As winter wraps Sedona in its serene embrace, the area’s enchanting landscapes transform into a hiker’s paradise, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, a moderate climate, and fewer crowds than during the fall or spring months. With daytime temperatures typically in the 50s or 60s, abundant sunshine, and the possibility of snow dusting the majestic red rock formations, December through February are ideal for exploring the area’s stunning terrain.
Must-Explore Hiking Trails in Sedona
With numerous different hiking and biking trails across the greater Sedona area, it can be difficult to decide where to start. Here are just a few popular options to consider:
- West Fork Trail. Offering a 6.6-mile roundtrip journey through the Coconino National Forest, West Fork Trail features 13 river crossings and a unique subway tunnel-like formation at various points. The trail, with an elevation gain of approximately 500 feet, is rated as easy to moderate, requiring 3-4 hours to complete.
- Soldier Pass Trail. Rated as moderately difficult, this 4.5-mile trail with a total elevation gain of 800 feet encompasses three notable landmarks: the Seven Sacred Pools, a sinkhole called Devil’s Kitchen, and the Soldier Pass Cave.
- Cathedral Rock. Although relatively short at 1.2 miles, this famous hike can be more challenging as it may require some scrambling at different points. However, you will be rewarded with striking panoramic views and an up-close look at one of Sedona’s most iconic rock formations.
Accessing the Trailheads
In 2022, the City of Sedona launched the Sedona Shuttle as part of a larger transportation initiative intended to alleviate congestion, improve safety, and preserve Sedona’s beauty and livability. The shuttle offers a free, easy, and eco-friendly way to explore some of Sedona’s favorite trails by providing transportation from three Park and Ride lots to popular trailheads. Specifically, the shuttle transports passengers between the following locations:
- North SR 179 Park and Ride (1294 SR 179) with service to Cathedral Rock Trailhead and Little Horse Trailhead
- Posse Grounds Park and Ride (20 Carruth Dr. in West Sedona) with service to Soldier Pass Trailhead and Dry Creek Trailhead
- West SR 89-A (905 Upper Red Rock Loop Road) with service to Mescal Trailhead and Dry Creek Trailhead
The Sedona Shuttle runs Thursday through Sunday, 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., with additional service on select holidays and during the spring break season. For more information, visit https://sedonashuttle.com.
Guided Hikes from Sedona Philosophy
If you’re seeking an insightful journey with expert guidance, our friends at Sedona Philosophy offer a variety of incredible guided hikes that blend the physical trek with philosophical musings. Current offerings include:
- Introduction to Sedona – Easy Walk: A gentle 1-2 mile walk lasting about two hours.
- Thinking Like a Mountain – Moderate to Advanced: Spanning 2-5 miles and lasting about 2.5-3 hours, this hike offers a deeper connection with nature.
- Sedona Sunrise, Sunset, Moonlight, or Starlight Hikes: These unique 1-3 mile hikes, each taking 2-2.5 hours, let you experience Sedona’s beauty under different lights.
- Stretching Your Body and Mind – Sedona Yoga Tour: This experience is a unique blend of hiking and yoga, lasting 2-2.5 hours and covering up to 2 miles.
Your Retreat in the Heart of Sedona
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or you’re just looking to take a casual stroll in nature, Sedona’s winter trails promise an unforgettable journey amidst one of America’s most breathtaking landscapes. After a day of adventure, El Portal offers a cozy retreat for guests (and their pets!) to relax, reflect, and recharge.
If you’re considering Sedona as a destination this winter, we are pleased to currently be offering a limited-time special! When you stay two nights between December 1 and Dec. 20, 2023 or January 8 and Jan. 28, 2024, get your third and fourth nights HALF OFF! This offer applies to select rooms only—call us at 800-313-0017 to book your stay!