Keyhole Cave in Sedona, Arizona

Keyhole Cave


Mileage: 2.1
Elevation gain: 561 feet
Time to complete: 1-2 hours
Stars: ★★★½
Difficulty: 2/5 (Ratings explained)
Steep at the end

Take this moderate hike up a beautiful canyon to Keyhole Cave, a large cave that overlooks Sedona. Those with some climbing skills and a little nerve can get up to the upper level. If you do, make sure to bring a friend who can help you with your footing on the way down.

Trail Description

The trail to Keyhole Cave begins at the Sugarloaf Trailhead, which doesn’t require a Red Rocks Pass. When you hop out of your car, take a look at the mountain in front of you, and you’ll see Keyhole Cave in the distance.

Sugarloaf Trailhead in Sedona, Arizona

Remember what it looks like because it’s going to help you stay on track.

Teacup Trail

From the trailhead, head out on Teacup Trail toward the mountain. This trail is well-used and very easy to follow, but don’t get too used to it. After a little over a quarter of a mile, you’ll come to a T junction where it looks like you should go left or right. But you, you are a rebel hiker, and you’re going to go straight.

Trail to Keyhole Cave in Sedona, Arizona
Go straight at this junction

Random Unnamed Trail

Even though this trail isn’t as well-worn as the others, it’s all fine and dandy because it’s still a decent trail. And that works great until all its friends come to join the party. So many trails. Everywhere. It’s a darn good thing you sighted Keyhole Cave from the parking lot because now you can make sure you’re generally heading in the right direction.

We accidentally took a few different trails on the way out than we did on the way in, but they all seemed to get us to the right spot eventually. Just try not to go off trail and make things worse.

Up until this point, it’s been pretty smooth sailing along a gently rolling trail through a very beautiful canyon. As you get closer to the cave, though, you’ll realize that at some point you’re going to have to go uphill to get to it.

Keyhole Cave in Sedona, Arizona

And I’m just saying, this trail saved most of the elevation for last. Check out this elevation profile. That green line is shows all the ups and downs of this hike, and it kinda looks like a church steeple in the middle. And when I say steeple, I of course mean STEEPle.

Elevation profile for the hike to Keyhole Cave in Sedona, Arizona
Your buns are gonna be burning

But it’s all for a good cause. Not only are you going to have a nice view from a rad cave, but it’ll likely be less crowded than some of the other choices in Sedona.

Keyhole Cave

Once inside the cave, you’ll notice a higher shelf. If you’re like me, you can’t help but wonder what’s up there, and you’ll immediately be looking for the easiest way up. Spoiler alert: it’s to the left, although skilled climbers might be able to make other routes work.

Climb to the upper level of Keyhole Cave
The way up

It looks super easy, but there are a few sketchy spots. You should be able to find decent hand holds that can get you there.

If you make it to the top, congratulations! Here’s your reward. . .

View from the upper level of Keyhole Cave in Sedona, Arizona

Exploring the upper level and enjoying the views is fun right up until you have to ask yourself, “How the heck am I getting down?” If you have a friend there, have them help you find your footing so you can all return safely to the ground.

Map & Directions

Location Sugarloaf Trailhead, Sedona, Arizona

Google Maps Sugarloaf Trailhead

Fees/Passes None

Trailhead Facilities None

Download KML or GPX

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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!

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