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Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona SW
4.4 of 5 by 54
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,040 feet
Elevation Gain 700 feet
Accumulated Gain 750 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 5.25
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18  2018-05-01
Sedona Hike
2  2017-05-10
Oak Creek quintet
15  2017-04-09
Cathedral Rock Loop
31  2017-04-09
Cathedral Rock Loop
48  2017-04-09
Cathedral Loop Plus
15  2016-11-12
Bell Rabbit Chicken Hog Church Cathedral
12  2016-11-12
Bell Rabbit Chicken Hog Church Cathedral
6  2016-06-19 pyro4lif
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Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,812
Trips 4,252 map ( 21,403 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:09am - 6:36pm
Official Route
7 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
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the LEDGE ends!
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
Wow what a great experience! The trail is a cairn adventure. If you follow the over sized constructed cairns the trip is a breeze. I did some variations and followed the countless trails everywhere. I recommend the cairns on your first trip. From the trailhead check out the map. The trail is bare rock in most places making the cairns necessary. The setting is everything I had ever imagined a Sedona hike to be, yet took me a few years to find it!

Soon into the hike the task of climbing the sandstone slopes begins. I would never recommend attempting these slopes on a rainy day! For those coming from Tempe, this is very similar terrain to the slopes at the Papago Buttes. The steep angles take some getting used to. They are potentially dangerous if you get off trail. Some people find getting down is more difficult than going up. Personally, I think getting down is easier, you just slide on your butt. I know for those that hike this area on a regular basis it's no big deal. The reason you see folks standing idle on the slopes is obvious, it's a bit scary at first. Please use common sense and if it seems hard getting up, you might reconsider. If you stick to the bomber proof cairns there's really only one semi technical section. To make it even easier there's a few foot steps carved into the rock.

Upon reaching Cathedral Saddle there is an awesome ledge to the right. Be careful. The views are breath taking.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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1999-09-16 joebartels
  • Sedona Trails 2018
    region related
    Sedona Trails 2018
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent of 34 deeper Triplog Reviews
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
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Sedona Hike
this is the one i couldn't wait for. modified the Bruce/Joe loop by tagging on some excellent additional trail miles and circling around behind cathedral. there was a big storm front moving in that evening so i knew i was on the clock a little bit for this one.

started off messing around up on the beautiful bell rock. went up the lower chute and decided in the interest of time (ie storm) to call it there, for this trip. i will be back for the top one day. scrambled down and around on courthouse butte. took a minute to figure out the unmarked loop out to the rabbit ears. the way out is a bit of a rocky slog, but once you hit the high point, loop around to magnificent view of the rabbit ears and bring it home on the much more entertaining northern leg, this becomes a much more worthwhile excursion!

scenic traverse on llama and little horse over to chicken point for the next high yield part of the hike. views from chicken point are always wonderful. broken arrow is great, then the absolutely fantastic high on the hog and hog heaven trails. man i love these two trails. completed the loop around the mountains on hog wash, mystic and chapel trails. headed back to 179 then crossed under it on little horse and the surprisingly nice HT trails.

next up was probably my most anticipated part of the day looping over to, up/down, then around cathedral. the templeton trail is underrated in my opinion and the segment from HT to cathedral junction, i found to be lovely. this is when the weather really moved in. i contemplated bailing on going up/down cathedral since i've done it numerous times. instead i decided to just put on my bobby rockets and blast up and down. more templeton awesomeness to the creek, then short but sweet crossover on baldwin to the Hiline trail. Folks, we have another sedona winner with the Hiline Trail. completely awesome trail, with sections remniscent of the hogs/hangover. the weather was pretty crazy at this point so i had to keep it moving, but this was really outstanding. i had earlier notions of adding a few extra miles at the end with looping made in the shade and slim shady, but it was pretty clear it was time to call it a day. and i was getting sick of the wind at this point too. ha

outstanding big day out there, without that many people all things considered. my gps screwed up on me for a while on the little horse and broken arrow trails, so the numbers associated with my gps route are not right (a little too low, especially the elevation). for those interested, the route is good though.
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
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Oak Creek quintet
Hiked the 5 road-to-rim trails on the east side of upper Oak Creek Canyon. Up and back down on Purtymun, Thomas Point and Telephone, then up Harding / north on the connector trail / down Cookstove. All are steep, well-constructed trails with scenery and big views. I expected more of a thrash on Purtymun but its in mostly good condition all the way to the rim, so it's clearly getting some use and unofficial maintenance.

