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Sedona, Arizona, is known for its riveting red rock views, mystical and magical “vortex” sites, mountainous landscape, endless blue skies, and multitude of hiking trails to easily explore the area. But what if you aren’t a super great hiker or don’t have much time? I gotchu — here’s my list of 5 awesome short hikes in Sedona that’ll blow your freakin’ mind!

5 short hikes in Sedona, Arizona that will blow your freakin' mind, including Boynton Vortex, Devil's Bridge, Airport Mesa Loop, Cathedral Rock, and Palatki Ruins!

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Earlier this year, I spent 3 incredible days with my mom and sister exploring Sedona and everything it had to offer!

We wandered about town, stopping in at every crystal, souvenir, and quirky shop on the main drag; filled our bellies at all the best vegan-friendly restaurants, learned about the captivating history of the surrounding land (including the mystical “vortexes”), and — of course — got in our daily steps by hitting the trails!

As we aren’t the most athletic or in-shape group of gals, we opted for both somewhat easy + short hikes near Sedona to get the most out of the little time we had in the area and to not completely exhaust ourselves.

So, if you’re like us and aren’t one of those Lululemon-wearing-exercise-junkies with an unlimited amount of stamina and infinite energy, head out on one of these easy Sedona hiking trails that’ll blow your mind!

5 FANTASTIC SHORT HIKES IN SEDONA, ARIZONA

Boynton Vortex

BOYNTON VORTEX QUICK STATS:

  • Trailhead: click here
  • Hike Length: ~1 mile round trip
  • Total Elevation Gain: ~200 ft
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Type of Trail: out & back

Truth be told, I think this hike is severely underrated! As many Sedona visitors tend to opt for Cathedral Rock (which is still awesome — more on that below) or Red Rock Crossing.

A super short and relatively easy hike — featuring only a mildly difficult climb up to the last part of the trail — the Boynton Vortex trail boasts a more unique characteristic that other hikes in the area don’t…

An amazing man named Robert who literally sits on top of the red-sandstone rock tower/vortex at the trail end and plays songs from a wooden flute!

Sophie standing in front of "Boynton Vortex", where you can see Robert sitting on top of the red rock formation.

For the past 8 years or so, he’s been coming to Boynton Vortex everyday to play his songs for Mother Earth.

It’s magical. And — if you get a chance to see and hear him, as he’s only here during certain times of the day — an experience you’re not likely to forget!

Though, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is the Boynton Canyon hike! Because it’s not.

While the trailhead is the same, instead of venturing out on the 6-mile long hike that is Boynton Canyon, this is the Boynton Vista / Vortex that specifically heads only to the energy vortex site.

Views from Boynton Vortex featuring red rocks and canyons.

If you’re on the trail, you’ll come to a fork in the road; Boynton Canyon heads left, while Boynton Vista heads right (hint: you’re going to want to go right).

Although, just because this is the shorter hike, it’s still just as amazing! And absolutely perfect for those looking for an easy hiking trail near Sedona. (My family and I loved it!)

Views overlooking the Sedona valley, featuring green trees, blue mountains, and gorgeous red rocks.

Devil’s Bridge

**Personally, the easiest way to find great parking and have a nicer, quieter hike to Devil’s Bridge is to go via the Mescal Trail + Chuck Wagon Trail.**

DEVIL’S BRIDGE VIA MESCAL TRAIL + CHUCK WAGON QUICK STATS:

  • Trailhead: click here (Mescal Trailhead)
  • Hike Length: ~4 mile round trip
  • Total Elevation Gain: ~480 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Type of Trail: out & back

Without a doubt, Devil’s Bridge is the most popular hike in Sedona — and for good reason!

Ridiculously epic views, cliffside drops that’ll make your heart skip a beat, breathtaking natural rock formations (like a completely natural rock staircase!), and an adventure you’ll never forget, Devil’s Bridge is high on many travelers’ must-do hikes in Sedona list!

Sophie and her sister, Joslyn, sitting on the Devil's Bridge.

As mentioned above, I wholeheartedly recommend you start your hike at Mescal Trailhead and go from there to Devil’s Bridge via the Mescal and Chuck Wagon Trail.

Why?

Because the regular Devil’s Bridge Parking Lot is actually just on the main road (and it’s not very pretty going from there to the trailhead).

Thus, you’ll find it’s much quieter at the Mescal Trailhead, with more parking and less crowds! Sounds pretty good, eh?

(Click here to read my full guide on hiking via Mescal + Chuck Wagon Trail.)

Another great part about this hike is that it’s a incredibly easy to follow! The path is impeccably marked and you shouldn’t ever get lost (not ot mention, there’s always people on the trail to follow if you DO get confused).

When you get near the trail end, you’ll begin to climb pretty quickly but don’t fret! The heights may be a bit high but it’s easy to scramble (aka climb with your hands) to the top.

Plus, it’s incredibly worth it! The views are stunning.

So, if you’re ready to challenge yourself a bit and experience one of the best hikes in Sedona, have a go at trying the Devil’s Bridge hike.

