If you’re planning a trip to Sedona, chances are you have your sights set on completing the Devils Bridge hike. The bridge is an iconic rock formation and a rite of passage for Sedona first-timers.
Devils Bridge is the largest sandstone arch in Sedona making it a very popular and heavily trafficked destination. It won’t be a secluded hike but rest assured it’s worth the crowds and the inevitable picture line at the top.
In this guide, I cover four different trail options for accessing Devils Bridge, which route is the best route, what to expect, and additional Sedona trails you can’t miss.
Hiking Devils Bridge Trail: Everything You Need to Know
No Parking Fee
Learn more about which hikes in Sedona require a $5 pass here.
If you want to avoid the parking stress altogether, you’re in luck. There is a free shuttle that takes hikers to the Dry Creek Parking Lot. From this lot, hikers can choose to take Dry Creek Road, Chuck Wagon Trail, or the Mescal Trail to reach Devils Bridge Trailhead.
The shuttle runs Thursday – Sunday, year-round, from 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. You can park at the Posse Grounds Park and Ride at 20 Carruth Drive to catch the shuttle.
You can learn more about the shuttle and shuttle stops here.
Devils Bridge Trailhead Options
Visitors have several route options for completing the Devils Bridge hike in Sedona. There are four hiking routes, including one route that requires a high clearance, 4×4 vehicle.
I have listed the four route options in order from most recommended to least recommended.
Chuck Wagon Trail to Devils Bridge Trail
Distance: 5.7 miles | Type: Out-and-back | Time: 2.5– 3 hours | Level: Moderate
Per the recommendation of some local friends, we completed the Devils Bridge hike via the Chuck Wagon Trail. This route adds some length to the hike and provides a more scenic path for hikers.
To access the Chuck Wagon Trailhead, visitors park in the lot off of Dry Creek Road. The parking lot is big but it fills up quickly.
We parked just after sunrise and the lot was about half full. By the time we returned, it was completely full and cars were lining Dry Creek Road.
While this route is the longest of the four options, it is relatively easy with little elevation gain. The trail is well marked with a groomed footpath. Truthfully, it feels less like a hike and more like an enjoyable stroll.
Chuck Wagon merges with the Mescal Trail, which eventually meets up with the official Devils Bridge Trailhead. Make sure to pay attention to signs and have the trail map downloaded for offline use before beginning.
We were able to knock out the trail quickly and only passed two or three other hikers before merging with Devils Bridge Trail. Chuck Wagon is also a popular biking trail in the area so keep your eyes peeled for bikers when hiking.
Mescal Trail to Devils Bridge Trail
Distance: 4 miles | Type: Out-and-back | Time: 1.5– 2 hours | Level: Easy – Moderate
Completing the Devils Bridge hike via the Mescal Trail is another great option for people looking for a more scenic alternative while avoiding any parking stress.
To access Mescal Trail you do not park in the Dry Creek Road lot, per the other route options, but instead, park off of Long Canyon Road. The trail to Devils Bridge via Mescal Trail will begin on the same side as the parking area.
As mentioned earlier, the Chuck Wagon and Mescal trails merge. Much of the trail is the same when starting from Mescal, it’s just a shorter option compared to Chuck Wagon.
If the Dry Creek Road parking lot is full, consider beginning at the Mescal Trailhead.
Drive Dry Creek Road to Devils Bridge Trailhead (4×4 Clearance Required)
Distance: 1.8 miles | Type: Out-and-back | Time: 40 min. – 1 hour | Level: Easy – Moderate
Beginning at Chuck Wagon or Mescal Trailhead are my top two recommendations for the best way to experience the Devils Bridge hike because we enjoy hikes that are on the longer side.
However, if you prefer short hikes and have a high clearance, 4×4 vehicle you can drive directly to the Devils Bridge Trailhead. This option allows visitors to continue driving past the Dry Creek parking lot, up Dry Creek Road and straight to the trailhead.
Take note that this road is only suitable for high clearance vehicles. The pictures here do not do the ruggedness of the road justice. The dirt road consists of huge potholes and large rocks. You will also most likely be navigating around hikers accessing the Devils Bridge hike via Dry Creek Road.
We only saw two or three vehicles making this drive during our hike. It seems as though most people choose to hike in.
If you do decide to drive straight to the trailhead, this route provides the shortest option for hiking Devils Bridge Trail.
Hike Dry Creek Road to Devils Bridge Trail
Distance: 3.9 miles | Type: Out-and-back | Time: 1.5– 2 hours | Level: Easy – Moderate
The last option and my least recommended option for completing the Devils Bridge hike in Sedona is hiking via Dry Creek Road.
Unfortunately, many visitors end up taking this route. When you search Devils Bridge Trail on Alltrails this route pops up. It’s misleading because many visitors expect a trail, when in fact this route has you walking on a wide, dirt road.
