Best Western PLUS Inn of Sedona
A Hikers Guide to Sedona, Arizona and Surrounding Areas
Hiking is one of the most popular recreational activities for visitors coming to the red rock region of Sedona, Arizona especially in the Spring and Fall. Visitors head out to explore the many trails in the Coconino National Forest, Sedona, Verde Valley and trails that explore the Mogollon Rim. you and your family will enjoy being out in nature taking in the beauty of the red rocks against the crystal blue sky and all the desert flora and fauna of the area.
Below you will find trails for beginners through more seasoned, and serious, hikers throughout Sedona, the Coconino National Forest, and the Verde Valley. We of course have a few of our favorites and guest favorites to share with you, and I am sure you will find a few favorites of your own. Below you will find information on the Coconino National Forest, our favorite Sedona hikes and some tips and resources to help you plan your hike. Have a great time exploring!
Coconino National Forest
The Coconino National Forest, one of six National Forest in Arizona, offers on of the largest varieties of landscape and beauty from the towering red rocks of Sedona to Ponderosa Pine Forests, to alpine tundra. Whatever difficulty level of hike or scenic wonders you want to experience you will find it here. Recreation and hiking information is divided into three Ranger Districts, just click on the area you are interested in hiking and see what awaits you! Before you hit the trail, visit the Coconino National Forest website for maps and information.
Red Rock State Park
Red Rock State Park is a family-oriented 5-mile network of trails with a diverse habitat of plants and wildlife. The Forest Service presents popular talks at the visitor’s center on the natural history of Sedona, and living with our wildlife neighbors. They also offer the following guided hikes and walks: Geology Hike, Moonlight Hikes, Bird Walks and Nature Walks. To see the Schedule of guided hikes please visit Red Rock State Park.
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Bell Rock Pathway
This trail takes you on a scenic journey of the red rocks with panoramic views that can’t be beat. This hiking trail is marked as easy to moderate and there are other paths and trails that lead off the Pathway for you and your family to explore. The Pathway is about 7 miles round trip and it is important to remember it is not a loop. Keep that in mind while you are enjoying your hike and remember you have to hike back the distance you go in. You do not have to hike the entire pathway to enjoy some great views of the red rocks. As soon as you walk the first 10-15 minutes you will be close enough to feel the energy of Bell Rock and get some great views!
Directions: From the junction of Routes 89A and 179 in Sedona, take 179 south 3.6 miles to a paved turnout and trailhead parking on the left (east) at milepost 309.8 for the South trailhead, .2 miles south of the entrance to the United Methodist Church for the North trailhead. Visit our Bell Rock Pathway Photo Album.
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Red Rock Crossing – Crescent Moon Picnic Site
Red Rock Crossing is one of the most popular places to take a leisurely hike and take some great photos of Cathedral Rock. The Crescent Moon Picnic Site offers pathways that take you to the crossing where Cathedral Rock and Oak Creek meet. There are Picnic Tables, grills and well maintained restrooms. Enjoy a little water play in Oak Creek, walk the pathways and visit Buddha Beach, considered to be the site of a powerful vortex. You will find a variety of rock cairns, last time I was there I was overwhelmed by the complexity of some.
Directions: Drive west from Sedona on US 89A. Just outside town, turn south on FR 216 (Upper Red Rock Loop Road). Drive about 1.5 miles and follow the signs to Red Rock Crossing. All roads except the short segment leading from Red Rock Crossing Road to the picnic area are paved.
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West Fork Oak Creek Trail
There are a number of reasons why West Fork is the most popular trail on the Coconino National Forest. You’ll know some of them once you’ve strolled beside the pleasant little stream that ripples along the canyon floor and look up, way up, at the dizzying cliffs that tower above it. This hike is most popular in the fall when vibrant colors take over the trail, but now is also a great time for this hike, just keep in mind this hike will be cooler than the others, if you start early or late in the day you will want to dress in layers!
To access the West Fork Oak Creek Trail drive north 9.5 miles from Sedona to about halfway between milepost 385 and 384. The trailhead is on the west (left) side of the highway. Visit our West Fork Trail photo album.
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Dead Horse Ranch State Park (Cottonwood)
The beautiful park with the unfortunate name sits on over 400 acres in Cottonwood, Arizona and is right next to the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area. The temperatures at the park are often mild, due the park’s elevation, and make it an ideal place for outdoor activities. This state park is a short distance from Sedona and has numerous hiking trails, not to mention trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. You can even take along a nice picnic lunch for your family and take in the scenic view at any of the picnic tables around the park.
Directions from Sedona: Head south on Arizona 89A, continue straight through AZ RT 260 intersection in Cottonwood, turn right onto N 10th Street to the park. Visit our Dead Horse Ranch Photo Album.
Our favorite Sedona Hiking Resources
Tips for Hiking in Sedona
- Make sure to bring plenty of water. Even if you are only hiking a short distance, hydration is key. Take more than you think you will need.
- Create a hiking backpack that includes water, first aid kit, protein snacks, trail map, compass, sunscreen and sunglasses.
- It is always safer to hike with others. Always let somebody know what trails you plan on hiking.
- Wear suitable clothing and shoes for hiking.
- Don’t leave the trail. The ecosystem of the desert is fragile and leaving even a footprint can damage it.
- The trails in Sedona and the Verde Valley are very traveled and it is unlikely that you will come across a rattler, however if your tromp around off the trails you are asking for trouble! With that said be aware of your surroundings and respect the wildlife of Sedona!
- Bring a camera to take some amazing shots.
- Know your limitations.
- Don’t rush your hiking experience. Take your time and enjoy the scenery.