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(Last Updated On: May 5, 2022)

Summary: Sedona Arizona Travel Guide: Best quick spots to visit for a spontaneous or short trip, including: Camping spots, What to Pack and more. *I use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Thanks for your support! 

Land Acknowledgement: Land of Hopi, Yavapai, Pueblos, Western Apache and Hohokam People. Find what Native Land you are visiting by using the app Native Land! I encourage you to read the history and culture of the Indigenous people who’s land you are visiting and donate if you can to Indigenous organizations in that area.

About Sedona Arizona

A lot of people in the United States have heard of Sedona, Arizona. If you have not heard of this place, prepare to add to your bucket-list. Sedona is a charming desert town surrounded by scenic red rock canyons, buttes, and mountains.

There is a lot to do in town, as there is a modest art scene and restaurants to visit, but most people come for the outdoor adventures. Whether you’re into hiking, off-roading or sight-seeing – Sedona will definitely have something for you.

Southwest Road Trip Video Series

If you want a short visual of our time in Sedona, check out the YouTube Video my partner Johnathon DeSoto created! Subscribe if you want to see the complete mini series as it comes out!

For the Science Nerds like me:

Why are the rocks in Sedona red?? I had to know.

Over 300 million years ago, the land alternated between ocean bottom and plains. Layers of sandstone formed during this time. Over millions of years, and fault uplifts and collapses, the layers of red/orange sediment were exposed from wind and erosion. This created the red rocks that we see today.

Wow.

Getting to Sedona Arizona

Click to open map
  • From Phoenix: 2 hours
  • Distance from Las Vegas: 4.5 hours
  • Distance from Los Angeles: 7.5 hours
  • From Albuquerque: 5.5 hours

Luckily, there is a small airport in Sedona, that shows reasonable rates from major airports on google flights. A alternative is flying into the much larger airport in Phoenix, renting a car and driving the two hours to get to Sedona.

I’d recommend having a vehicle for this specific itinerary of hiking destinations, as there is not pubic transportation available to these spots.

Parking Passes & Fees

There are areas that require parking passes near Sedona, Cathedral Rock and Doe Mountain will be the only two on this list that require passes.

Trip Prep and Safety!

A couple things to note before diving in to the best hiking spots in Sedona.

  • You’re likely starting off at 4,000 to 5,000 feet elevation. If you’re from a sea level area like myself, don’t underestimate how much more challenging the hikes can feel.
  • It gets HOT and a lot of trails so not have much shade. Make sure to bring lots of sun protection (hats, sunscreen, etc)
  • Bring extra water and rehydration supplements. I personally like using Nuun tablets in my water. Liquid IV is another popular one, but doesn’t agree with my sensitive stomach.
  • Bring Navigation! A lot of these trails have multiple off-shoot trails and it can get confusing easily. Download Offline maps using AllTrails!

Leave No Trace

I wish this went without saying, but there are a lot of aspects to LNT that people overlook. It is more than making sure you pack out your trash and fruit peels.

  • If using the bathroom on the trail, make sure you are 200 feet away from the trail and any water source. PLEASE pack out any toilet paper. I know this sounds gross, but just bring a ziploc bag. If you are pooping, make sure to dig a hole at least 6 inches. For urinating, I personally like using my Kula Cloth Pee Cloth.
  • Stay on the Trail. There tends to be a lot of small social trails that develop on popular hikes. This is what causes erosion and decimation of fragile plant life. Just because it looks like someone else has hiked a small side trail, doesn’t mean you should.

Sedona Arizona Travel Guide: Best Hiking Spots

Here are 5 incredible hiking spots in this Sedona Arizona Travel Guide that I have been to or have been dying to go to! As always practice Leave No Trace and bring the 10 Essentials when hiking.

1 Robber’s Roost

Robber’s Roost Trail is about 40 minutes outside of Sedona, but worth the trek on the dirt road to get there. A parking lot is available before the section where only 4×4’s can access. This leaves a short walk up the 4×4 road to connect to the trail. If you have an overlanding vehicle, continue on and park at the “trailhead” (not marked).

There is a section to get to the cave/window that is not for those severely afraid of heights. There’s a section roughly 3-4 feet wide that wraps around the edge of the cliff to get to the viewpoint. It is a very short section, but I definitely had slight anxiety.

  • Length: 3.0 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 462 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Heavily trafficked trail
  • Dogs Allowed on Leash

I Recommend using AllTrails or Gaia (or however you normally track your trails), as a lot of this hike wasn’t clearly marked and wasn’t very obvious where to turn off. You will need to download the map before heading there as cell service can be spotty.

Robber’s Roost Trail on AllTrails HERE

2 Secret Slick Rock Trail

This trail definitely didn’t feel “secret” as there were 7 or so cars lining the road and parking area, and it’s only 15 minutes outside of Sedona. Luckily, there is a lot of space to distance yourself from other’s on the trail and at the viewpoint. This short hike is not to be missed, as it offers stunning views of Cathedral Rock.

  • Length: .7 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 78 ft
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Moderately trafficked trail
  • Dogs Allowed on Leash
  • Park where Chavez Ranch and Chavez Crossing roads intersect

Secret Slick Rock Trail on AllTrails HERE

3 Schnebly Hill OHV Road

This trail is primarily used for hiking and OHV or off road driving and is accessible year-round. We made it considerably far in our 2008 Subaru Forester (8 inches of ground clearance), but had to plan out our routes very technically and we were traveling with a vehicle capable of towing. We ultimately could not make it up the entire road due to not having enough ground clearance.

