Despite its dreadful name – Devil’s Bridge – this trail is enchantingly beautiful, passing by gorgeous landscape and rock formations. The hike leads to a spectacular sandstone arch, which is the largest of its kind in the area of Sedona.
Red Rock Crossing Trail
Length: 1.8 miles round trip
Trailhead Location: Red Rock State Park, (Upper Red Rock Loop Road)
Elevation Gain: 50 feet
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Dogs are allowed but they have to be kept on leash
Red Rock Crossing is one of my favorite trails in Sedona because it’s not only spectacular, but also very easy to hike. It’s also the only location where you can get the iconic photo of the Cathedral Rock with the stream in front of it.
The beautiful 1.8 mile trail is located in the Red Rock State Park, just outside the town of Sedona, Arizona. The Park is a beautiful combination of high-country scenery and rugged charm, with lots of hiking trails for every skill level. The Red Rock Crossing Trail is fairly flat, twisting in and out of the forest and passing by swimming holes which are great to cool off during the hot summer months.
Bell Rock Trail
Loop Length: 3.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 370 feet
Level of Difficulty: easy to moderate
Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.
Accessibility: Limited, paved parking is available at the trailhead.
Bell Rock is perhaps the most easily recognizable formation in Sedona, with its dome-shaped silhouette hanging close to Highway 179. The Bell Rock Trail is an easy to moderate hike that will reward you with some majestic views of Sedona.
The trail forms a loop midway up, around the base of the Bell Rock. Some hikers try to ascend to the top by climbing up the slippery rock, but unless you have some experience with that I wouldn’t recommend it. Obv
Tips for Hiking in Sedona
While Sedona’s climate is not as harsh as some of the other areas in Arizona, you’ll have to remember that it’s still the desert. If you’re hiking these trails during the summer months, bring your lots (I mean lots!) of water, a hat and sunscreen.
During the winter months Sedona’s temperature cools down a lot and it may even snow, so if you plan to hike at this time of year bring warm clothes (preferably dress in layers).
Carry only a light backpack. Remember: the less you carry, the more enjoyable your hike will be, so travel as lightly as possible. The heaviest items in your pack should be your food and water.
Also, don’t hike alone. No matter how fit you are, or how well you know the trails in Sedona, don’t overestimate your capabilities. Hike intelligently. It’s always a good idea to hike with at least another person.
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Ask The Dutch Guy
Wow! Those are all awesome. The views are really breathtaking. Hope to visit Sedona and experience hiking there.
I love the red rock formations in Sedona. I was looking over my photos of Sedona from years ago and seem to have missed the trails you were on. I would do the Bell Rock trail because I like the symmetry of the formation.
Quite a good reason to return to Sedona, Rhonda.
The landscape in Arizona is truly stunning, and almost otherworldly. But for my first trip, I think I’ll skip the first three and stick to the easy ones. Bell Rock looks especially impressive against the blue sky. Would be amazing if I could get to the top.
Wow, every hike is breathtakingly beautiful. I loved the Red crossing trail and Cathedral Rock especially. They look stunning and I would love to do these hikes. Unfortunately, I had never heard of Sedona before and now it has just straight gone into my list. I will definitely plan for these hikes as I love hiking on the red dry rocks.
Danik the Explorer
As a hiker I would love to check out some of these trails (havent made it to AZ yet but its on my list). The one what interests me the most is the Red Rock Crossing Trail and that view of Cathedral Rock with the water is stunning. A good hike with views like this deserves a good beer and a hearty meal at the end of it. 🙂 Think a lot more of drinking water is needed due to the heat (I am forever drinking whilst hiking and dont boe too well in the heat).
Hope you’ll make it to Arizona someday, Danik.
These all sound amazing. I’ve never been to Sedona but it’s definitely on the list looking at this incredible scenery. We don’t have anything like this in the UK so I’d love to spend some times exploring these hiking trails. The river scene in the Red Rock Crossing Trail looks completely idyllic. Thanks for sharing.
They look all so great. I don’t even know what to choose to see first. I think I’d love to try The 7 Sacred Pools where I hope to be able to swim too. But the Bell Rock hiking trail in Sedona looks great as well. I am happy to see the dog enjoyed it as well.
Arizona has been in my US bucket list for a while and you just showed me again why. I would love to attempt some of these hiking trails in Sedona, especially the Soldier’s Pass Trail Loop because it seems like its moderate in difficulty level and right up my alley! Thanks for such a detailed analysis of all the options available, will be very useful when I plan my trip.
Ah!!! This makes me wish that I had stopped in Sedona. Such beauty!!! The Devil’s Bridge looks like a lot of fun, although it seems like too easy of a hike if you really want to get exercise, so my second choice would be Bell Rock. The red rock formations are SO lovely and unique. Arizona is gorgeous for sure!
Nice list of of some great hikes. I started the Soldiers Pass trail a couple of years ago, but my camera freaked out after a mile or two and we turned back. But even the section we did was lovely. Now, looking at your pictures of those pools, I know I HAVE to got back and do the whole trail!
You probably should have kept going, Cindy, with or without a camera, lol!
Perfect timing. Thinking of a Sedona trip soon. Will try the Red Rock Crossing trail. Helps to get an authentic “review”. Love the photo of the 7 Sacred Pools.
Hope you’ll get to do your trip to Sedona, Alan.
Sedona is gorgeous, there’s no doubt about that, but Red Rock Crossing Trail is another kind of beauty. I might be planning a hiking trip in Sedona soon, so I will definitely take this guide with me! Being an energy vortex it has always attracted me, and the stunning views and hikes definitely add to it. Thanks for sharing!
I never put too much thought into the vortexes of Sedona, but the views definitely always attracted me.
My visits to Sedona have been short day trips. Each time I am blown away by the beauty of the landscape. Maybe my next visit will be a little longer and I’ll have time for one of these hikes. The easy to moderate ones – I am not a seasoned hiker.
There are many easy hikes that you can do in Sedona, not to worry.