The Perfect 5-Day Sedona Itinerary You Need to Steal

Sedona is a nature lover’s paradise, as the town is surrounded by dozens of scraggly red mountains and interesting rock formations. As someone who adores red rocks and hiking, I was basically in heaven in Sedona. This is a special place!

This 5-day Sedona itinerary is designed for people who primarily want to do a lot of hiking – with suggestions for great restaurants and interesting things to do in town as well. It’s a combination of must-visit spots and hidden gems in locations all around Sedona, giving you a really comprehensive overview of what the area has to offer.

Here’s exactly what I would recommend you do with 5 days in Sedona.

Where to Stay in Sedona
Enchantment Resort – A luxurious property nestled among the Sedona mountains
Matterhorn Inn – Beautiful views and in the heart of the shops of Uptown Sedona
Sedona Springs Resort – A budget-friendly option in the middle of West Sedona

Your Perfect 5-Day Sedona Itinerary

Day 1 in Sedona

Andante Trail

Start your time in Sedona on a high note with the Andante Loop, an easy but beautiful loop hike in the shadow of Thunder Mountain. Sometimes you’ll be hiking in the (“relative” shade of juniper and pine trees, and other times you walk directly underneath Thunder Mountain.

The trail provides spectacular views of Chimney Rock and Teacup Rock while you hike – I particularly enjoyed admiring the scalloped hills of Teacup Mountain. And of course, Thunder Mountain is always towering over you as you hike, an impressive sight!

It’s one of the best easy hikes in Sedona.

West Fork

West Fork Oak Creek is an idyllic hike along a stream in a tall, red canyon in north Sedona. The trail winds through the forest alongside the river, with 13 river crossings.

The river crossings are very manageable – with stones or logs to step on, and are the best parts of the hike. You’ll get to admire the tall, sheer, red canyon walls, green trees, and the gently flowing stream – the views are really spectacular.

Alternatively, a popular option is to hike directly in the river. The stream is usually ankle-deep or a little higher, with a mostly flat rock bed, so it’s not difficult to do the river hike option.

The entire hike is 6.5 miles, but since there’s not a particular endpoint you’re trying to reach, many people choose to do a mile or two and then turn around.

Birthing Cave

Birthing Cave is an exciting hike to a unique cave with great views. The cave has a distinctive teardrop shape and provides a stunning vantage point to the nearby mountains.

The easiest way to get to Birthing Cave is via Long Canyon Trail. As you hike, you’ll pass two different signs saying “trail” and pointing the way to go. Follow the first sign, but when you get to the second “trail” sign, ignore the sign and follow an unmarked offshoot trail to the left.

Take the unmarked trail to the left at this spot

You’ll need to scramble up a short but steep section and then you’ll be in the cave! Once in the cave, make sure you scramble up the back of the cave wall to a little ledge – you need the higher vantage point to really appreciate the entire cave, its notable shape, and the views of the mountains in the distance.

Sedona Day 2

Keyhole Cave

The trail to Keyhole Cave is an adventurous hike up to an intriguing cave. Most of the hike is flat, but the ascent up to the cave opening is very, very steep. Once you arrive in the cave, though, the journey isn’t over. To really get in the heart of the cave and appreciate the epic views, you’ll need to climb up a 20 foot, fairly sheer rock wall to reach the upper cave ledge.

Once you get to the top, though, the views are spectacular! There are some views out to the nearby mountains, and the opening of the cave does indeed resemble a keyhole.

Definitely exercise caution when attempting to scale up the last ledge into Keyhole, and do what they feel comfortable with, but with a confident partner it can be doable.

>>Read the guide for how to hike to Keyhole Cave.

Secret Slick Rock

Secret Slickrock Trail is a short, easy trail with incredible views of Cathedral Rock as you hike through a small juniper grove trail. (The trailhead also gives a great view of Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock).

The trail is just 0.7 miles round trip and leads to a large flat rock expanse with great panoramic views.

If you want to extend your hike a little bit, you can continue walking on the trail along the ridge, which offers lovely views of the valley to the west. This extension adds just 0.5 miles to the total hike distance.

Bell Rock + Courthouse Loop

Bell Rock is my favorite type of hike – scrambling and adventurous, with striking views and unique rock formations. The hike begins with a scramble up the grippy sandstone layers of Bell Rock. The hike involves a mix of standard walking and scrambling, and you’ll enjoy great views of the surrounding mountains as you hike.

About halfway up the mountain, the rock becomes more textured and vertical, creating an exciting climbing experience among the rocky outcroppings and narrow ledges. From here, you’re mostly just exploring steep trails and narrow viewpoints, but man oh man. The views are insane! You’re looking directly at Courthouse Butte from the middle of Bell Rock.