I do not recommend this road on your own unless you have vehicle clearance of at least 8.0 inches and/or good tires or at least some skid plates so you don’t puncture any holes in the important stuff haha. This road requires very technical driving.

  • 11.8 miles
  • Heavily trafficked

ALTERNATIVE: Take a Pink Jeep Tour on the scenic rim of this road for about 90 minutes of winding, bumpy back roads. A few of these tour Jeeps passed us as we were “stuck” figuring out our next move, and it looked like a blast.

  • $69 for adults
  • 90 minutes
  • Departure times range from 8am-5pm

Schnebly Hill OHV Road on AllTrails HERE

4 Devil’s Bridge Trail in Sedona Arizona

If you follow a few outdoor travel accounts, I’m sure you’ve probably run across a photo of this glorious sandstone arch. Even when I went back in 2017 (before it was ultra-Instagram famous), there was a line to get to the main bridge point.

I can only imagine the amusement park feel this place has now. BUT, it is stunning and with all that said, I’d recommend trying to go at sunrise on a weekday if your intention is to get photos.

  • Length: 4.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 564 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • HEAVILY trafficked trail
  • Dogs Allowed on Leash

Devil’s Bridge Trail on AllTrails HERE

5 Cathedral Rock Trail

Cathedral Rock Best Hikes in Sedona

This hike on the Sedona Arizona Travel Guide is one I was personally saving for next time! And I finally made it back to do this beautiful hike!! Short, but steep depending on which way you go. I personally took Baldwin Trail to Templeton Trail so that we could stop along the river on the way back to cool down!

  • Length: 1.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 700 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Moderately to Heavily trafficked trail
  • Dogs Allowed on Leash, but not recommended as there are some sections that require vertical rock scrambles

There are multiple trails to access the main viewpoint. All seemingly have small parking lots, so plan to get here early. There are sections of vertical rock scrambles, so wear appropriate hiking footwear ( Check out my footwear guide HERE) and be prepared. The parking lot we parked at had cars waiting for people leaving and fit maybe 20 cars.

Cathedral Rock Trail on AllTrails HERE

6 West Fork Trail

West Fork Trail Swimming area in Sedona
West Fork Trail

This is a new favorite! Since it was hot out on this most recent trip to Sedona (End of April!), I wanted to find a hike that had water access most of the way. This allowed us to cool off and take a little dip!

  • Length: 6.5 Round Trip
  • Elevation Gain: 564 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Moderate to Heavily trafficked trail
  • Dogs Allowed on Leash

This trail, while busy, never felt crowded. It’s a long enough trail with many scenic spots to hang out, that we often had long stretches of time alone. This is also a trail where you don’t have to hike the entire trail to see some really amazing views!

Note: the parking lot is managed and often fills up EARLY (it was full by 10am on a weekday). However, there is parking on the side of the road just further up (which is what we did).

FEE: Cash or Card – $11 per vehicle, $2 per person walk up

West Fork Trail on AllTrails HERE

7. Baby Bell Trail

Views of Bell Rock are gorgeous and so are the views of Cathedral Rock from here. Start off at the Bell Rock Trail and go left to Baby Bell Trail. You’ll see a large rock that people climb up on (it’s a mild scramble). Definitely one of my favorite after dinner sunsets I’ve ever seen.

  • 1 mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: roughly 200 ft
  • Moderate to Heavily trafficked trail

Get here early for a parking spot or park at one of the other parking lots with connecting trails.

Find Baby Bell Trail on this AllTrails Map

Best Time To Visit Sedona Arizona

Weather in Sedona

Best Seasons to visit Sedona for Best Weather:

If you’re looking to plan your visit around the best weather, March-May is the ideal time before it gets TOO hot. However, the drawback of this is Spring is the busiest time of year.

Best Time to Visit with Least Crowds:

December-February brings cooler weather, but typically still enough sun to make it an enjoyable trip. The nights and mornings will be cold, but you’ll have way less of a fight for parking spots and will experience less crowded trails.

I have personally gone in December and April and the weather was wonderful both times.

Where to Stay: Sedona Arizona Travel Guide

If you guys have read any of my blog posts before, you know I LOVE finding free camping on freecampsites.net. There are several options near Sedona, but I’ll list just a few that are closest to the action! Always scout out your camping before and have a plan B, C, and D in case they are at full capacity or are just not what you expected.

Click Here to Open Map

Forest Road 9845B

  • Free
  • No Amenities
  • 15 minutes outside of Sedona
  • Requires fairly capable SUV as it’s an OHV road

FR525 & FR525C

  • Free
  • No Amenities
  • 15 minutes outside of Sedona
  • Open Year Round
  • This one is my personal favorite

Airbnb’s!

There are many options of Airbnb’s and hotels to stay at here. If you’re a first time Airbnb user, use my link to sign up and get up to $65 off your first booking! *This is not sponsored. I would receive a small credit towards my next stay with Airbnb. Here are a couple I looked up:

Trailhead Casita

Photo credit: Airbnb
  • Sleeps 5 people
  • Has views and trails right outside
  • $240 per night

Book Here!

Garden Park Cottage

  • Sleeps 4 people
  • Has views on the Deck
  • $220 per night

Outfit Inspiration for Photos

This satisfies my window shopping cravings, so let me have this!! Haha! I’ve been loving elevating my photos by being more intention with my outfits. SO many of my photos are of me wearing the same jacket, and it’s not a good look. Click below to shop.

Click HERE to shop

Shop my entire road trip essentials wardrobe here:

Planning a longer road trip? Be sure to check out my other post’s like:

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