If you would love to hike in winter, you will find hiking in Sedona in Arizona very rewarding. There are tens of easy hiking trails in Sedona, a true hiking paradise with picturesque scenes along the way.
There are incredible red rock formations, creating a wonderful backdrop on the hiking and biking trails. Sedona is also known for its Vortex Meditation sites. Many people go there every year to be inspired and to regenerate their energy.
Why you should go hiking in Sedona
Most people ask what is special about Sedona. This history-rich small city is located between Yavapai and Coconino counties in the northern part of the Verde Valley in Arizona.
The incredible red rock formations alone are enough to make you go hiking in Sedona. So is the abundance of wildlife and many outdoor adventures to do. The weather is great, almost all year round.
Even when the snow falls in winter, you can be sure that you have never seen such a stunning effect. White snow is draped against the red rocks to create an out of this world effect. It could be true what they say about God living in Sedona.
When hiking in Sedona in winter, you will have all the trails to yourself, well, almost. You see, people are catching up fast, and they are taking to hiking the easy trails of Sedona in winter.
To hike in Sedona anytime of the year, get your outdoor adventure camera ready. You will get many stunning photo and video opportunities.
Biking trails, hiking trails … You not only get to hike in Sedona, but you can also bike, trail-run and do much more. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, Sedona is a paradise for you.
Among some of the best hiking trails in Sedona, many of them are easy. Easy trails have little or no elevation gain, you know, like the paved trails in parks. However, when not paved, easy trails are likely to have small rocks, small elevation gain and so on.
Best Easy hiking trails in Sedona
These are some of the best trails for hiking in Sedona in December. However, they are just as good for any month’s hiking.
1. Big Park Loop Trail
The Big Park Loop trail provides you with an easy and enjoyable hike in Sedona. It can be easily accessed from the southern end of the Bell Rock parking area in the Oak Creek village just 300 yards to the north of the Circle K. Immediately after entering the parking lot, look for this trail on your right.
This 2.6 miles single-track trail is moderately easy since the elevation gain is 180 feet only. This makes it friendly for kids, beginner and intermediate hikers. The trail is wide and provides you with spectacular views, and lots of fresh air.
Hiking this trail is fun, smooth and enjoyable because there isn’t much climbing to be done. However, it is twisty with multiple dry creek crossings, small drops and few semi-technical areas.
This trail receives a high number of visitors during summer. If you do not like a crowded hike, visit this trail during other seasons such as winter. Do not forget to buy a Red Rock pass because you cannot get access to this trail without one.
2. Dead Man’s Pass – easy hiking trails in Sedona
This is another easy hiking trail in Sedona, which provides you with splendid views along the way, as you go between the Mescal Mountain and Boynton. To get to this trail, head to the junction of the Long Canyon road and the Boynton Pass road (FR 152C).
Park at the junction and hike for 0.25 miles and from there you will get the junction of the Dead Man’s Pass trails and Boynton Pass Road.
You can hike in this easy trail for 1.4 miles one-way or 2.8 miles round trip. Hiking in Dead Man’s pass is quite easy because the elevation gain is 175 ft. It also serves as a great connector trail between the Long Canyon, Boynton Canyon and the Mescal trails.
This trail is not too crowded and since the hike is easy and moderate, it is ideal for all skill levels and for hikers who tag their kids along.
3. Templeton Trail – One of the Easy Hiking Trails in Sedona
This 2.2-mile round trip trail is located on the Back O’ Beyond Road in Sedona. It provides you with scenic views of the lush greenery, the flowing Oak Creek and amazing red rock cliffs.
The trail has an elevation change of 198 feet. This makes hiking on this trail easy for hikers of all skill levels.
Since this trail is at the base of the iconic Cathedral Rock, it provides you an amazing view of this rock. It still takes you down to the Oak Creek for a nice swim during summer. During the spring season, you are treated to a beautiful and calming view of cacti flowering in abundance.