Wanderful Tip: This hike also has access to water! Which means if you bring my favorite filtering water bottle, aka the GRAYL, you can fill up on some fresh water and fill your hiking pals bottle’s too! Get your own here.

Blue skies, red rocks, mountains, and lush desert plants are featured in this photo of the Sedona landscape.

Airport Mesa Loop Trail

AIRPORT MESA LOOP TRAIL QUICK STATS:

  • Trailhead: click here
  • Hike Length: ~3.3 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: ~320 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Type of Trail: loop trail

With stunning panoramic views of the surround rock formations and the city down below, this is hands down one of the best sunset hikes in Sedona!

When the setting sun hits the red sandstone rock, it’s as if the mountains light on fire. And when the sky turns into a kaleidoscope of pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, and blues, you don’t be able to keep your mouth closed — as this experience is literally jaw-dropping.

Sunset at Airport Mesa Loop with a sky of deep blues, purples, and vibrant pinks, with mountains off in the distance.

Not to mention, Airport Mesa Loop is one of the hikes in Sedona with access to one of 4 magical “vortexes”, which is an area of concentrated energy rising from the earth.

While you might not feel anything, some hikers claim to experience a shift in energy that manifests into slight tingling of the skin, a feeling of higher vibrations throughout the body, or a sense of peace!

Cool, right?

The actual hike itself is pretty dang easy and will likely take around 1.5 hours, depending on how much you stop to take a break, photos, etc.

Furthermore, don’t forget to pack sunscreen! This hike is particularly exposed to the strong Arizona sun so this is an essential item to pack for your hike.

To see my favorite brands of chemical-free, zero waste sunscreen, check out this post! (It’s focused on Bali but these are great sunscreens for any warm destination!)

Sunset time while overlooking the town of Sedona from Airport Mesa Loop, one of the easier hikes in the area.

Palatki Heritage Site Ruins

PALATKI HERITAGE SITE HIKE QUICK STATS:

  • Trailhead: click here
  • Hike Length: ~0.9 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: ~157 ft
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Type of Trail: out & back

One of THE best historic hikes near Sedona, trekking to the Palatki ruins is both easy and ridiculously cool!

Located in Coconino National Park, just outside of Sedona, the Palatki Heritage Site features ancient pictographs and petroglyphs, as well as historic Native American ruins showing where the people used to live and how they utilized the area.

Ancient pictographs at the Palatki Heritage Site.

As someone who loves this type of history, I was totally mesmerized by the Palatki ruins and ancient dwellings!

The hike itself isn’t much of a hike — more like a walk. And it’s a guided walk as well with one of the volunteer park rangers.

With that said, if this site sounds like something you’d like to experience while in Sedona, definitely call ahead and make a reservation!

The park rangers only take a certain number of visitors each tour and it can get packed during busy season.

The ancient dwelling site of the historic Palatki Heritage Site.
Ancient dwellings at the Palatki Heritage Site.

Cathedral Rock

CATHEDRAL ROCK TRAIL QUICK STATS:

  • Trailhead: click here
  • Hike Length: ~1.2 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: ~744 ft
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Type of Trail: out & back

With wildly good views of alien-looking red rock formations and the opportunity to visit one of the mystical Sedona vortexes, Cathedral Rock Trail without a doubt one of the most popular short hikes near Sedona that attracts swarms of adventurists.

Though Cathedral Rock hike isn’t as easy as others mentioned on this list, it’s remarkably short at just 1.2 miles roundtrip and is so worth the effort to get to the top!

You’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the surrounding Sedona area that will blow your freakin’ mind.

Keep in mind, that while this hike is short, it’s not really suitable for small children, elderly, or inexperienced trekkers!

There are many steep places that would make anyone’s heart skip a beat — thus, a bit of hiking experience is recommended, as well as good hiking boots (though good, supportive tennis shoes are also okay if that’s all you have).

You can find my favorite hiking boots here and my favorite tennis shoes here.

The views of Cathedral Rock with the sunlight hitting the red rock, lighting it up as though it's on fire.
Image by David Sunfellow from Pixabay

As someone who has visited Sedona a few times now, these are most definitely my personal favorite short hikes in the area!

Though, no matter which you choose to venture out on, you’re going to have a spectacular experience that’ll no doubt blow your freakin’ mind.

Are you planning a trip here and looking for the best short hikes in Sedona? Did any of these catch your eye? Or, on the flip side, have you went out on one of these hikes? If so, what was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Sophie xx


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Are you traveling to Sedona, AZ, soon and need some help planning your hikes in the area? Try one (or more!) of these 5 mind-blowing short, easy hikes in Sedona! From Devil's Bridge to Boynton Vortex, these little treks will help you see the best of the Sedona area. #sedona #arizona #usa #unitedstates #hiking #travel
Ready to be blown away by the red rocks, mountain views, and wildly good hikes in Sedona, Arizona? Lace up your hiking shoes and head out on one of these 5 short, easy hikes in Sedona to see the best of the area! #sedona #arizona #usa #hiking #tips #travel #unitedstates #trek

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