Hit Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock on the way out of town, fun slickrock.
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
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Cathedral Loop Plus
Kelly and I planned a Sunday hike in Sedona. I put together two options, the other included and in and out on Huckaby to Marge's Draw and a visit to Snoopy. We, however, opted for the Cathedral Loop. I did some further Rx and a route was born. I emailed the Mays to see if there were available and now the plan came together.

The others pretty much covered this hike.I'm just glad you can now do it as a loop altho an out and back in Sedona is never really a bad thing. I was also happy we got to hike it with Wade and Mary Jo. It doubles the enjoyment as this type of hike is fun to share with others.
Trail was in great condition whether you were going up or down. Hiking it counterclockwise is the better choice as the bike traffic is coming toward you for the most part. We saw limited bike action today altho we did encounter a fellow who claimed to help design/build the Hiline Trail (Double Black Diamond).
The views were almost always great except the other side of Baldwin with the power line in the way. For 10 miles you get a lot of bang for your buck and even the hills are short-lived though steep in parts.

I think my pictures pretty much tell the rest of the story. Let's just say it's a hike you'd do over again... even the next day. I haven't even looked at the movies yet as I just finished off the video from my First Water Massacre Grounds Loop from a couple weeks ago.

Thanks to Wade, our own personal squadron commander, for driving. We had a great late lunch/early dinner at Blue Moon. Food has consistently been good there over the years and you don't have to fight Sedona traffic.

very heavy Blackfoot Daisies. moderate Cliff-Rose.
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
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Cathedral Rock Loop
This has got to be one of my favorite hikes ever! Absolutely beautiful at every turn. Tibber organized and planned a great loop for us and it was one of those rare opportunities that all of our schedules worked out to hike together in Sedona. This loop gives you a different landscape and a variety of trail conditions and challenges. The highlights of the day was the climb to Cathedral Rock. Kelly (trekkin_gecko) scooted right up the channel to the top without a sweat. It was such a fun climb, placing your feet and hands in the foot holds and lifting yourself up at each step. Nothing really that difficult if you are in good shape. (Don't bring hiking sticks--they just get in the way.) This climb was more challenging for me as I am OLD and need to do training squats everyday to prepare for this type of hike. We spent a lot of time on top taking photos and watching others celebrate their successful climb. There were a lot more people on the trail as we descended. Going down looks much scarier but it is definitely a lot easier. The second favorite highlight was ascending Hiline Trail. Yikes. I cannot believe mountain bikers go down that horrendous trail. It is marked as a Double Black Diamond! Going up was not technically difficult but was physically taxing for me. I love being challenged. My third favorite highlight was at Oak Creek while we were having lunch. We watched and photographed this beautiful hawk that kept flying over the creek. It perched on a tree and after we gave up trying to get him (or her) to pay attention to us so that we could get a good photo of him/her, we decided to pack it up and hit the trail again. Just then....the hawk swooped off the limb down into the water and grabbed a fish or a frog with its talons and flew into the woods for a tasty lunch. It was awesome! No one got it on camera but it is ingrained to our memory forever! All trails we hiked on were wonderful. Some were easy, some were a climb, but the trails were well maintained. I love hiking on grippy sandstone. The day flew by because every where you look, it is GORGEOUS! I will do this hike again! Thanks Angela (Tibber) and Kelly (Trekkin Gecko) for a fantastic day and including Wade (AZWanderingBear) and I (AZBeaver).
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
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Cathedral Rock Loop
Had a rare Sunday off. Got a nice invite to join Angela and Kelly on some trails MJ and I hadn't yet done. Trails were very nice, weather was perfect, and the company was great. Got to the Yavapai Vista trailhead early enough to get a parking spot. Trails weren't crowded at all except near trail heads and the creek.

