Hike Sedona ~ Cathedral Rock Trail

The Most Photographed Formation in Sedona

Hike Sedona ~ Cathedral Rock Trail

Trail Description

Awe-inspiring. Magnificent. Breathtaking. These are a few of the words that adequately describe the most photographed landscape in Sedona.

This trail puts Cathedral Rock under your feet. To get to the highest hiking point you must be in the mood for a quick ascension up an arduous path. Or you could just take a short hike up to the first vista. Either way, to experience the "vortex energy" so many speak of this is the trail. The views are expansive and breathtaking.

The Cathedral Rock trailhead is off of a road called Back-O-Beyond. Back-O-Beyond is a road off of Highway 179. The trailhead is approximately 1 mile from the highway. Parking is limited. (Upcoming Blog)

From the parking lot walk to the signs and pick up the trail that leads across a dry creek. After approximately 150 feet of ascension you will reach a beautiful Vista. This area is where many locals will celebrate with drumming circles and dancing the night of the full moon. (Upcoming Blog on Full Moon Ceremonies)

The views from here are stunning and a perfect place to rest for those who decide to continue to hike to the top.

From here you will continue a short distance to the intersection of Templeton Trail. Stay right. Then in a few yards turn left at the trail markers and leave Templeton Trail. This is where the trail starts getting steep. There will be few places that you will need "scrambling" to climb up some rock faces. There are strategically chiseled toe holds cut into the rock to help. It is a challenge, but I've seen seventy-year olds do it. Know your limits, then push them just a bit, at your own risk.

Keep your eyes open for the trailmarkers, or cairns (rocks in cages about 2 feet high). Most cairns are placed in areas where the trail direction is less obvious.

The trail will continue towards the two main spires near the top of Cathedral Rock. When you do reach the top of the trail you will enjoy some of the magnificent elevated views in all of Sedona!

This area is "eye candy" for the soul, complete with multiple "flavors." Have your camera ready.

There is an opportunity to walk out onto a wide ledge with sheer cliffs. Another area allows you to play around near the "baby spire," which is actually quite large.

We recommend taking plenty of water, some hearty snacks to enjoy at the top and plenty of time.

This is a strenuous hike, so bring the proper shoes, sunscreen and/or hats (this is a hot hike in the summer!). It will take about an hour to hike each way at an average pace. Make sure you schedule in time to enjoy the views up top.


(Auxiliary Note)

The majority of the photographs you see of Cathedral Rock are taken from the Red Rock State Park area near the creek. This is the place to see it from a distance and take pictures for perspective on the three spires and saddles. The walk is leisurely and along the creek to an opening that feels more like a "red-rock" dancing floor. This is where you may see an occasional wedding party. Most always at sunset you will see a photographer trying to get the perfect shot.

We suggest going at sunset with a camera, wine and cheese. Perfect!


Difficulty Level

Difficult to Moderate

Points of Interest

Spires, Full Moon Ceremonies, Vortex, Incredible Views

Average Hike Time

Approximately 2 hours.

Sedona Hike Features

Vortex, Creek, Vista, Spires

Elevation Change

Approximately 600 feet