Keep in mind that the road is not flat nor paved. In fact, we walked Dry Creek Road on our return hike just to see what it was like and found it to be more difficult than Chuck Wagon Trail.
The road is rough, dusty, and quite frankly boring — and if a vehicle passes you get dusted out. I highly recommend avoiding this route and starting from either Chuck Wagon or Mescal for a more enjoyable hike.
After all, this route is nearly the exact same distance as beginning at the Mescal Trailhead.
What to Expect Hiking Devils Bridge Trail in Sedona
Devils Bridge Trailhead
Regardless of which route you take, they all eventually meet at the Devils Bridge Trailhead. Once we arrived at this point from our Chuck Wagon starting point, we began seeing several other hikers.
From this point, the intensity of the hike also increases as the trail begins to gain elevation. The trail remains well maintained but you begin to encounter more inclines, rocks, and eventually stairs.
The last scramble to the top is what gives most hikers pause. There’s a short stint in the trail where the path leads hikers straight up a natural rock staircase. Take your time here. It looks worse than it is.
Once you conquer this section of trail, the highly sought-after Devils Bridge is just up ahead.
If you have already visited Arches National Park, hands down the mecca of natural arches, you might be slightly underwhelmed by Devils Bridge.
While it didn’t compare to my favorite hike in Arches, I would have regretted skipping it. What makes Devils Bridge appealing is the opportunity hikers have to walk across it.
From the ground and side views, the bridge looks much more narrow than it is. Once you approach the bridge head-on you realize its substantial in width and sturdiness.
If you don’t have a fear of heights I recommend walking across for a unique experience. Be aware you will not be the only one waiting for a chance to walk on the bridge. Expect a line of those eager to get their picture taken in the middle of the Sedona icon.
Be patient and offer to take someone’s photo if you’re feeling extra friendly.
Best Time to Hike Devil’s Bridge Trail
We arrived at the top around 8:30 a.m. or so and were happy to find roughly only 10 others at the top. While that may seem like a large number, we ran into hikers on other trails who said they experienced upwards of 50.
With that being said, I’m not sure if there is a “good” time to visit the trail. We usually aim for sunrise when we know a trail is popular, but a hiker friend said their sunrise experience was a zoo.
My advice would be to go during the week if possible, and begin the hike early. However, If those two things don’t fit into your travel schedule, just be prepared to share the trail with many others and take it for what it is.
Regardless of its popularity, Devils Bridge is still a worthy Sedona bucket list stop.
More Sedona Hiking Trails You Can’t Miss
While we were glad we opted to complete the Devils Bridge hike, it was far from our favorite trail in Sedona. Check out my must-do trail recommendations below for a trip to Sedona you won’t forget.
Cathedral Rock Trail
Cathedral Rock is another emblematic spot in Sedona that completely exceeded our expectations. My favorite memory from the trip was watching the rocks burn fiery red during sunset.
The hike is popular and therefore inevitably congested, but I can honestly say I didn’t mind. The hike to the top of Cathedral Rock is a challenging scramble (don’t be fooled by its short distance) so hikers naturally spread out to catch their breath.
Once you’re at the top, there’s plenty of room to disperse along with the saddle. Many hikers were sitting down silently, soaking in the views.
A little insider’s tip: the best views are not the ones you see initially. Adventure along the left of the saddle to find my favorite view of Cathedral Rock Trail.
Read my guide, Hiking Cathedral Rock at Sunset, to see why it should be at the top of your Sedona bucket list.
Bear Mountain Trail
Bear Mountain was our first hike in Sedona and remains today one of our favorites.
The trek up Bear Mountain is stunning. The hike boasts 360-degree views, but it definitely makes you work for them. Plan for the hike to be hot, strenuous, and steep.
Bear Mountain is challenging but absolutely worth the climb as it delivers some of the best views in all of Sedona. Check out my complete guide to hiking Bear Mountain Trail to see for yourself why it’s a must-do hike in Sedona.
Wilson Mountain Trail
Wilson Mountain wasn’t even on our radar prior to us landing in Sedona. It’s not as talked about as the other aforementioned hikes but it’s the best one, in my opinion.
Wilson Mountain is the tallest peak in Sedona and enjoyable from start to finish. We loved Wilson Mountain Trail for several reasons but the hike’s hearty length, panoramic views, and lack of trail traffic are at the top of the list.
If you’re looking to put in some miles and see some off-the-beaten-path trail in Sedona, look no further. Read my full guide on hiking Wilson Mountain Trail to see why it was our favorite adventure in Sedona.
Have you taken a trip to Sedona or planning one in the future? If you have any questions about other hikes or adventures in the area, drop me a message in the comment section below!
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