Remember to pay attention when walking on the trail because bikers also use the same trail. Do not forget to make a stop at the section where the trail meets with the Oak Creek to enjoy your lunch or snack. Hopefully, you have carried your hot coffee in a travel mug.
You can also take a refreshing swim. It is not unusual to find families picnicking in this area. If you are scared of heights and the Cathedral Rock intimidates you, the picturesque Templeton Trail is a good alternative.
4. West Fork Trail Sedona – West of Oak Creek Canyon
This trail is found in the scenic Oak Creek Canyon. It is probably one of the most renowned hiking trails in Sedona for a number of good reasons.
To get to the West Fork trail, you can start at L’Auberge and drive to the right onto 89A. After 10.6 miles, you will arrive at West Fork Trailhead.
The parking is on the left but it is rather small and crowded due to the trail’s popularity. Thus, to secure parking space, you have to be there early. In winter though, it is not as crowded as during summer.
This 6.9-mile trail has an elevation gain of 400 feet. It runs along and crisscrosses the West Fork Creek severally. It passes through magnificent rock formations that were sculpted by the racing waters.
The tall canyon walls and the dense tree cover provide plenty of shade. This alone makes it an ideal choice for hikers all year round including the summer season. Hiking here is quite easy and fun for hikers of all skill levels.
Since you will be crossing creeks from time to time, it is better to opt for water resistant hiking shoes and waterpoof hiking pants. The water here is just a few inches deep though, but you still do not want to get wet.
If you do not want to get your feet wet, you can step on the stepping-stones found along the creek. If you want to explore this amazing hike in Sedona when it is least crowded, go there on a weekday or very early in the morning during summer. Winter is also a good time when there aren’t many people hiking.
5. Little Horse Trail – hike in Sedona
This is a beautiful 3.4-mile trail for hiking in Sedona. To get to this trail from the junction of the 89A and 179 routes in Sedona, take the 179 south and drive for 3.6 miles.
You will then see a paved turnout and the trail parking on the left at the milepost 309.8. This is just 0.2 miles south of the entrance to the United Methodist Church.
This trail has an elevation gain of 393 feet. It’s pretty flat, which provides an easy and moderate hike for hikers of all skill levels.
The trail has areas with stunning wild flowers, beautiful scenic views. It is moderately trafficked and therefore you can be assured that it is never crowded. The good thing is that you are allowed to bring your dog along as long as you keep it on leash.
The trail is quite enjoyable and the scenery is so magnificent. You will enjoy the views of the Cathedral Rock formations and the Courthouse all the way.
The Chicken Point marks the end of this trail. It provides you with a stunning view of the surrounding red rocks from all directions. As a bonus, the trailhead parking lot is big and you are assured of a spot anytime.
6. Courthouse/Bell Rock Trail
The Courthouse and the Bell Rock stand adjacent to each other. These are two of the most incredibly beautiful rocks in Sedona. The Bell Rock got its name from its shape. It resembles a large bell. The Bell Rock hiking trail provides you with an amazing way to enjoy their stunning beauty.
To get there from L’Auberge, turn left on 89A and drive for 0.2 miles. Turn left again on Hwy 179. Drive for 4.7 miles until you arrive at the Courthouse Vista parking lot. From there, walk further ahead for 1.1 miles until you arrive at the Courthouse/Bell Rock. The trail is on your left.
The trail is only 3.5 miles roundtrip, and has a 318 feet elevation gain. It is wide and easy to follow. Since the trail is a bit flat and the elevation gain quite little, hikers of all skill levels are able to hack and enjoy it easily. You may bring your hiking pole all the same.
Due to the spectacular views of the iconic red rock formations, ease of hiking and close proximity to the Village of Oak Creek, this trail is heavily crowded at times.
You are required to have a Red Rock pass before accessing this trail; the pass is easily available on site.
7. Broken Arrow Trail – Best hiking in Sedona
The Broken Arrow trail is one of the best places that you can go hiking in Sedona. Most hikers tend to avoid the trail due to the jeep traffic on the road running parallel to this trail.
