Templeton Trail, AZ | HikeArizona
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Templeton Trail, AZ

Guide 65 Triplogs  1 Topic
  3.7 of 5 
263 65 1
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 3.35 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,000 feet
Elevation Gain -319 feet
Accumulated Gain 257 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.21
 Backpack No
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10  2022-09-15
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4  2021-04-21
Slim Shady Loop
14  2020-09-19
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9  2020-08-26
Cathedral Rock Trail #170 - Sedona
5  2020-04-18
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19  2019-11-23
Hiline Trail - Sedona
9  2019-04-20
Slim Shady - Templeton
18  2018-05-01
Sedona Hike
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
author avatar Guides 14
Routes 0
Photos 720
Trips 187 map ( 1,244 miles )
Age 64 Female Gender
Location Apache Junction, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Sedona Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred May, Jun, Oct, Nov → 1 PM
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  7:25am - 5:57pm
Official Route
12 Alternative

Stairway to Heaven
by Trishness

This trail is more recognized now. The FS summary and old "Templeton to Cathedral Rock" follows.

FS Summary
The Templeton Trail begins off the Bell Rock Pathway just north of Bell Rock, goes under Route 179 through a tunnel, and heads northwest. It intersects the H.T. Trail at 1 mile. (New as of 4/20/2007: there is a new alignment for the Templeton Trail. A new box culvert has been installed to take the trail under the new road construction. Also, cairns have been established to help people find their way. Go through the box culvert - it even has the trail name on it!)

The Templeton Trail continues northwest and onto a shoulder of Cathedral Rock, where it intersects the middle of the Cathedral Rock Trail at 2.4 miles. The Templeton Trail continues ahead over level ground and curves around the north end of Cathedral Rock, where there are great views. It then descends steeply and follows beside the creek for a time. The trail ends at 3.5 miles at its intersection with the Baldwin Trail, which comes in from the left through a fence line and continues ahead.

Templeton to Cathedral Rock Templeton Trail has no "official" trailhead but starts at a pull-off near mile marker 309 across from the Bell Rock Path off Highway 179. This is a nice enough trail with minimal elevation gain, just some nice ups n'downs, and I followed it about 3.5 miles to the intersection with the Baldwin Trail. At about 1 mile, you come to the intersection of the HT Trail, and at about 2.5 miles, you cross a slick rock area at the junction of Cathedral Rock Trail. I continued on Templeton to the Baldwin Trail with my sights set on climbing Cathedral Rock Trail on my way back. Lovely red rock views throughout, and then I heard the waters of Oak Creek running but didn't see the creek until near the intersection with Baldwin. I stayed near the creek a while, soaking my feet in the icy cold water, and then headed back to tackle Cathedral Rock. This was, by far, the best part of this hike as I ascended 650 feet of very steep slick rock in about 0.4 miles. Huge cairns mark the way. The first section was pretty tough as it was two curved areas of slick rock that came together with a nice big natural drainage in the middle. It took a little maneuvering to get up this, but I was determined to climb up this. It looked like there were several ways to get around this area, but I wanted to challenge myself and do it the hard way. Joe wrote up about this hike under Cathedral Rock Trail. There are some pretty steep and potentially dangerous sections. I can't even imagine doing this in wet weather. This trail is exposed, so doing it later in the day is a plus since you'll be hiking in the shade.

Once past this area, the rest was nature's stairs climbing the rest of the way to the saddle. The trail hooks to the left as it ascends with gorgeous views of Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock~~~As I approached the saddle, I was so awestruck at the size and shapes of the spires that make up this beautiful piece of rock. I reached the saddle, and I was the only one up there, except for one other lone hiker who was sitting out on a ledge meditating and just soaking it all in. I managed to capture a picture of him out there, and I think it just epitomizes why we all need to do this. The view was beyond words as you looked out to the west, the sun starting to hang low in the sky. My new friend and I exchanged some pleasantries then he took a picture of me with my camera and left. I enjoyed a marvelous view and true solitude for a good 30 minutes but got so caught up in the majesty of it all, I lost all track of time, and it was close to 4:45 when I realized I only had about an hour and a half of light left to hike down and out, close to 3 miles to my car. I reluctantly left my perch and started back and made quick time back to my car, although it was pretty dark when I arrived there. Somehow it's always easier & faster for me to descend than to ascend, but you have to be careful on that slick rock.

This was one spectacular hike and a new favorite! I get to Sedona every year, and I plan on doing this hike again, except I want to do this late in the day, watch the sunset, and the stars come out... it's that magical.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2004-10-19 Trishness
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    2021 Verde Valley Area
  • 2021 Sedona Trails Map
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    2021 Sedona Trails Map

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.

 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.

Paved - Car Okay

To hike
2004 from Phoenix: I-17 to the Highway 179 exit. Turn left at the end of the exit and go through Oak Creek Village. There's a parking apron near mile marker 309 on your left. Trail starts here.

Forest Service: This trail has four access points: 1) from Bell Rock Pathway 1/3 miles north of Bell Rock; 2) from the Little Horse Trail parking area (Route 179 and milepost 309.8) and taking the Pathway south .3 miles to the H.T. Trail and then 3/4 miles southwest; 3) via the Cathedral Rock Trail for 0.3 miles from its trailhead off Back O'Beyond Road; 4) from the Baldwin Trail

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