Cathedral Rock is an iconic landmark located in the Coconino National Forest.
The rock, which is easily identifiable on the Sedona skyline, has become one of the most photographed natural sights in the state of Arizona.
Cathedral Rock, Sandstone Butte Hike Trail & Sunset, Sedona Arizona
Cathedral Rock is accessible using the popular Cathedral Rock Trail. The trail’s excellent reputation, coupled with its gorgeous views from the top, makes the trail one of the most-trafficked in the region.
The trail makes for a short day hike with great views of the red rock formations in the wild. Cathedral Rock Trail is just about a mile long but can be very strenuous for inexperienced hikers as it quickly gains 600 feet in elevation. Additionally, the middle part of the trail features a very steep section that requires hikers to climb up the segment.
To access the Cathedral Rock trailhead, hikers make their way to the Back’ O’Beyond Road, where there is a small parking area for easy access (a parking fee is applicable).
Alternative trails that can be used to explore Cathedral Rock include the Yavapai Vista Trail and the Templeton Trail. Both trails are considerably longer than the Cathedral Trail, so it’s important to plan accordingly. Additionally, the Templeton Trail is popular with mountain bikers, so it is advisable to keep an eye our when using this route.
The advantage of using these trails is that, while they are longer, there isn’t a sudden elevation gain at the beginning, which makes it less tiring for many hikers. The last 0.3 miles, however, call for steep climbing with numerous breaks. At the top of the rock, hikers are treated to the beauty of the desert landscape, and can easily identify the wide saddle tucked in between the spires.
The best season to hike Cathedral Rock is Spring through to Fall, as Summer gets quite busy and can be extremely hot at times.