The jeep traffic should however never deter you from enjoying the amazing hike in Sedona. You will love the splendor and the beauty surrounding this trail.
The massive red rock formations and the canyons are truly incredible sights to behold. The 3.4-mile trail has an elevation gain of 413 feet can easily be accessed from Phoenix. Just take the I-17 North to AZ-179.
After passing the Village of Oak Creek and the Chapel of the Holy Cross, take a right turn to the Morgan road. It will take you to the trailhead.
The hiking difficulty ranges from easy to moderate, depending on the skill and the age of the hiker. Don’t forget to stop at the Devil’s Dining Room. It is just 0.6 miles from the beginning of the trail, as you head to the Chicken Point – the peak of this trail.
8. The Teacup/Sugarloaf Summit Trail – hiking in Sedona
The Teacup/Sugarloaf Summit found in Buena Vista drive in Sedona Arizona is one of the best hiking trails in the town.
Firstly, it is near the town. You do not need to take a long tiring drive on a dirty bumpy road to get there.
Secondly, it provides you with a view of beautiful scenery without doing any steep uphill climb.
This trail is only 1.8 miles on a round trip, with an elevation gain of just 374 feet. It is pretty flat with little minor inclines. This makes it quite easy for beginners and intermediate hikers.
Along the trail, you will be treated to a view of many beautiful rock formations. All of these rocks are named after the shape they resemble.
In particular, you will have the best view of the Coffeepot Rock that got its name due to its close resemblance to a coffeepot.
If you love challenges, you can also connect this trail with the Sugarloaf Summit trail, which is a 0.2-mile steep climb that will take you to a breathtaking site. From the site, you can see the red rock vistas from any direction.
9. Fay Canyon Trail – easy hiking trails in Sedona
Hiking in Sedona is a lot of fun, as you will see when you get on this trail. It is a 2.4-mile trail located on the Boynton Canyon Road. This is just 30 minutes drive outside town close to the Enchantment Resort.
Fay Canyon is one of the easiest hiking trails in Sedona. It gives you a scenic view of the red rocks, the hanging gardens and spectacular cliff walls.
This trail is ideal for hikers of all abilities sine it has a slight elevation gain of only 190 feet. Beginners, intermediate hikers and even children hikers will enjoy hiking here. This trail is also unique from most of the hiking trails in Sedona. It has a dense tree coverage that provides shade most of the way, which is good for summer. When hiking in summer, pack your portable water filter, you will need to stay hydrated. The sun gets quite hot in Sedona in summer.
During the early morning hours, wild animals are frequently reported in this area. Black bears populate this area. It is never crowded since the locals are mostly the frequent users of this trail.
The end of the trail is marked by a towering rocks and canyon walls on both sides, although you can still wander beyond and climb on the top of the rocks for a more scenic view.
10. Wilson Canyon Trail – hiking in Sedona
The Wilson Canyon Trail begins at the popular Midgley Bridge parking lot of 89A in Sedona. It provides you with a short but a very enjoyable trail to hike in Sedona.
This trail provides you with a 3-mile round hike with an elevation gain of 400 feet. It is very popular in Sedona because of the amazing photo scenes. The magnificent red rocks and access to various beautiful spots can make this trail crowded during weekends and summer.
In addition, the parking lots are usually full by mid morning. Ensure you arrive early enough to secure a spot.
Do not forget to pack your swimming costume because the Oak Creek is just a short distance away. You will have the chance to take a refreshing swim under the hot summer sun.
The trail is rather flat thus easy to stroll through the Red Rock Secret wilderness. The Arizona cypress and the shrub oaks provide you with plenty of shade when hiking in Sedona in the warmer seasons.
11. Marg’s Draw Hiking Trail
The Marg’s Draw Trail is another stunning hike, which is conveniently located in Sombart Lane, close to Sedona. This trail can also be accessed from the Broken Arrow trailhead, from the Sombart Lane.
