How to Hike the Devil’s Bridge Trail in Sedona, Arizona
Hike the Devil’s Bridge Trail Sedona, Arizona. It is a relatively easy hike finishing with a bit of a climb as you get close to the famous Devil’s Bridge. Devil’s Bridge in Sedona is a natural sandstone arch in the Coconino National Forest. The arch stands 54 feet tall and 45 feet long. This is one of Sedona’s most popular spots because of the ease in accessing, and of course, for the remarkable views and photo op that it offers. Be sure to hike Devil’s Bridge Trail in Sedona, Arizona.
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How does a natural bridge form, you might ask. Well, apparently some 300 million years ago, a plateau covered the whole area. A piece of the rock fell away, and over time, wind and rain wore away more rock, eroding the stone, and creating the arch. Just a little bit of geological magic!
While there are ways to begin this hike from another trailhead and with the assistance of a 4X4 vehicle, my instructions below will take you the way I went. It was a perfect experience, so I recommend you follow these instructions for a beautiful adventure. All this, and you can be home in time for brunch!
Know before you go
When To Go
Sedona is gorgeous all year around. However, the summer can be very hot with temperatures in the 90’s during the day. The fall and spring are probably your best bet with temps ranging from 70’s to 80’s. The winter months can get pretty cold, but of course there are fewer people visiting. I visited in November and we had ideal 75° degrees each day, with dips into the 50’s at night.
This is a well trafficked hike which makes the delicate landscape vulnerable. Please be respectful and follow all the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace!© Plan Ahead and Prepare,Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, Dispose of Waste Properly, Leave What You Find, Minimize Campfire Impacts, Respect Wildlife, Be Considerate of Other Visitors. And, I would like to add, NO Drones Allowed in National Parks! They are disturbing to both wildlife and people.
The Devil’s Bridge Trail is a 4.2 mile RT hike. It is designated as Easy to Moderate Difficulty. Three fourths of it is easy and flat. The final mile is more difficult as you get closer to the bridge. You will climb up stone staircases that require a bit of rock scrambling. The total ascent is 400 feet.
Get to the Mescal Trailhead parking lot on Long Canyon Road no later than 6:30 AM – 7:00 AM if you want to be guaranteed a spot. It is a small parking area and remember this is a popular hike, and becoming more popular all the time. The trailhead is in the main parking lot. It will be obvious. If you don’t get a spot in the lot, then you will have to park at the Dry Creek Road for the Dry Creek Vista Trailhead with overflow parking on Boynton Pass Road. From there, you will need to walk down a dusty, dirt road until you arrive at the Devil’s Bridge Trail. This adds about half a mile to your hike and is not as nice as hiking the Mescal Trail. I can’t stress enough how worth it is to get up early!
Red Rock Pass
The Red Rock Pass program is a conservation tool designed by the U.S. Forest Service to protect, enhance and maintain Sedona’s awe-inspiring red rock lands. A pass is required when recreating on National Forest Land in Red Rock County. The pass is $5 per day or $15 for a week. You are subject to a citation if your car does not display one in the windshield. The passes can be purchased at trailheads via a machine which accepts credit cards. Our VRBO rental provided us with one for the trip which was a super benefit!
There are NOT toilet facilities in the Mescal trailhead parking. There are pit toilets at the Dry Creek lot, however.
Download a trail map before hiking.
Bring plenty of water and snacks.
Wear hiking boots or sneakers with some tread.
Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Dogs are allowed, if you want to bring your furry friend.
Expect to wait for your turn to walk the bridge and have your picture taken.
Mescal Trail to Chuck Wagon Trail to Devil’s Bridge Trail
This trail is well marked and is only about two miles to Devil’s Bridge. Follow the Mescal Trail into the woods for a short distance until you reach the sign for Devil’s Bridge Trail and Chuckwagon Trail. If you start early, as we did, you will enjoy the incredible changes of light as the sun comes up.
Once you are on the Chuckwagon Trail, enjoy the beautiful sights of red rock surrounding you. The array of cacti and trees are magnificent. Lots of manzanita, juniper, yucca, and prickly pear. I really can’t get enough of the combination in tones of greens, reds, and beiges. Literally, the lighting and colors change so much throughout the day, we wondered if it was vortex related!
Follow the sign from Chuckwagon Trail to the Devil’s Bridge Trail. The next important moment to remember is when you cross over Dry Creek Road to stay on the Devil’s Bridge Trail. You will walk past 4X4 cars and trucks parked in a lot. Pay attention to where you cross the road because on the way back, you may not remember which direction you came from and it may not look as obvious to you.
Now you are on the Devil’s Bridge Trail and are just one mile from Devil’s Bridge. The trail starts off wide and begins to narrow before the incline starts. There is a beautiful flat spot to rest and soak in the views just before you finish the climb. The rock steps and scramble are a bit steep, but that section does not last for long. And voilà! You made it!
Enjoy the wait for your photo op, meet some friendly hikers, have a snack and marvel at the natural creation of the bridge and its surroundings. Take your time on the decline and keep your eye out for unusual blue birds, deer, and lovely flowers that seem to grow out of rocks.
I can’t seem to figure out why it is called Devil’s Bridge. Clearly, it was made by angels!
Travel safe, hike healthy, and let me know how it was!