I have lived in many different states across America, so I have experienced the beautiful changing of seasons. There is something magical about leaves changing colors, the heat dissipating, and cool nights. Since the Phoenix valley doesn’t have traditional seasons, I was craving the experience of the change of seasons. One of the closest spots in Arizona to see fall colors is in Sedona. We decided to take a day trip and hit the best Easy Hikes in Sedona.
Not only do I love fall because it’s sweater weather, pumpkin spice season, and warm neutrals are all around, but also because it’s my birthday! We decided this was a perfect getaway for my birthday as well as a mini “babymoon” since I was 6 months pregnant at the time. I, unfortunately, have a lot of lower back pain during pregnancy, so my physical activities become limited. That is why I was determined to still have a fun time in Sedona, but that we would find the best Easy Hikes in Sedona. These hiking trails are great no matter the season you visit, although I do especially love fall in Sedona!
If you are new to our blog, you will know that I LOVE being outside adventuring whenever we get the chance. And that includes with our kids (most of the time). If you are a parent and want tips on How to Raise Adventurous Kids and Good Travelers, check out my post with 6 Simple Tips. If you are preparing for your first time traveling with a little one, you will also want to read my other posts: Baby’s First Flight: What to Expect at the Airport and Dos and Donts of Flying with an Infant.
Easy Hikes in Sedona
If you are going for just a Day Trip to Sedona from Phoenix as we did, you will probably have time to do 2-3 of these hikes at most. And that is if you don’t plan on spending too much time walking around town shopping for unique souvenirs.
1. West Fork Trail of Oak Creek
Length: 6.5 mile out & back
Elevation Gain: 564 ft
I consider Oak Creek an Easy Hike in Sedona because it has very little altitude gain and you can turn back at any time. You can walk in the beautiful canyon for as long as you’d like. Take in the views of the towering red rock canyon walls and thriving forest below. Then take a rest on one of the red rocks to admire the Oak Creek rushing through the canyon.
You will want to come prepared if you plan to do this hike. This is one of the few areas in Sedona where you have to pay to access the trail. They only take cash or check, NO CARD payments are accepted. It is a park ranger monitored lot and is frequently full. If you want to add this easy hike in Sedona to your day trip itinerary, you’ll pay the $11 per vehicle charge to hike here, or $2 a person to walk in.
If the parking lot is full or you forget to bring cash with you, keep driving on 89A for a beautiful scenic ride. As you get closer to Flagstaff, you will gain elevation & there are a few vista points where you can oversee the canyon. It’s a beautiful drive!
2. Sedona Airport Loop Trail
Length: 3.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 416 ft
Since this trail is a loop, you can either complete the full path or just explore as far as you’re comfortable before turning back. There are very few parking spots at the trailhead, so we ended up having to go up the road further and park in the $3 lot at the Sedona Airport Lookout. This added an extra half mile to the loop because we had to walk down to where the trail actually started and go from there.
Since I was trying to be on Easy Hikes in Sedona on this trip, I had my husband go get the car and pick me up at the trailhead to save my back from the extra mileage. This is a popular spot because it is an easy hike as well as one of the 7 well-known energy vortexes in Sedona. You get expansive views of all the surrounding beautiful red rock formations and can find solitude on the trail to connect to the energy here if you’d like.
There is a restaurant at the airport on top of the hill, near the overlook. We walked in to check it out, but ultimately decided to go to our favorite spot in town instead. My husband is in the process of becoming a pilot so he was intrigued to watch the planes taking off. The airport restaurant is a great option if you want to do the same, especially on a day when the weather isn’t favorable outside. It is fully enclosed with huge windows all around so you don’t miss the views while enjoying your meal.
3. Raven Caves
Length: 0.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 55 ft
Probably the easiest hike in Sedona, but definitely worth the stop, is the Raven Caves Trail. Parking for this trail is an easily missed dirt lot on the side of the road. If you follow the directions on All Trails, it will take you right to it. You will know you are in the right spot because it is a small pull off with a wide trail to the left. There is little to no elevation change as you make your way to the caves.
When you reach the large tree before the trail starts to descend, go to the right to access the cave entrance. We were pleasantly surprised when we realized how far we could follow the cave back. There were several openings in the cave with one-of-a-kind views out of each. Since we went in November, the beautiful fall colors were vibrantly beaming back at us through the cave openings. Surrounding red rock formations are also visible. We felt very secluded on this hike and it was a fun experience for such an easy hike in Sedona!
