Sedona has an abundance of striking red rock formations, but few stir inspiration within a soul like Cathedral Rock, with its magnificent, multi-hued striations of rock and mineral. While there are several areas that allow visitors to view this incredible natural structure from a picturesque distance, it is an entirely different experience altogether to hike the trail around Cathedral Rock and get a view from up close and personal.
The trail here is short; it does not span quite the full length of a mile. However, it is a challenging and strenuous trail that is most enjoyable if you do not have a fear of heights, quickly rising over six hundred feet in elevation. The middle section of the trail is nearly vertical and requires climbing. Fortunately, the trail is well-marked, and hikers are easily found on this trail.
It is recommended that hikers take on this trail in the afternoon, as the trail follows the eastern side of the mountain and is shaded from the sun in the afternoon hours. Once you reach the top, the plateau is narrow, with each side holding steep slopes. The width here is about that of a wide sidewalk, with several stones nearby that are ideal for sitting and taking in the scenery if you do not let a fear of heights kick in.
You can also take a detour through Templeton Trail, which crosses Cathedral Rock Trail near the base. If you take Templeton Trail, you will descend into the forest and follow Oak Creek to Red Rock Crossing, where you can view Cathedral Rock from the back. Take in the best views by sticking to the path when the name changes from Templeton to Baldwin Trail, particularly when Baldwin ends on a dirt road. You’ll want to turn right and stay on the path, walking down the road for about ten minutes.
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