After Bell Rock, you can continue on the Courthouse Butte Loop, a flat, easy trail that circles around Courthouse Butte and returns to the parking lot, offering excellent views of the massive rock formation along the way.

This trail adds an extra 3 miles to the hike and we felt wasn’t nearly as exciting as Bell Rock, but it’s a nice addition if you have the time and energy.

>>Read the guide for how to hike Bell Rock + The Courthouse Loop

Day 3 Sedona Itinerary

Cathedral Rock Trail

Cathedral Rock is one of Sedona’s most recognizable formations, situated among other beautiful rock formations and magnificent hikes. The trail is popular for its adventurous nature and incredible payoff at the end. In many ways, it’s similar to Bell Rock, but amped up even more.

The trail begins with a quick flat section before transitioning to a steep ascent up curved sandstone layers. There are several adventurous sections involving climbing up boulders in a crevice and climbing up the grippy rock face.

Finally, you’ll reach the saddle surrounded by the pillars and spires of Cathedral Rock. The views are spectacular – make sure you go out to the ledge for the epic picture!

>>Read the guide for how to hike the Cathedral Rock trail.

Soldiers Pass

Seven Sacred Pools

Soldier’s Pass Trail is a popular hike offering a mix of stunning scenery and unique red rock formations. The first landmark you’ll pass on the trail is Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole, a massive geological feature where the ground has inexplicably fallen out.

Further along, you’ll find the Seven Sacred Pools, which are a series of small holes in the rock that collect rainwater. This is one of the most photographed spots in Sedona, and the pools in the foreground with the red rocks in the background make for a very striking picture.

If you continue past the pools, you’ll be able to climb to the Soldiers Pass Cave, accessible via a steep trail off a small spur trail. Be careful as you climb – it’s rocky and quite steep, but it should be doable for most adults.

Parking is tricky here – the parking lot is small, and is completely closed Thurs-Sun, so you have to take the Sedona Shuttle from a nearby parking lot on these days.

Go on a Jeep Tour

A jeep tour is a very fun and popular activity in Sedona that breaks up the hiking and takes you deep into the backcountry of Sedona.

In a private jeep, a guide will take your group across rugged, rocky terrain and up to beautiful vistas, while pointing out interesting desert plants and their uses and the names of different rock formations that you’ll pass.

The jeep tour we did (and that I wholeheartedly recommend) is a private tour for the same price as a group tour that takes you up to the Mogollon Rim of the Colorado Plateau, following the same route as the first stagecoach delivery road between Sedona and Flagstaff.

You can read about our jeep tour experience here – this activity is not to be missed in Sedona!

>>Check prices and availability for our jeep tour here

Doe Mountain

The Doe Mountain Trail offers breathtaking views and a peaceful escape from busier trails. This short but moderately challenging hike takes you up to a flat-topped summit, providing panoramic vistas of the surrounding red rocks.

Despite being close to popular trails like Boynton Canyon and Birthing Cave, Doe Mountain sees fewer visitors, making it a hidden gem.

It’s a steep hike up – you’ll gain 511 feet in 3/4 of a mile – but we felt like the switchbacks up the mountain made the incline manageable.

The summit is a flat plateau with amazing views, especially on the east-facing side where the red rocks glow beautifully at sunset. Head back to the west-facing side to actually watch the sun dip below the mountains on the horizon.

  • Distance:
  • Elevation Gain:

Day 4 in Sedona

Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Bridge is one of the most well-known spots in Sedona, as you are hiking to a natural bridge that you can actually walk out and stand on. The hike is moderate – most of the trail is flat, but the last 1/2 mile or so gains a lot of elevation.

The biggest thing to know about Devil’s Bridge is that long, long, loooooong lines can form to wait your turn to go out on the bridge for a picture. When we went, we started hiking at 6am (1/2 hour after sunrise) and got to the bridge at 7am.

There was already a decent line here, and we waited for about 20 minutes for our turn. We passed a lot of people as we were heading down, so that line was quickly going to turn into an hour long wait.

If you want to get that classic Sedona photo without waiting in line half the day, get here as close to sunrise as possible.

Subway Cave

Of any place in Sedona, Subway Cave is probably *the* most iconic and Instagrammable location there is. The cave is located off of Boynton Canyon Trail, which you’ll hike for about 2.5 miles before taking a spur trail to head up to the cave. Of course, there’s a scramble to get to the elevated cave, but when you do – OH MY GOSH. It is truly incredible.