4. Fay Canyon Trail
Length: 2.3 miles
Elevation: 193 ft
You will find the trailhead for Fay Canyon off Boynton Pass Road. This area has many of the best hikes in Sedona! Nearby is Boynton Canyon, Devil’s Bridge, and the Birthing Cave. Those are much more challenging hikes if you are up for it. This area of Sedona is out of the downtown area. You will feel enveloped in the beauty of Sedona visiting Fay Canyon Trail.
Fay Canyon is a great Easy Hike in Sedona because of the minimal elevation gain. Since it is another canyon hike, you will be surrounded by walls of mysteriously red rock. Halfway through the hike, there is an arch you can climb up to. But, that is a much more difficult trail. Staying in the canyon you will see beautiful views and lots of natural foliage. We were here as the sun went down, and caught a gorgeous sunset view.
5. Bell Rock
Length: 0.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 203 ft
Bell Rock is a very popular easy hike in Sedona. As one of the first impressive hikes that is easily reachable off the road leading into downtown Sedona, it is worth the stop. You can hike either side of Bell Rock, as well as mountain bike! There will be plenty of other people to share the trail with, but you will get an upclose experience of the vibrantly red rock that is so characteristic of Sedona, Arizona.
This hike does have 200 feet of elevation gain if you follow it all the way up the rock, but you can also just walk around the base. Either way, you will see fascinating views that pictures just don’t do justice. Bell Rock is also the site of one of the 7 energy vortexes in Sedona. With areas of flat ground, you might see people on the rocks doing meditation or yoga in effort to connect with this supernatural power. This is an easy stop on your way in or out of town!
How We Spent our Day Trip to Sedona
Luckily we have family members nearby in the Phoenix Valley who love to help out with our toddler-aged daughter. We dropped her off at their house around 8am and headed up to Sedona for the day. Sedona averages 2.5 hours away from the Phoenix area, depending on what part of the Valley you are coming from. It is an easy drive up the I-17, as long as there isn’t holiday traffic or an accident along the way!
We immediately drove to our first hike for the day which was *supposed to be* Oak Creek Trail. We parked down the road from the parking lot since it was full and walked to the ranger station. It was there that we learned they didn’t accept card payments and we didn’t have a check or any cash on us. Since we would have had to drive back into town and get cash out somewhere, we decided we will come back for West Fork at Oak Creek some other time.
Easy Hikes in Sedona We Did
Although we didn’t get to hike West Fork, the drive along Oak Creek is absolutely beautiful. Especially with the fall foliage. This is always one of my favorite roads to drive along because it is stunning. If you are exhausted after a long day of hiking, but still want to see one last exquisite sight, you can take this relaxing drive.
Next, we drove over to the Sedona Airport Loop, but there wasn’t any parking at the trailhead. So we had to drive up a little further to the lookout and pay $3 to park. Then we walked down to the trailhead which adds about half a mile to the trail. Since this first part of the trail was at a decline, my pregnant belly started feeling gravity’s pull a lot quicker. We walked around the loop to see the views, as well as climbed the summit. I had my husband go get the car while I sat in solitude, admiring the view and absorbing the energy there.
Where to Eat in Sedona
As I mentioned above, there is a restaurant there at the Sedona Airport if you want that experience! We could have easily gone up there since we were already parked nearby, but we decided to go back into town for lunch. Hideaway House is my top recommendation for the perfect lunch spot in Sedona. A small Italian eatery with great drink options and the most incredible views. Since we were there celebrating my birthday, they even gave me a free dessert which was the best tiramisu I’ve ever tasted. Other yummy spots I’d recommend are Outlaw Burger and Tortas de Fuego. These are both slightly less expensive options.
After letting our food settle, we swung by the Raven Caves. I had never been there before or even heard of it prior to this trip. But as I mentioned, this is definitely worth the 0.5 mile hike. It was a fun ending to our Day Trip to Sedona! And it was by far the easiest hike in Sedona I have been on! It did not disappoint. We headed home around 4pm. We wanted to be back for dinner with our family & to put our daughter to bed. If we really wanted to though, we could have squeezed in one last short hike on our way out, like Bell Rock.
Sedona has so much to offer, even if you only visit for the day. It is a great option for a babymoon because there are plenty of easy hikes in Sedona as well as great shopping and food. The rejuvenating energy of this wondrous landscape is unparalleled.