Subway Cave in Sedona, Arizona

Subway Cave

TRAIL STATS

Mileage: 4.7
Elevation gain: 534 feet
Time to complete: 2-3 hours
Stars: ★★★★
Difficulty: 2/5 (Ratings explained)
Good trail, some scrambling into the cave

The Subway Cave in Sedona is a unique geological formation that makes for an Instagram-worthy photo op. The trail up to the cave is easy, although you will either need to scramble up a rock chute to access the cave or go around to the left for a slightly easier option. Walk around the ledge to visit some Native American ruins.

Native American ruins, petroglyphs, and artifacts are an important part of our human history and are of significant importance to their modern day descendants. Please protect these irreplaceable sites by looking but not touching or desecrating them in any way. Doing so could subject you to criminal penalties.


Trail Description

The Subway Cave in Sedona is not a secret. It joins the likes of Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock as being one of the most popular hikes in the area, so it’s very unlikely that you’ll have it to yourself. There’s a good reason it’s so popular, though, so it’s definitely a worthy stop if you’re willing to share the trail and take turns with others to snap that iconic photo.

Deadman’s Pass Trail

From the trailhead, you’ll start on the Deadman’s Pass trail for a short distance until a well-marked junction with Boynton Canyon Trail.

Boynton Canyon Trail

The Boynton Canyon Trail starts out skirting the outside of the Enchantment Resort as it passes popular attractions like the Kachina Woman and the Boynton Canyon Vortex.

The trail is generally flat and easy, but watch for rocks sticking up along this trail, as they have been known to trip people and bust kneecaps (don’t ask how we know).

Juniper Tree Junction

Now here’s the key to the entire route. You must look for a large juniper tree that marks the junction where you’ll turn off to the right to get to the Subway Cave. The trail is obvious, owing to the number of visitors using it, but if you’re not paying attention, you could still miss it. Follow this trail to the Subway Cave entrance.

Subway Cave

There will likely be people waiting below the entrance either trying to decide if they’re going to scramble up or waiting on their friends to get down.

There are two options for accessing the cave.

Option 1: Rock Chute Scrambling up the rock chute provides the most direct access to the cave and should be doable for most people, but those who are not sure on their feet should go for option 2.

Entrance to the Subway Cave
Option 1 for getting into Subway Cave

This option brings you to the spot where the photographers will want to stand.

Option 2: Go Around If you’re looking at the rock chute like, “No way,” you can go up around to the left where you see many people coming down from the ruins. Get up onto the ledge and then follow it around to the right into the cave.

Alternative entrance to the Subway Cave
Option 2 for getting into Subway Cave

This option brings you to the ledge where you’ll want to stand to get your picture taken. You might accidentally photobomb someone as you come around the corner.

Once in the cave, you can exit either way, but there is one slightly sketchy spot on the ledge where you’ll want to be careful.

Native American Ruins

If you chose option 2, you might have already seen the ruins on your way up. If not, follow the ledge around to the right until you come to the ruins.

Native American ruins at the Subway Cave

There are a couple small structures you can walk inside of, but please leave them as you found them.

From here, it’s easiest to follow the option 2 path back down to the Subway Cave entrance.


Map & Directions

Location Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, Sedona, Arizona

From Highway 89A, go north on Dry Creek Road in West Sedona. That will turn into Boynton Pass Road. Keep left at the fork. Turn right onto Boynton Canyon Road. The Boynton Canyon Trailhead will be on your right. This is a very popular hike, so go early enough to find parking or allow extra time to park on the street.

Fees/Passes Red Rocks Pass or America the Beautiful Pass required. Pay kiosk at the trailhead.

Trailhead Facilities Pit toilets

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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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