Day Trip – Devil’s Bridge and Sedona
Sedona is one of Arizona’s most prominent tourist attractions. In fact, PlanetWare ranked Sedona in the state’s top 15 tourist destinations alongside the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon. The city is home to mild temperatures, a vibrant art scene, breathtaking red rocks and mysterious energy vortexes—it’s the perfect place for a quick day trip.
Devil’s Bridge is a massive stone arch and can be considered one of Sedona’s most popular sights. From the summit, you’ll get dramatic views of a valley and Capital Butte—and the bridge of course, which was created by wind and other weather erosion. The trail is great for families, so bring the kids along. If you are looking for solitude among the red rocks, though, this isn’t your hike. People come from far and wide to take in the bridge and its surrounding splendor.
Read on for details on the trail and a few suggested activities to extend your day in the red rocks.
4 miles round trip
Devil’s Bridge can be accessed via a few different trails that vary in distance. For the purposes of this post, we’re focusing on the middle-distance option (the shorter option is 2 miles round trip and the longer option is 6 miles round trip). You’ll start your journey at the Mescal Trailhead on Long Canyon Road (see below for driving directions to the trailhead).
Follow the trail across small washes that may or may not be running and take in the piñon, juniper and manzanita trees.
When the trail intersects with the Chuckwagon Trail, veer left and follow the trail until you meet the Devil’s Bridge Trail. From here, you’ll hike past the official trailhead for Devil’s Bridge and will begin a steep, one-mile climb to the bridge viewpoint. Feel free to walk out onto the bridge and take photos and spend some time taking in the view.
A $5 Red Rock Pass is required to hike. Click here for a list of locations that sell passes. Dogs are allowed and must be kept on a leash. Four-wheel drive cars are not necessary.
Meals & Things to Do:
On the way there — Stop for breakfast at Rock Springs Café or Macy’s European Coffee House.
If you’re driving up from Phoenix, Rock Springs Café is a perfect point to stop and stretch your legs on the drive up to Sedona. In addition to great breakfast fare, the café is known for its pies – because pie counts as breakfast, right?
If your starting point is up north, swing by Macy’s European Coffee House in downtown Flagstaff. It’s a local mainstay that has been serving up great coffee and an all vegetarian menu of pastries and breakfast and lunch fare for 30 years.
Lunch – Javelina Cantina
Refuel after your hike at this popular Mexican food spot. Take in views of the red rocks while you eat and sip on Javelina Cantina’s famous margaritas (we recommend the prickly pear flavor). The street corn, shrimp tacos and the quesadilla are great main course options. Entrée portions are on the larger side here, so it may be smart to share if you’ve got a smaller appetite.
After lunch, drive up the 179 and take 89A into downtown Sedona. Check out the art galleries, shops, and grab a sweet treat.
Dinner – Oak Creek Brewery & Grill
Cool off on your way out of town at Oak Creek Brewery & Grill. This brewery and restaurant is located in the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. Grab a locally-brewed beer and a bite from the grill’s extensive selection of wings, burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizzas and more. Check out local artisans’ work in the quaint shops. You’ll find one-of-a-kind pieces in renowned sculptor Chris Navarro’s Navarro Gallery, handmade Native American jewelry at Nectar and pottery from talented Southwestern artists at Esteban’s.
If you’re in town on the first Friday of the month, stick around for First Fridays in the Gallery District. Hitch a ride on the Sedona Trolley and visit art galleries throughout the Gallery District and Uptown from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. We’ve heard that Exposures International Gallery of Art is a must-see.
From Phoenix, take I-17 north toward Flagstaff. Take exit 298 for State Route 179 North. When you reach the roundabout intersection of SR 179 and SR 89A, turn southwest on SR 89A. Drive about 3 miles to Dry Creek road. Turn right and continue for 2.7 miles until you reach Long Canyon Road. The parking area for the Mescal Trailhead will be on the right just after the turn.
From Flagstaff, take State Route 89A south to Sedona (about 30 miles). At the first roundabout, take the second exit to stay on AZ 89A. At the second roundabout, continue straight to stay on AZ 89A. Drive for about 3 miles and turn right onto Dry Creek Road. Turn right and continue for 2.7 miles until you reach Long Canyon Road. The parking area for the Mescal Trailhead will be on the right just after the turn.
Do you have other recommendations for activities in Sedona? Leave a comment with your tips and tricks!