Kelly insisted on the climb/scramble up Cathedral Rock Trail. Lower portions were crowded, but they thinned out nicely with more elevation. My lungs reminded me I hadn't been going uphill much lately. Need to fix that. Views at the top were extremely good.

Oak Creek is always a jewel in the desert. We took that part of the trail slowly, enjoying the small riffles and the deeper pools. We took a snack break near the feeding grounds for a fishing hawk. I missed the swoop that netted him a frog unfortunately.

The variety of terrain, views and abundant wild flowers on the Hiline really gave us a great ending to a very memorable hike. I expect to be back on this loop in the future. It's one of those you look forward to repeating.
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
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Cathedral Rock Loop
very fun loop that has been on our radar for about a year now
@azwanderingbear and @azbeaver were able to join @tibber and i for it
we started from yavapai vista but there are other options for parking
best to go counterclockwise so that you meet the mountain bikers descending hiline head on
we added cathedral rock from templeton since wade and mary jo hadn't been up there
also took the long way on baldwin, but another time we would take the cutoff for better scenery
all the trails were nice, providing a variety of views and terrain
templeton dropped down to oak creek, where we stopped for a snack
very lush and green along the creek
saw a hawk swoop down and snatch what we think was a frog out of the creek :o
the west side of baldwin was the least interesting, but hit the hiline soon enough
great trail with a couple of gnarly climbs and a good stretch on slickrock similar to hangover trail
dropped back down to slim shady and out
saw a few hikers on templeton, tons on the cathedral rock trail, a few near the creek and some bikers on hiline
can't imagine going down those drops
perfect temps all day, slightly overcast much of the time, and slight breeze
very enjoyable day with good company
nice to get out with mary jo and wade again
angela, we've picked some good ones this year
highly recommend this hike, keeping the cathedral rock spur but taking the shortest segment of baldwin
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
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Cathedral Rock Loop Sedona
Park at the Yavapai Vista parking area. Note that the parking area can only be accessed from the southbound lanes of SR179. From the ranger station, head north on SR179 5.5 miles to the Back o Beyond roundabout at milepost 310. Go completely around it and head back south towards Phoenix for 1.5 miles and take a right into Yavapai Vista, a little past milepost 309.
We started at the Yavapai Point on the Yavapai Vista trailhead. There are several converging trails here, so be watchful. You are taking the Slim-Shady trail to the HiLine. Most of the elevation occurs on the HiLine section of this trail.
Both the HiLine and the Slim-Shady trails continue somewhat opposite directions (Slim-Shady roughly parallels the highway, while the HiLine generally runs east-west). When you hit the HiLine trail, head west (left). The trail is best done in this clockwise direction.
The trail intersection is clearly marked; don't be alarmed by the sign that cautions "Extreme Difficulty" - this is for mountain bikers only. And we encountered more than a few, especially as the day went on, so I conclude that this may be a popular network of bike trails as well.
The trail is clearly marked and in most places very well worn. In the few places where you are hiking on the sandstone, there are white symbols that show the main trail...but as I said, the bikes have also clearly marked out the path...
About 3 to 3.5 miles in you will intersect the Baldwin trail. This is also the "exit" for the HiLine trail if you are on a mountain bike. Bear to the right (north/northeasterly); this is the eastern segment of the Baldwin trail. After about 1 mile you intersect the Templeton trail and are in sight of Oak Creek. About 100 paces to the right (going east) on the Templeton trail, the trail goes right down to the creek, and this makes a pleasant lunch spot. (We actually went about 100 paces to the west and came down to the creek at that point, but it wasn't as comfortable as we had expected.)
Oak Creek was running quite high the day we went, to the point that any ideas about crossing it or even cooling off were quickly set aside. But the views of Cathedral Rock from this point are spectacular.
After an extended break, we continued down the Templeton trail to the east. Once you climb out of the canyon - along a very well-worn and heavily used stone trail - you are over halfway through this hike.
Continue on the Templeton and you are going east, with Cathedral Rock on your right. Once you intersect the Cathedral Rock Trail, you may want to add an addition mile or so (plus associated elevation gain/loss) by hiking up the Rock, but our group was just enjoying the views so we passed on without attempting the Rock trail.
There was some ups-and-downs for the next couple of miles, but the trail was still well-marked and well-trod.
At the intersection of the Slim-Shady trail, turn south (right). Follow the Slim-Shady back to the intersection of the Yavapai Point and then down the Yavapai Vista trail back to the parking lot.
Some of our group missed the turnoff and continued down to the end of the Slim-Shady, which is the we had an additional mile back, hiking along the road.
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
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Bell Rabbit Chicken Hog Church Cathedral
Bell Rock
Hands down the highlight. Using 9L's posted route it was easy to decipher. Based on the tunnel through the scrub at the bottom and the register up top this place gets a lot of visitors.