The trail provides you with 2.0-mile round trip hike. It has an elevation gain of 100 feet, which makes it easy for hikers of all skill levels. The trail offers you some of the most incredible views of the snoopy red rocks. The best thing about it is that it is never crowded.
Although the trail does not have a lot of shade, you will still have a chance to see many amazing desert plants. These include plenty of green, succulent cacti. The hike here is fun for the entire family including the kids. You are also allowed to bring along your dog. Just make sure you keep him on a leash.
12. Cathedral Rock Trail
Sedona is endowed with many hiking trails. It can be quite hard to single out the absolute best trail from the rest. However, the iconic Cathedral Rock Trail has something unique that hikers cannot ignore. Maybe it is the name, or the physique. It is a great hike in Sedona.
It is located halfway down the Back O’ Beyond road off highway 179, between the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona. This trail provides you with a 1-mile round trip. It has an elevation gain of 550 feet.
This famous trail provides hikers with magnificent views of the Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock and Mogollon Rim. You will also be treated to incredible views of the picturesque vistas in the landscape once you arrive at the saddle. This trail is also home to the popular energy vortexes. Be ready to be inspired.
Although the trail has some relatively flat areas, some of its sections are steep and quite scary. You will have to use your hands and legs. If you are ready to test your nerves, you can follow the thin ledge that is along the right side as you cling carefully to the mountainside but do not attempt this if you are not brave enough.
Is January a good time to visit Sedona?
You bet it is. If you can hike in Sedona in December, you can sure hike on the trails that we have outlined here in January, and even February. It will be cold, but compared to other places that receive serious snow in the winter, Sedona is indeed a paradise in January.
Before you go hiking in Sedona in January, please note a few things as below:
- Wait until mid-day when the frost will have cleared from the trails
- The temperatures are usually higher in the mid-day sometimes even as high 70 degrees F.
- Expect some snow, so do have a nice gear list for hiking in cold weather
Does it snow in Sedona in January?
Yes it snows in Sedona in January. However, you can still go hiking as most of the trails are usually open. Do not go hiking blindly though. Check the weather forecasts for the next few days, dress warmly and remember to take something hot with you for drinking.
The temperatures in January and February can run into a range of 60 to 70 degrees F during the mid-day hours. But this is not guaranteed, that is why you ought to check the forecast.
To the question whether it snows in Sedona in January, the answer is yes, it does. However, the good news is that it usually snows at night. You can still hike during the day.
Is February a good time to visit Sedona?
You bet it is. February is mid-winter in Sedona, but surprisingly, the weather is still very amiable at this time. For example, the temperatures during the day rarely fall below 7 degrees Celsius and they hardly rise above 22 degrees Celsius. This still makes Sedona one of the top winter hiking destinations in the USA. Just make sure you wear warm hiking gear as below:
How many days do you need to see Sedona?
Sedona is too exciting for you to dedicate just one or two days to it. There are a lot of interesting natural features such as the Grand Canyon and others. Set aside about 5 days to see this place, hike and do much more. Still, even the five days will not be enough, but they are better.
Which is the coldest month in Sedona?
The coldest month in Sedona is January with temperatures ranging in the lows of 45 degrees F. In Celsius, that is about 7. Now, compare that to a place like Yosemite National Park in California which also has incredible trails and you will see why Sedona is the best place to hike in winter. In Yosemite, the January temperature can experience a low of -3.5 degrees Celsius.
Why choose to hike in Sedona?
In the entire US, there are many picturesque places to hike. They include California, South Carolina and elsewhere. However, hiking in Sedona is superb for many reasons. You want to be in Sedona in December if you love hiking in winter.
Apart from hiking in Sedona, there are many other things to do. Camping in winter is much easier here because the weather is better than in many other places. You may also bring your mountain bike and hit the trails hard.
Above all, the easy hiking trails in Sedona are good for hiking with your kids. You will have an incredible experience that will leave a lasting impression in your minds.