Sedona’s Iconic Hike: Exploring Devil’s Bridge Trail

Scaling Sedona's Devil's Bridge Trail: A Thrilling Experience for Adventure Junkies

Vultee Arch, Fay Canyon Arch, and Devil’s Bridge are just a few of the red rock arches that can be seen in Sedona. They can all be found along the edge of a broad valley on the north side of Capital Butte.

There is a tiny trailhead off of Dry Creek Road that is the beginning point for a minimum of 0.8 miles of hiking to the structure, which is technically an arch rather than a bridge and was formed by wind and weather erosion rather than moving water.

However, 2WD parking is 1.1 miles distant, and a new road (the Chuckwagon Trail) connects with the bridge trail from the Long Canyon Trailhead, another possible starting point.

The trek is not difficult at all, regardless of the path used, as it is generally flat and has only a brief, sharp ascent at the conclusion. There is a fork in the trail just before the arch that leads up to a vantage point where you can see all the way up and down the canyon, across the valley of Dry Creek to the larger canyons and mesas of the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness to the west, and beyond.

In addition to its popularity, the real Devil’s Bridge Trail is large and well-trodden, 0.8 miles long. It ascends a vast valley via red earth and Slickrock terraces and is surrounded by characteristic Sedona flora, including juniper, pinyon pine, opuntia, yucca, and agave.

Devils Bridge Trail in Sedona Arizona
Devils Bridge Trail in Sedona Arizona

Near its ending, the trail rises sharply for about 300 feet through manzanita bushes to the foot of the bridge, which is only visible while directly overhead. The bridge, much like Fay Canyon Arch, has developed at the edge of a plateau in front of a cliff and is best seen from above or behind.

Supai sandstone, which is naturally a deep red, was used to construct both arches. If you’re feeling daring, you may skip the stairs on the west side and climb the rocks behind on the east side to reach the summit of Devil’s Bridge much more quickly. It must be deemed perfectly solid if hikers are invited to walk directly across the top of the arch, which is rather rare given that most such walks come with caution to remain far away from any at-risk places.

The path of Devils Bridge Trail in Sedona Arizona

This 1.8-mile out-and-back hike is rated as moderately challenging due to the 400-foot elevation gain from the trailhead at 4,600 feet. Climbing to the peak won’t take much effort, but the sights you’ll see once you get there will definitely take your breath away.

This well-loved trail suits hikers of all skill levels, from those without the time or inclination to venture far from civilization to those who live for the thrill of exploring uncharted territory.

From the parking lot, locate the trail marker indicating the start of Devil’s Bridge Trail. The first few miles are a breeze since the path was made for jeeps and is flat and well-defined as it winds through juniper and prickly pear cactus-filled washes.

The trail gradually rises in elevation, becoming steeper as you go. As you climb, you’ll be treated to some stunning views, but it’ll be a while before you reach Devil’s Bridge.

Almost three-quarters of a mile from the parking lot, the route splits. If you take the left fork on the route, you’ll reach the foot of the bridge. If you want to see the sky without straining your neck, you should stand right beneath the arch and look up.

The trailheads of Devils Bridge Trail in Sedona Arizona
The trailheads of Devils Bridge Trail in Sedona Arizona

However, the best reward may be found on the route located above the tree line. If you follow it, you’ll find a natural rock stairway leading to an open area with breathtaking vistas. If you keep traveling, you’ll eventually get to a tier that connects to Devil’s Bridge.

If you’re brave enough, you can walk across the top; it’s actually not that far. It’s a long way down, so go with caution and good reasoning.

The trailheads of Devils Bridge Trail in Sedona Arizona

Most people start their hike to Devil’s Bridge from this point, and the first 1.1 miles are along the road, which is wide, often dusty, and receives high ATV use, but the surface has gotten worse in recent years, and 2WD vehicles now have to be left at a newly built parking area right at the start.

The road is rather flat as it parallels Capitol Butte, winds around a valley, and then continues straight until it reaches the turnoff for the 4WD trailhead. In 2012, a new portion of the Chuckwagon Trail opened directly opposite this crossroads, providing hikers with a mile-long connection to the alternate starting point on Long Canyon Road.

Even though it’s somewhat overgrown, this trail is utilized by cyclists who want to escape the noise and dust created by ATVs on Dry Creek Road. From the 2WD parking area, you may also access a connector trail that runs parallel to Dry Creek Road.

The Red Rock Pass ($5 per day) is no longer required for vehicles utilizing any of the parking spaces since this rule was previously only in effect around Oak Creek and along Hwy 179, south of Sedona.

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