Rabbit Ears
Heard of this 11 years ago and have been mildly curious. I prefer the north part of the loop over the south. Once is probably enough. It's cool you can see the ears driving south on I-17!

The Hogs
16 years ago I mountain biked Broken Arrow. Memories of so so kept it off my return list. The Hog trails are near perfect. A low key manicured version of Hangover Trail ( favorite ). Edgy trail through lots of cypress, need I say more. Thx to tibber/gecko for bringing these great trails to light.

Templeton Trail
Bruce put this hike together. I suggested the missing spice Cathedral Rock utilizing HT & Templeton to connect. Unexpectedly found out the connectors are decent hiking. When you aren't in the cypress you are surrounded by the distant red rock formations. This trail goes to Red Rock Crossing, I may have under estimated it's potential. Tough to give it a higher rating going under a hwy and with such other great choices nearby. Let's call it a high 3.9 of 5!

I enjoyed the entire hike. Sedona, the forest service or whoever has done a great job with most of the trails and signage. I'm not a fan of over networked trail systems like the cough north McDowells. It works very well in this spectacular land of red rock. Wonderful weather and friendly yoga enthusiast may have made this hike better than normal.
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
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Bell Rabbit Chicken Hog Church Cathedral
For all the times I've hiked in Sedona, I've never really hiked much in this area. I put together a loop, Joe tweaked it a bit, and we were off.

First up, getting to the top of Bell Rock. Joe picked a decent ascent route to the top. There are only a couple spots that make you think a bit. We had the top to ourselves. Great morning views of the area.

Video from the top :next:

Next up, an area that's off the main drag. I've wanted to get a better view of the "Rabbit Ears" and found this unmarked loop on Satellite View that get's you close. We saw one mountain biker, walking her bike on the trail and that was it. A nice little change from the perfectly groomed Sedona main corridor trails.

Just before making it to Chicken Point, I lost Joe to a Yoga Class for a bit.

The High on the Hog and Hog Heaven Trails need to be put on your list if you are in this area. We were calling this the Hangover junior Trail. Great trail with great views.

After taking Joe to church, it was off to Cathedral Rock. The HT Trail and Templeton Trails are a worthy alternatives to reaching Cathedral Rock. Being one of the most popular areas in Sedona, it was jumping with all types. Including Infants, puppies, yoga pants and Grandmas.

I really enjoyed this loop with perfect weather in gods country.
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
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The kids like my adventure videos and wanted to have one of their own so we went to Sedona for a day over spring break. Cathedral Rock is the first half of the video below. ... ng6s

Permit $$
Red Rock Pass - may or may not be required. Go to Red Rock Pass then check "When is a Red Rock Pass Required?". If you have questions contact the Coconino forest service.

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Phoenix go North on Highway I-17 to the Sedona Exit which is SR179. Turn left to go to Sedona. Past Oak Creek Village and about 3 miles before the 'Y' in Sedona ( 179/89A ) turn left onto Back O' Beyond Rd. From the turn it's only about 0.7 miles to the most obvious and usually crowded trail parking area on the left. (Note: I didn't get exact mileage on these directions)
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