Cathedral Rock in Sedona Arizona

Cathedral Rock


Mileage: 1.5
Elevation gain: 788 feet
Time to complete: 1-2 hours
Stars: ★★★★½
Difficulty: 2/5 (Ratings explained)
Moderate incline, need your hands to climb up

If you’re into the Sedona vortexes, apparently there’s one atop Cathedral Rock. Take this short hike up to an impressive viewpoint where the wind funnels through and makes just about anyone feel the Earth is alive. Beyond the “end of trail” sign to the left is where the vortex is rumored to be. Whether fantasy or reality, this place will replenish your soul. You’ll have to use your hands to scramble up there, so it’s not suitable for anyone who’s not sure-footed.

Trail Description

This is a very popular trail, rivaling the popularity of Devil’s Bridge, so you’re almost guaranteed to have company. Thursday through Sunday between 7AM and 5PM, you’ll have to park at the North SR 179 park & ride and catch a free shuttle to the trailhead. See Sedona Shuttle for details.

Cathedral Rock Trailhead

Once you’ve made your way to the trailhead, head out on the trail directly toward Cathedral Rock. The trail here is well-groomed and even has barriers to try to keep all the hordes of people from trampling the entire area.

This is the easy part since it doesn’t have much elevation gain and is easy to follow. When you get up close to the red rock layers, the trail becomes less apparent, but there are large rock cairns to help guide the way (or, just follow the next person).

Rock cairns at Cathedral Rock Sedona

If that wasn’t fun enough, next you get to crawl up this little crack. Did you wear good shoes? I mean, the rock is pretty grippy, but you’re still at risk of sliding some without good tread.

Yes, you’re going that way

A few more slabs to climb up, and a few more nicely constructed stairways, and you’ll finally be at the top. Check out that view! I know you want to go out on that ledge (DO IT).

End of trail at Cathedral Rock

Lots of shade and a nice breeze make this a great stopping point. However. . .

There’s an “end of trail” sign here, but you’ll see plenty of people going to the left to climb up another short gully to where the vortex is supposed to be. Vortex or not, it’s awesome!

Cathedral Rock vortex

The hike down can be a bit sketchier than the hike up, so don’t be afraid to sit down and scooch on your bootie. All the cool people are doing it.

Since so many non-hikers, foreigners, and casual tourists do this hike, I just want to give you a couple of reminders. Sedona is a desert, so you should bring water to get you through this hike. And please, leave no trace.

Map & Directions

Location Sedona, Arizona

Cathedral Rock Trailhead From Sedona, head south on State Route 179 until you get to Back O’ Beyond Road and turn right.

Shuttle Stop From Sedona, head south on State Route 179 until you get to the park & ride. Watch for signs that mark the turn.

Fees/Passes A Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass is required if you park at the trailhead. If you take the free shuttle, no pass required.

Trailhead Facilities Pit toilets

Download KML or GPX

Recommendations for you

Doe Mountain in Sedona

Doe Mountain | Sedona

Soldier Pass Arches in Sedona

Soldier Pass Arches | Sedona

Vultee Arch in Sedona

Vultee Arch | Sedona

Follow us!
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting us by following us on our social media pages. Thank you!

Get our latest hikes and blog posts in our newsletter!

We want to hear from you!

Tell us what kind of content interests you or share feedback by taking this survey.

Disclaimer Outdoor activities have inherent risk, and we will not be able to tell you all the risks you may face. You are responsible for your own safety, so prepare as well as you can and know your limits. Follow this guide at your own risk. And have fun!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *