The intriguing landscape of Sedona, Arizona hosts a series of hikes that are worth lacing up your shoes for. In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about hiking to Devil’s Bridge in Sedona.
Hiking to Devil’s Bridge in Sedona, Arizona
Overview: This hike to the largest sandstone arch in the region will weave down a moderately challenging trail lined with cacti and other native bush life. It’s a great hike for those who don’t want to spend all day out on the trail, but still want to experience one of Sedona’s iconic highlights.
Distance: If starting from main trailhead: 2 miles round-trip. You can also hike to Devil’s Bridge from the Chuckwagon Trail (6 miles round-trip) or Mescal Trail (4 miles round-trip). Note that you will need a 4×4 to start from the main trailhead.
Difficulty: Moderate. The trail climbs 400 feet in elevation, most of it done on a short and steep rock pathway just before Devil’s Bridge.
Entry fee: Hikers will need a Red Rock Pass to access this hike ($5).
Before you go: Devil’s Bridge is one of the most popular hikes in Sedona. Expect that others will be wanting to hike it too. Go early in the morning for your best shot at being the first footprints across the top of Devil’s Bridge. (Save the Cathedral Rock hike for sunset.) The Devil’s Bridge hike is overall kid-friendly, but you may have to help them up the steep 400-foot ascent to the Devil’s Bridge viewpoint.
Is it safe to walk across Devil’s Bridge? The top of Devil’s Bridge is wider than images make it seem. There are no rails on the sides of the arch and you will need to watch your step as you go across. If there is someone already on the arch, wait for them to come back before walking across yourself. If you have a strong fear of heights, I recommend that you avoid walking across the arch and admire it from the top of the trail (near the arch entrance) instead. If you want a photo, most hikers are happy to take a picture of you at the top of the bridge in exchange for one themselves.
You will need a 4×4 vehicle to confidently access the main trailhead found on road F 152. Otherwise, park at Dry Creek Vista parking lot to reach Devil’s Bridge via the Chuckwagon Trail (6 mi round-trip) or park on Long Canyon Road for a 4 mi round-trip hike via the Mescal Trail.
Parking areas for the Mescal Trailhead and Chuckwagon Trail are found on Long Canyon Road.
Bianca and I woke up before sunrise in an attempt to reach Devil’s Bridge before the midday crowds. We parked on at the Chuckwagon Trailhead and set out into the red landscape accented with yucca and cacti along the trails.
The air felt crisp and light. Hot air balloons in the distance rose with the sun, drifting above the mesas. As we walked, fine red dust stuck to my skin. Rock crags guided us in the right direction, and we leisurely walked from one bend to the next. The skyline changed from flat scrubland with a handful of lonely buttes and mesas punctuating the skyline on one side of the trail to jagged sandstone cliffs on the other.
Eventually, we reached the 4×4 trail that connects Chuckwagon Trail to the main Devil’s Bridge trail. This funneled other hikers onto a wider trail and it became noticeably more crowded. Eventually, we reached the steep rocky trail that led up to the top of Devil’s Bridge–the most challenging part of the journey.
At the top, we admired the crimson arch from a new vantage point. A small crowd patiently waited for their turn to stand atop Devil’s Bridge. One height-phobic teenager was too afraid to cross, and therefore tasked with being everyone’s personal photographer–including ours.
If you’re looking to explore remote wilderness where the only footsteps you’re bound to hear are your own, the Devil’s Bridge hike might not be ideal. Despite the crowds, Devil’s Bridge is one of the best things to do in Sedona and worth the quick round-trip trek to see a natural feature that’s well worth its famous reputation.
Because the Devil’s Bridge trail is so crowded, I recommend starting from the Chuckwagon or Mescal trailheads to get a few scenic and quiet miles under your shoes. If you start as close as possible to the Devil’s Bridge trailhead as possible, you might find the hike more of a Disneyland-like experience.