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Hiking in Sedona
There's an incredible world of hiking and places to explore in Sedona, Arizona. But get there early or you will miss out on the opportunities.
We've been in Sedona for three weeks and we've enjoyed every minute of it.
The red rock landscape consisting of of gorgeous red, brown, and tan colors is mesmerizing when the sun hits them in the morning or evening. Coupled with the usual vibrant blue sky and crisp fresh air, it's easy to see why people want to plant their flags and call this home.
Then there's the hundreds of miles of hiking trails and off-road rails for ATVs. This is what makes Sedona so damn enticing. Every day is a new adventure waiting to happen if you're willing to get out and explore.
We love hiking in Sedona because it's magical.
People have explained the magic of the vortexes, the swirling unexplainable energy that's supposed to transform your soul. In fact, this is a big draw (and business) for seekers of enlightenment and spiritual healing. While I can't say for sure what I believe regarding this metaphysical world, I do know Sedona creates a feeling of peace and happiness.
Whatever you choose to believe, there's no doubt this is a magical place.
If you've never been to Sedona, you'll learn quickly experience what I mean. You'll experience a community of people from all walks of life who LOVE being outdoors whether it's a casual stroll, a five mile hike, practicing yoga on the mountains, or hauling ass in one of the many dune buggies available for rent. Real life exists outside in the fresh air. And it is awesome.
If you don't experience the positive vibes the first moment you see the beauty of the landscape driving in on Highway 179 or 89a, you will certainly feel it once you get on the trails.
Our favorite hiking trails so far.
Unfortunately we've not been able to experience some of the most recommended trails yet. The first week in Sedona the weather was unseasonably warm for January and we did our best to make the most of it. The second week was filled with rain, sleet, and snow -- which was incredible in it's own way, but it hampered our ability to get outdoors.
However we can share some about some of the trails we've enjoyed so far.
This 3.2 mile hike has many breathtaking views of the surrounding area. It loops around the Sedona airport and is a moderate challenge due to most of the path being extremely rocky. There were very few people on this trail which was really nice and but there was plenty to see.
The start of the trailhead is ALWAYS filled with cars, so we had to park up by the airport. It was worth the three dollar parking fee but it did add an extra 1.5 miles to the trek. It took Donetta and me a little over three hours to complete and was definitely worth the experience.
If you're looking for an easier hike with an amazing view of Bell Rock Mountain, this 2.3 mile loop will not disappoint you. The hiking trails are mostly easy with a couple of challenging spots, but you will experience a variety of landscapes including open mountain views to dry gulch valleys.
One of the things we didn't like about this trail is the continual fear of getting bull-dozed by mountain bikers. Many bikers call out letting you know they're there and how many people are in the group. A few jackasses suddenly showed up behind us and almost got bitch slapped!
Parking at the trail head can also be a challenge, especially on weekends, so arrive early to make the most of it.
The Bell Rock Loop Trail was our first hiking experience in Sedona. It's rated as moderate but other than couple rocky spots, this was fairly simple to us. The loop is 2.2 miles and a perfect introduction to the area. You'll be able to get some excellent photos while taking your time to look at the various plants in the area.
As with all trailheads in Sedona, it's best to arrive early as parking is limited. You'll also need to secure a parking permit at all locations as well. There are more people using this trail due to its accessibility so if you want to have more solitude, go higher up in the mountains.
This out and back trail located by the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a moderate hike with some incredible views. At 1.3 miles, it's a great way to get out into nature without needing to carry supplies. It's also a heavily trafficked site but there are excellent spots where you can stop to meditate or "medicate."
If you want to see some killer views, be sure to walk up to the chapel! If you're unable to walk up the steep hill, there is someone who will pick you up in a golf cart. Whether you want to hike or not, don't miss out on visiting this incredible location.
Some helpful hiking tips for Sedona.
We're not hiking experts by any stretch of the imagination but we're learning a lot on our trips into the great outdoors. Here's some advice we offer if you're going to hike in Sedona.
Start early. Traffic and visitors really amp up around 11 am MST so if you don't get to the trailhead before then, you probably won't find a parking spot. This can lead to hours of frustration and day drinking.
Bring water. Speaking of drinking, be sure to hydrate properly BEFORE going on a hike and bring water with you -- even when it's cool or cloudy outside. But please don't use and discard plastic water bottles.
Purchase a pass. You must have a parking pass for most, if not all of the trailheads. You can purchase this at the Sedona Chamber of Commerce. If you have a national park pass, you're good to go.
Pack accordingly for your hike. You really don't need much gear for a simple excursion, but I recommend being more prepared for three mile hikes or more. This includes trail snacks, rain jacket, water, and pocket survival kit.
Be a friendly tourist. It goes without saying that we should be kind to others and respect the rules of being outdoors (they are posted everywhere). Leave the trail happy and good as it was when you started.
Get out there and enjoy!
Hiking in Sedona has been such a highlight and the best advice we could ever give is just get out there and enjoy it. Reading about the experience will never do it justice. You simply have to walk the walk.
Happy hiking everyone. Have fun and be safe.