The cave walls curve around in a perfect oval shape, and there’s a large gap running the length of the middle of the cave. It’s seriously such an epic spot.

After getting your picture at this iconic location, make sure you continue around the backside of the ledge and keep exploring – the ledge continues to other fun little spots.

Fay Canyon

Fay Canyon is a stunning hidden gem in Sedona, known for its beautiful red rock vistas and light crowds.

The trail is mostly flat and open, offering views of red cliffs as you hike deeper into the canyon. A highlight of this trail is the Fay Canyon Arch, accessible via a steep, unmarked spur trail about 0.6 miles in. Though short, the climb to the arch is rocky and steep, but the arch itself is quite picturesque.

After exploring the arch, continue along the main trail as the canyon walls rise up around you. The official trail ends at a signpost while you are still in the forest, but the best views are just beyond this point. Continue past the sign to a large, anvil-shaped rock formation and scramble up for breathtaking views back down the canyon.

I absolutely loved this hike – the beautiful red canyon, the lack of people, the beautiful views. It’s especially lovely in the evening when the soft light makes the rocks glow, so I’d recommend coming here a couple of hours before sunset.

Get all the details about hiking Fay Canyon

Day 5 in Sedona

Edge of the World

Edge of the World is a dramatic cliffside location in northwest Sedona that features dramatic limestone cliffs, panoramic views, and unique rock formations. This off-the-beaten-path spot offers incredible views and fewer crowds.

Despite being relatively close to Sedona, the drive takes about 1.5 hours due to the unmaintained dirt road leading to the site. At least it’s a very scenic drive through pine forests!

When you arrive at Edge of the World, you’ll be able to see rocky cliffs and endless mountain peaks. But the main attraction is Lego Rock, a distinctive formation resembling stacked Legos, which sits just off the edge of the cliff. There are multiple spots along the cliffside where you can admire the view, or you can scramble out to the base of Lego Rock for a closer look.

It’s an incredibly remote and off-the-beaten-path destination in Sedona, and we really enjoyed the drive up and the impressive views!

>>Get all the details about how to visit Edge of the World

Marg’s Draw

Marg’s Draw Trail offers a scenic hike through the Munds Mountain Wilderness, which is known for its picturesque views of the surrounding red rock formations.

The trail winds through an open, sparse forest of juniper trees and cacti, wrapping around Snoopy Rock, the large mountain in front of you for much of the hike.

The phenomenal views looking back across Sedona and towards the northern mountain range were undoubtedly the best part of this hike, and you can enjoy these views for a good portion of the trail.

This is an easy hike that delivers great views, making it good for all skill levels.


The Hiline is a great trail offering views of Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and Cathedral Rock, plus a fun and exciting hiking trail.

The trail starts at the Yavapai Trailhead and you’ll hike on a few different trails before quickly connecting to the Hiline Trail. From here, the trail starts hugging the side of a cliff as you wind around, creating a very picturesque hiking experience.

At the beginning of the trail, you’ll be looking over Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte, but as you wind around the mountain, Cathedral Rock comes into view and you get great views of this epic rock formation.

While the entire Hiline Trail is 4 miles out and 4 miles back, you really only need to hike about 2 miles in to get to the best viewpoint at the end of a little promontory. Here, you’ll have 270° views back to the mountain you’ve been hiking on, as well as out to Cathedral Rock.

We did this hike in the early afternoon, but I think sunset is a much better time to do this hike.

Where to Eat in Sedona

Sedona has a lot of great locally owned, high-quality restaurants – you’ll find very few chains here, which is a nice change. These are some of the restaurants you should definitely check out in Sedona:

  • The Hudson: Delicious food with views over Sedona from the deck
  • Coffee Pot: A great breakfast cafe that specializes in omelets
  • Cowboy Club and Grill: For cactus fries and bison steak
  • Golden Goose: For great steaks, seafood, and burgers
  • Cuates Mexican Food: For amazing tacos
  • Tortas de Fuego West Sedona: Another fantastic Mexican spot
  • Gerardo’s Pizzeria: Top-rated pizza spot in Sedona

Shop at:

  • The shops of Uptown Sedona. This is a super cute area designed to resemble “the Wild West” and has a lot of unique shops to browse
  • Crystal Shops. The red rocks around Sedona produce a lot of crystals, and there are many shops in Sedona that sell pretty varieties to visitors
  • Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village. A charming outdoor market with art galleries, craft shops, cafes, and quaint decor.

The Wrap Up

Spending time in Sedona is an absolute delight, and 5 days gives you a lot of time to explore and discover many of the wonders Sedona has to offer. I promise you’ll already be planning your trip back before you even leave!

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