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Tag: natural bridge

Fay Canyon Hiking Guide

Overview

The hike through Fay Canyon is short, easy, and beautiful, which makes it an excellent choice for groups with young children and elderly members. For the more adventurous, there is an arch and several ruins here to explore as well.

Situated northeast of Sedona, Fay Canyon is eroded from Bear Mountain, which rises 1,600 feet above. The trail follows a wash for 1.2 miles along the canyon bottom and is surrounded by towering red sandstone walls.

Less than 1/2 mile in, there is a spur trail to the right that takes you to Fay Canyon Arch. Despite the arch’s enormity, it is difficult to make out from the main trail and the turnoff is somewhat unclear. However, with enough patience and nosing around you should be able to find it.

Fay Canyon Arch
Fay Canyon Arch. February 2019

Quick Facts

  • Distance: 2.4 miles out and back
  • Hike Time: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 215 feet
  • Fee: Free, but Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass are required to park
  • Dogs: Yes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Description

The hike begins at Fay Canyon Trailhead, found at a parking lot off of Boynton Pass Road. The trail is on the other side of the road and takes you on a sandy footpath that winds through the piñon and juniper forest as it follows along a wash.

About 1/2 mile from the trailhead, there is a spur trail that leads to a giant natural arch called Fay Canyon Arch. The turnoff is on the right but is often washed out so it may be hard to see. If you look at the lower portion of the cliffs to your right, you might be able to make out the arch.

If you see the “wine glass”, an appropriately named rock formation to the right, you have passed the arch. Backtrack a few hundred feet and continue searching for it.

Notice the “Wine Glass” on the right side of this photo. February 2019

After a little over a mile of hiking up canyon, you will reach the end of the maintained trail. At this point, you have the option to continue exploring the left or right fingers of the canyon. Be sure to scan the cliff walls in this area for alcoves. Some of these contain ruins left by the prehistoric Sinagua people. Please do not disturb these or remove any artifacts.

Kim next to an ancient ruin in Fay Canyon. February 2019

Location

From Sedona, head west on Arizona State Route 89A for 3 miles. Turn right onto Dry Creek Road. After 2 miles, Boynton Pass Road turns into Dry Creek Road. Continue for 2.9 miles on Boynton Pass Road then turn left into the parking lot.

Get Directions

Map

Fay Canyon Map

Resources

Guidebooks

Topographic Maps

Photos

Looking to the west from under Fay Canyon Arch. February 2019

Want to hike Sedona’s best trails? Check out our other Sedona Hiking Guides.

Devil’s Bridge Trail Hiking Guide

Overview

Formed by a wash that flows underneath it, Devil’s Bridge is the largest natural sandstone arch near Sedona. It is also one of the most popular hikes in the area.

Given its massive scale, photogenic red cliff backdrop, short trail, and close proximity to town, the arch’s allure is no surprise. On a busy day, smiling tourists line up to walk across Devil’s Bridge and capture a prized photo atop the arch. Take special care to be courteous to others and exercise caution as you navigate this spectacular natural formation.

Engelmann's prickly pear blossoms at Devil's Bridge
Engelmann’s prickly pear blossoms at Devil’s Bridge. May 2017

Quick Facts

  • Distance: 4 miles out and back.
    • Optional: Those with 4WD and high clearance can shave 2.3 miles off the hike by following a jeep trail to the trailhead.
  • Hike Time: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 400 feet
  • Fee: Free
  • Dogs: Yes
  • Difficulty: Easy

Description

For most, the hike begins at Devil’s Bridge Trail Parking Lot, on the left side of the paved portion of Vultee Arch Road (aka Dry Creek Road). From here, walk 1 1/4 mile up the jeep trail to the trailhead. Bear right and continue on the dirt footpath.

After 1/2 miles, the gentle incline becomes steep as you ascend well-made sandstone steps. At 3/4 miles, the trail splits. Bear left to continue to the bottom of the arch or bear right to continue to the top, where you have the option to walk across the arch. I would not recommend doing this if you have a paralyzing fear of heights.

Even though Devil’s Bridge has a reputation for being crowded, its magnificence more than makes up for the lack of solitude. Having said that, it is best to go early in the morning to avoid the busiest part of the day.

Sweeping views from Devil's Bridge
From Devil’s Bridge, there are sweeping views of red rock cliffs rising from juniper and piñon pine forest.

Location

From Sedona, turn onto Arizona State Route 89A and head west. Turn right onto Dry Creek Road, continue 2 miles then turn right onto Vultee Arch Road (aka Dry Creek Road). If you don’t have 4WD and high clearance, park at Devil’s Bridge Trail Parking Lot. If you do, and are prepared for an off road adventure, continue 1 1/4 miles up the jeep road to the trailhead.

Although the trail is just outside of its boundaries, Devil’s Bridge itself is located within Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness, a wilderness area within Coconino National Forest.

Tip: Do not underestimate how rough this road is. Even with 4WD and high clearance, some drivers won’t feel comfortable doing it.

Get Directions

Map

Resources

Guidebooks

Topographic Map

Photos

Vibrant desert colors at Devil's Bridge
Vibrant desert colors at Devil’s Bridge. May 2017
More views from Devil's Bridge
More views from Devil’s Bridge. May 2017

Want to hike Sedona’s best trails? Check out our other Sedona Hiking Guides.