If you are looking for a change of scenery and a way to get out of the house, northern Arizona offers some truly majestic trails to explore both along the Rim and near Sedona.
1. Horton Creek Trail is located just north of Payson. This trail takes you along the creek and features a waterfall. It is rated moderate, but my daughter and I found it fairly easy. It is 8.5 miles out and back with an elevation gain of 2,431 feet. Absolutely stunning views and accessible most of the year. Dogs are allowed and should remain on a leash. This is one of our favorite spots along the rim has it has so much to offer!
2. Pine Creek Trail at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park just to the west of Payson is a definite must see, although it can be a bit touristy! The trail is rated moderate and accessible year around. This trail is a mile long loop with an elevation change of about 259 feet. There may be water and rocks can be slippery. Always be sure to watch your step and wear good shoes!
There is also a short Waterfall Trail there that is only 300 feet and ends at a waterfall cave. We made sure to hit this on our way out to help us cool down and I recommend you do the same.
3. Boynton Canyon Trail is located just outside Sedona and is about 6 miles out and back with an 810 foot elevation gain. This trail quickly became a favorite of mine due to the variety of scenery. It starts out in the desert among the red rock and you end up in a heavily treed canyon where the temperature is noticeably lower!It is rated easy and is perfect for all skill levels.
In case you aren’t ready for a 6 mile hike, the Boynton Vista Trail is perfect for you! It is just over a mile out and back with only an elevation gain of 134 feet. Rated moderate because you do a little bit of climbing towards the end, but nothing crazy and it’s absolutely worth it. We were fortunate enough to see a flute player at the top of the vortex. It was absolutely magical.
4. Fay Canyon Trail is located fairly close to the Boynton Trails. It is 2.6 miles with a 383 foot elevation gain and can get crowded at times. It offers plenty of shade, is rated easy, open year around, and allows dogs. This trail was a favorite of Chloe’s as it wasn’t too long and then provided her with the perfect climbing spot to explore at the end. Not to mention the views were epic!
5. Devils Bridge is a beautiful 4.2 mile hike with a 564 foot elevation gain also located near Sedona. It is a heavily trafficked trail and is rated moderate on all trails although I would rate it a little more on the difficult side. The views are incredible and the scenery is breathtaking. There will most likely be a line to get a photo out on the bridge, but I assure you it is worth the wait. Try to park as close to the actual trail head as possible to avoid adding an additional mile or two to your hike.
6. Bell Rock is a fairly short hike at a little over a mile with a 318 foot elevation gain. It offers some incredible scenic views and is quite neat. Chloe and I quite enjoyed this one during her birthday trip. Easy to find, allows dogs, and open year around as well, but with little shade.
7. Cathedral Rock Trail is a little more difficult. It is a 1.2 mile heavily trafficked trail with an elevation gain of 744 feet. This trails does allow for a little rock climbing if that is something you are looking for. This trail, like all the rest, offers mesmerizing views of the red rock landscape.
Remember, just because it might not be 110 degrees outside doesn’t mean you don’t still need to be prepared. Be sure to pack plenty of water, take a hat and wear sun glasses, lube up with sunscreen that has SPF, have a small first aid kit, take snacks, and of course don’t forget that hand sanitizer and to keep your distance while hiking.
*Due to COVID-19, some trail-heads/ recreation sites may be closed. So please be sure to check your local listings before hitting the trails.