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  • Writer's pictureDan Wagner

Hike to Sedona's Devil's Bridge

If you're interested in a drop-dead gorgeous sunrise hike in Sedona, look no further than a trip out to Devil's Bridge. What's arguably the most popular hiking destination in the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness Area and one of the the best hikes in Sedona, the views atop Devil's Bridge before and during the golden hour are exceptional. There are multiple routes to access Devil's Bridge, but for this article we'll focus on hiking from the Mescal Trailhead along Long Canyon Rd. The four mile out-and-back is the shortest route to Devil's Bridge (tied with the high clearance only Dry Creek Rd), ponies up drop-dead gorgeous views, and is often less crowded than others leading to the bridge. It's also the most scenic in our opinion.

Devil's Bridge Sedona

Trailhead elevation 4,494'

Water None

Don't miss The view of Devil's Bridge from underneath

Hiking to Devil's Bridge

There are two trailhead parking lots, a twelve car lot on the east side of Long Canyon Rd and a new forty car lot on the west side. You'll find the Mescal Trailhead off the east side of the road. The trail starts off surrounded by lush vegetation - twisted juniper, prickly pear cactus, sagebrush, yucca, Ponderosa pine, etc. Within a quarter mile you'll reach a signed trail junction with the Chuckwagon Trail, which you'll pick up and follow for a mile before reaching the Dry Creek Rd parking area. Here you'll find a map kiosk and sign for the Devil's Bridge Trail, which you'll follow for the remainder of the hike up.

Devil's Bridge Sedona

Within a third of a mile from the Dry Creek Rd parking area you'll encounter a really cool rock cairn field on the right side of the trail.

Devil's Bridge Sedona

The trail begins to narrow after this and soon after you'll encounter a split in the trail with a trail marker indicating to stay left.

Devil's Bridge Sedona

From here the trail starts to wind up the mountain along a series of stone stair switchbacks. You'll pick up roughly 200' in elevation in less than two tenths of a mile and it's really the only part of the trail where your legs will feel the elevation gain. This is also where crowds start to bottleneck, but if you're out for sunrise you shouldn't have any slow downs here. A little more than half way up the ascent you'll encounter a small overlook that has a decent view, but nothing that compares to what's ahead.

At the top of the switchbacks, a flat-ish area leads to the fifty-four foot tall, forty-five foot long Devil's Bridge. As you approach the bridge you'll have views of the large rock formation known as Soldier Heights to your left and in front of you Brins Butte can be seen far off in the distance. We recommend getting up to the bridge about twenty to thirty minutes prior to sunrise to take in the golden hour. The photo below was taken about fifteen minutes before the sun rose over the peaks in the background.

Devil's Bridge Sedona

The view to the west is even more impressive. After the sun breaks the horizon, Mescal Mountain, home of the Birthing Cave, and all the surrounding red rock glows. If you're interested in photographing Devil's Bridge using your phone, make sure to shoot in landscape mode somewhere between standard and wide angle from the spot along the cliffs similar to the photo below. Just don't crouch down when taking your pictures. Doing so will cut off a good portion of the area below the bridge.

Devil's Bridge Sedona

If you have a healthy fear of heights, the walk across Devil's Bridge may give you some issues. It starts off plenty wide, but narrows to about five feet or so in one spot.

To get a view of the bridge from underneath on your way back, there's a faint trail about 0.4 miles from the bridge that you can take to accomplish this. Most people pass it up not knowing it's even there, but keep your eyes peeled to the right and you'll catch it. The short detour will lead to the view below and with a little effort you can get directly underneath the bridge.

Devil's Bridge Sedona

Be forewarned, this is an incredibly popular hike and the crowds are often massive, so if you can swing an early up to get out to the bridge for sunrise that's the way to go. You'll likely still have a handful of people up there with you, but far less than what will be up there an hour later. If you do choose to get out for sunrise definitely bring a headlamp or flashlight. The AllTrails app can also be helpful when hiking this one in the dark, especially around the 1.1 mile mark.

We've hiked every route up to Devil's Bridge - from Deadman's Pass, along Dry Creek Rd, from the Chuckwagon Trailhead, and from the Mescal Trailhead. From the Mescal Trailhead is hands down our favorite. Great views, fewer crowds, by far the best parking situation, and even some shade. If a sunrise hike is in your plans while visiting Sedona don't pass this one up.

If you're interested in a couple other great hikes in the area check out the Subway Cave and Birthing Cave.



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