When visiting Sedona, Arizona, there are a few things that should absolutely be on your list, hiking the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead is one of them! The Devil’s Bridge Trail is a breathtaking view and amazing experience, with it’s 54ft high/45ft long natural bridge, surrounded by red rock. It is Sedona’s largest sandstone arch, located in the Coconino National Forest, off of Highway 89a. Check below for tips on planning your own visit to the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead and check HERE for tips on planning the rest of your Arizona visit.
How to Get There:
There are a few ways to get to the Devil’s Bridge trailhead:
- Mescal to Chuckwagon to Devil’s Bridge trails (4 miles round-trip) from Long Canyon Road (the one we did)
- Chuckwagon Trail to the Devil’s Bridge Trail from Dry Creek Road (5.8 miles round trip).
- If you rent a 4×4, you can actually drive straight to the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead and park your vehicle there (2 miles-round trip). Only do this with a vehicle that has the ability to off-road.
We stayed at the Arabella Hotel located in downtown Sedona, so this was our starting point for our journey. My recommendation is to rent a car, I did not see a ton (or any) public transportation during my visit and the trailhead is roughly 7.3miles from the city. The drive is scenic and pretty straight forward, we simply entered “Devil’s Trailhead” into our GPS (google maps) and followed directions to the Mescal trailhead lot (Long Canyon Road) for parking.
Don’t be like us! Despite having directions and parking at the right location, we entered the wrong side of the trail, and walked a mile in the wrong direction before we realized we were headed the wrong way. The lack of signage or other hikers didn’t tip us off, but the end of the non-existent trail is what finally gave us pause. Once we turned around and began to retrace our steps, heading toward the entrance, we ran into a couple who confirmed that we were on the wrong trail, telling us to head back another .5 miles to get on the right trail. This extended our total hike time.
How will you know you’re going the right way? Devil’s trailhead had several signs both at the start of the hike and all throughout the trail to signal you’re headed in the right direction- so, if you don’t see these, you’re going the wrong way! Below are pictures from the start of the Mescal trail.
Parking outside of the trail will cost you $5 and you’ll need to pick up a Red Rock Pass. It gets extremely busy, so plan to arrive early to secure a good spot! We arrived at 6:50am and there was already a crowd, though we did secure a spot! Alternatively, you can park along Dry Creek Road, you’ll see several cars parking along the side of the road.
Note: It tends to be busiest between 10am-3pm, year-round, so arrive before or after if you wish to beat the crowds.
It is free to enter and walk the trailhead!
There’s also an “at-your-own-risk” photo opp at the end of the trail, which is also free, but be prepared for a long wait (on average 2 hours). We arrived early for our hike (6:50am) , and despite running a bit behind due to getting lost, still made the trail by 8:00am and there was already a roughly 2 hour wait for a photo opp.
Once at the spot pictured below, the actual bridge, you can walk toward the middle and pose for a picture, someone from your party or a kind stranger will have to snap your picture as there aren’t any official workers on the bridge to take photos or regulate how long people are taking to get their perfect shot. I did not walk across the bridge, a mix of my fear of heights and not wanting to wait the full 2 hours, I stood in front and on a nearby ledge capture my photos.
Most blogs that I read stated that this hike was moderate. While I would agree with that statement for the first 3/4 of the hike, the last 1/4 is literally an uphill scaling of a rock and was relatively difficult for me, though there were several children, dogs and older people also making the trek! Please consider this as you plan your journey-if it becomes too much at any point, you can simply decide to turn around!
The hike is roughly 2 miles 1 way (1.8 miles to be exact) , so roughly a 4 mile round trip (depending on your starting point), expect to spend 2-3 hours completing the trek (not including any time spent for the photo opp).
Dress appropriately, as though you’re going to have a moderate workout, including wearing comfy, closed-toe shoes!
I felt the hike was 100% worth it, the views were amazing, something I am certainly glad I was able to take in, in my life time. The bridge is scary for those with a fear of heights (such as myself) so you can enjoy it without actually walking across or with a bit of common sense, carefully navigate to the middle for a photo opp!
What to Pack:
1. Pack light! You don’t want to be lugging too much, especially as you get to the more strenuous part of the hike.
2. Wear layers to protect against the morning cool air, enabling you to strip down as it starts to heat up. You’ll also want to wear comfortable clothes and shoes!
3. Pack sunscreen for easy reapplication, don’t get caught slipping unprotected. You may want to also bring a hat or sunglasses!
4. Pack water and snacks! There is nowhere to buy water or snacks on the trail so plan ahead and come prepared. (I’d also recommend eating a good breakfast/meal ahead of your hike).
Best Times to Visit:
The best times to visit Sedona would be April and May for optimal weather before the sweltering heat of the summers.
In addition to the above tips, please also use common sense and put safety first, the hike can be an amazing and scenic experience, but it can also be dangerous. There have only been 2 reported deaths for falls from the bridge, in addition to several reports of lost or dehydrated travelers, so be careful, stay aware, keep hydrated and have fun!
For more tips on planning a trip to Arizona, check my recap and guide to spending a long weekend HERE.