While we were in Sedona, we did two hikes. Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock are two of the most popular hikes in the area, and for good reason! Both were really cool, but I felt like Devil’s Bridge was a bit overrated. Cathedral Rock was my favorite, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
One thing to note about parking: both of these trailheads require that you buy a parking pass that is good for the day. You can purchase this at the trailhead or the Visitor Center in town. Or you can use your America the Beautiful Pass like we did. Just set it in your dash, signature side up.
4.2 miles round trip, easy/moderate
We completed this hike our first morning in Sedona. From everything I had heard, it is necessary to get here as early as possible. We got to the trailhead at 6:30, 30 minutes before sunrise. I knew that the trail started on a dirt 4×4 road, but with it being pitch black when we started, it was hard to tell exactly where that was.
We ended up taking a hiking trail that was not that road but was still in the direction of Devil’s Bridge. Once we had gotten a little way, the trail narrowed, and I realized there was no way 4×4 vehicles could make it down this path. I checked Google Maps and realized that we were on the wrong path. We kept going a bit further and the trail met up with the road. Lucky us! This didn’t add much difference and the path was a little nicer than walking down the road.
The road was fairly easy, with a slight incline. A couple vehicles passed us as we were walking. After about a mile, the road meets Devil’s Bridge Trail, and everyone is on foot after this point. The hike started to gain some elevation the last half mile or so, while you climb up to the bridge. I would rank this section as moderate and the rest as easy.
Right before you get to the bridge, there is a very scenic panoramic spot that looks out over the valley below. After this spot, we climbed the rest of the way and found a long line of people waiting to take pictures on the bridge. We ended up waiting to get a picture for about 30 minutes. When we were done though, the line was about twice as long. I was so thankful we started when we did!
While the bridge itself was very cool, the rest of the hike was a bit underwhelming. The gobs of tourists all waiting to get the same picture at the top turned me off a little. I would not do this hike again, but I’m glad I’ve seen and done it once.
1.5 miles round trip, moderate/strenuous
Cathedral Rock was my favorite hike we did on this trip. We started at the trailhead at 7am, right at sunrise. This was the absolute perfect time to start in my opinion. Once we got to the first overlook, about 0.2 miles into the trail, the sun was just starting to come up over the mountains. There were also a few hot air balloons coming up. It was magical.
After this lookout, the hike starts to climb steadily. The first bit is just a lot of steps, but then it transitions to what we called “the crack”, where there are few spots to step on and you have to kind of shove your foot in so you don’t slip down. It was a scramble most of the rest of the way to the top. Along the way, there are places to step off the path and enjoy the amazing view.
Once you get to the saddle, which is the low point between the pillars of Cathedral Rock, the trail ends. There are several amazing views in this area.
We also kept hiking a bit to the left side and found this amazing pillar that was illuminated by the sun. So stunning! We stayed up at the top for at least an hour, enjoying the views and taking pictures.
The hike down went way smoother than I expected. Most of it was by scooting down on our butts. There were way more people coming up at this point. Once again, I was glad we had started early.
I would highly recommend this hike to anyone looking for an adventure!