Sunday, December 13, 2020

Hike Devil's Bridge in Sedona

Stunning red rock formations surrounding Sedona, Arizona are a calling card for visitors. You could hike a different trail every day for a month and still be impressed by the awesome beauty of the region.

Red limestone formations create amazing scenery around Sedona, Arizona

If you enjoy exploring on foot (yes, you can enjoy the scenery from a car, jeep, or helicopter too), one of the must-do hikes is Devil’sBridge Trail. It’s a moderate out-and-back trail just a 15-minute drive from town in the Coconino National Forest. If you access the trail via the most popular trailhead on Dry Creek Road, the hike will be a little more than four miles with an elevation gain of 400 feet.

Devil's Bridge as seen from the air.

One afternoon during our first visit to Sedona we took a helicopter ride to view well-known (and fondly named) sandstone rock formations just outside the city. We flew over Devil’s Bridge—and decided right then to go there as soon as we landed. That put us at the parking lot at mid-afternoon.

Our turn to take the hike

My advice: Go early in the morning when parking spots are still available. Because it was so crowded, our hike was a mile longer each way than it might have been. Jeeps and vehicles with four-wheel drive can venture part way on the rough dirt road, possibly cutting hiking time in half depending on where you are able to park. We walked the entire long and dusty route on Dry Creek Road.

The path is very rocky in places.

After about 1.3 miles (it seems much longer) you’ll see the path leading up the red cliffs to the bridge. The trail becomes rockier and steeper for almost another mile—scrambling over boulder is what makes the hike moderate rather than easy.

If you want to climb onto the bridge, take the right fork that leads to the top. It’s steep and a little more challenging, so Larry opted to stay where he was to take pictures of me as I walked over the bridge. He had a stunning view of the entire natural rock bridge, while I continued climbing to access the sandstone bridge from one end.

Beverly heads to the steep path that accesses the bridge.

The view from the top is breathtaking, but don’t forget to watch where you are walking. The bridge is very narrow at its midpoint, and the surface is uneven. It can be especially dangerous if wet from rain or a high wind is blowing. I don’t advise sitting down with feet dangling over the edge, as we saw one young boy doing.

Beverly walks on Devil's Bridge.

If you're not afraid of heights, it's a remarkable adventure that I recommend. Take enough time to soak in the outstanding landscape all around. 

View of the bridge from the opposite direction.

After you’ve admired views of surrounding red rock formations and tried to spot those you recognize by name, it’s time to scramble back down to Dry Creek Road and walk the rutted path back to the parking lot. To park, you'll need to purchase and display a Red Rock Pass for $5.

Allow about two hours for this popular hike, if for no other reason than to say you really did it!

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeiere

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