Sedona Arizona is a true hikers paradise. The Red Rock network of trails is massive, well marked and well maintained. We preferred these trails to other, more off the beaten path trails, because they were easy to navigate and often highlighted the best views and vistas of the Sedona area.
If you’re heading to Arizona for a family getaway, here are three of the best hikes for kids in Sedona.
Mystic Mountain Trail
This trail was literally right outside of our front door of our vacation rental.
Also a mountain bike trail, you’ll walk along a single track trail. While the actual trail is relatively short, only about one mile, there are several in the area that veer off the Mystic trail. Combining Mystic Mountain Trail with the Broken Arrow Trail is a great loop option.
The overall elevation gain is minimal, and while it’s not steep the trail rolls in a way that will be fun for everyone in the family. The views from this trail are amazing too!
Don’t miss the Chapel of the Holy Cross while you’re here. You’ll likely see the striking cross as you drive towards the trail head, but simply walk up the road about 5 minutes to get to the church. It’s free and well worth the hike up hill to check it out!
Getting there: Take the main highway 179 south of Sedona town to Chapel Hill Road. This is north of the village of Oak Creek. The trailhead is just north of Chapel Hill Road at Antelope Drive.
Bell Tower Trail
Bell Tower is considered one of the most prominent sites. That, combined with iconic, picturesque views and a really fun scramble up the side of a rock, makes this one of the most popular hikes in Sedona.
Here’s what you need to know about the Bell Tower Trail hike.
The trail is 3 ½ miles in total, and technically links the town of Oak Creek with Sedona. The trail is relatively flat, and offers stunning views of Bell Tower, Cathedral Rock and, from higher up on the rock, views of the entire Sedona area.
Getting there: Take Highway 179 south from Sedona town, and look for a gravel turnoff just after the United Methodist Church on your left. If this parking lot is full, there are two more you can try, each about a mile away from one another heading towards Oak Creek on the left side of the road.
Unlike the previous two hikes, Boynton Canyon is a true box canyon and offers a different, unique perspective of Sedona. Here’s what you need to know about the Boynton Canyon Hike in Sedona.
The beauty found among these towering buttes, crimson cliffs, and natural desert gardens is divine.
The trail starts out running adjacent to the Enchantment Resort. But after about one mile you’ll leave the resort area and walk along the bottom of the canyon. We loved noting the wide variety of plants that live here, often dramatically different than we saw on other Sedona hikes.
You’ll likely see plenty of bird life, and even a white tail deer if you’re lucky!
The best parts of this trail are at the beginning (the Kachina Woman rock formation) and the end (the cool back of the canyon with ponderosa pines). In between there is a less scenic stretch, that seems to take forever on hot days, along the security fence of a resort – meaning that this isn’t the greatest choice for a summer hike.
It’s also worth noting that this area was also home to prehistoric Indians thousands of years ago. On the other side of the canyon you can visit the Indian Ruins where the Hononki people lived as recent as 800 years ago. (We visited on a Pink Jeep Tour but you can also visit independently.)
The trail is 2.8 miles, plus about .2 to get to the trail head, making this a 6 mile trail round trip out and back. It begins on a wide trail, moves on to a tame rock scramble, moves on to a flat river bed walk with a variety of foliage along the way, and end with a spectacular, steep climb up boulders to finish. Whatever you do, do not turn around before the end of the trail. If my 5-year old can make it so can you! The ultimate reward for your hike is stunning, red cliffs and a beautiful spot to sit, relax and enjoy a snack before the return hike. The return hike will be much faster than the way up as it’s all down hill.
Getting there: The trailhead is easily accessible via paved roads outside of Sedona.
COST: for all of these you’ll need a parking pass, which is $5 for the day or $15 for the week. Go for the weekly pass if you’re in the area, all parking on the main trails is paid, so this is your best bet.
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