We didn’t have time to hike Doe Mountain Trail on our first trip to Sedona, so we made it a point to return and finally check the hike off our bucket list.
While Doe Mountain Trail is short, it over-delivers on views and is perhaps the most underrated hike in all of Sedona. Our first time in Sedona, we hiked the neighboring trail, Bear Mountain, and figured the two views couldn’t be much different.
We were mistaken.
Doe Mountain Trail has all the views, and more, compared to Bear Mountain Trail, but requires a fraction of the effort to soak them in.
For visitors looking to fit as much into their trip to Sedona, by checking off multiple hikes in one day, Doe Mountain Trail is a win-win.
In this guide, I highlight what to expect hiking Doe Mountain Trail in Sedona, finding the trailhead, trail fees, the best time to start the hike, and other Sedona trails you can’t miss.
Complete Guide to Hiking Doe Mountain Trail in Sedona, Arizona
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Doe Mountain Trail Stats
Distance: 1.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 511 feet
Time: 30 minutes-1 Hour
Dogs: On Leash
Hiking Doe Mountain Trail requires a $5 Red Rocks day pass. Passes can be purchased at a kiosk in the lot and displayed in your vehicle. This pass is also good for several hikes in Sedona such as Cathedral Rock and Bear Mountain.
If you have an America the Beautiful Park Pass, your fee is covered.
Best Time to Hike Doe Mountain Trail
As with all hikes in Sedona, the most enjoyable and beautiful time to be on the trail is sunrise or sunset. The red rocks of the desert glow bright red and orange during either time of day.
While it’s not always possible to plan a hike during these times, it’s important to have the right expectations depending on the time of day you hike.
Doe Mountain Trail is exposed, making the views and sun equally unobstructed. Due to the lack of tree coverage, the trail heats up quickly. Since the trail is short, this isn’t a huge issue. However, if you’re particularly sensitive to heat, keep this in mind.
Additionally, the earlier or later you’re on the trail lowers your probability of sharing the trail with others.
While Doe Mountain Trail isn’t exceptionally packed at any time of day, and the top is expansive allowing space to spread out, it’s always nice to have a trail all to yourself.
What to Expect Hiking Doe Mountain Trail
Doe Mountain Trail begins right out of the parking lot next to the kiosk. If you were to cross the street from the parking lot you would be headed toward Bear Mountain.
There are vault toilets located in the lot. Make sure to use the bathroom before the hike as there are no facilities on the trail.
The trail starts off mellow with little elevation gain. Despite the lack of elevation, the views are gorgeous. The trail is surrounded by a variety of desert flora and there are towering red mesas in all directions.
While the views up the trail are beautiful, don’t forget to turn around from time to time and glance back towards Bear Mountain.
Shortly into Doe Mountain Trail, you come to the switchbacks. The switchbacks are long and gradual and slowly start leading hikers to the top of Doe Mountain.
The trail is narrow measuring about one hiker’s width. While most of the Doe Mountain Trail is easygoing there are two segments along this section of trail that require some scrambling.
When you come to the first segment, the trail seemingly breaks down for a split second just as you’re rounding out a switchback. This rocky segment is brief but can cause some pause.
Take your time here and traverse the slanted rock to get back on the dirt trail.
The second segment occurs just before you come to the top of Doe Mountain. Here the trail has you shimmy up and over the rocks using your hands before reaching the summit.
Again, the scramble is quick and well worth the effort.
The top of Doe Mountain Trail is vast, beckoning hikers to explore in all directions. To help with this, there are several social trails navigating around the top.
Remember to be mindful of your footing as you explore, and remain on the social trails at all times to protect the fragile desert flora.
Take your time touring the summit in search of the best spot to take a seat and soak in the views. Personally, my favorite spot at the summit was found by traversing the top diagonally to the back side.
If you plan to remain at the top for sunset, which I highly recommend, make sure to pack along a headlamp for a safe return to your car.
Other Must-Do Hikes in Sedona
Doe Mountain Trail is located off Boynton Pass Road. Some of the best hikes in all of Sedona are located within minutes of the parking lot.
You can’t take a trip to Sedona and only explore one trail. Sedona is filled to the brim with incredible hikes. Below are some nearby hikes I recommend checking out while you’re in the area.
Bear Mountain Trail
Distance: 5 miles | Type: Out-and-Back | Time: 3.5 hrs – 5 hrs | Level: Hard
Bear Mountain Trail is right across the road from Doe Mountain Trail. It’s a challenging hike that awards hikers with panoramic views of red rocks, canyons, buttes, and mountains.
The trail is rugged and steep and puts hikers to work immediately. The good news is, while the elevation never lets up, neither do the views.
Bear Mountain Trail was the first hike we did on our Sedona trip and remains one of our favorite trails in the area.
Fay Canyon Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles | Type: Out-and-Back | Time: 45 min. – 1.5 hrs | Level: Easy
Located just a minute down the road from Doe Mountain Trail is Fay Canyon.
Fay Canyon Trail is an easygoing, good-for-the-whole family, Sedona trail. It’s a short trail with little to no elevation gain, making it a great trail to do following a lengthier hike. Who doesn’t love getting to knock out multiple trails in one day?
The only downfall to the hike is the number of people most likely enjoying the trail also.
However, if you’re looking for a short hike, packed with dramatic views at the end, Fay Canyon Trail is the trail for you.
Subway Cave Hike
Distance: 7 miles | Type: Out-and-Back | Time: 4 – 6 hrs | Level: Moderate
A short 4-minute drive down Boynton Pass Road will lead you to another popular Sedona trail.
Subway Cave remains on our list of must-do Sedona hikes. The cave can be found by taking a detour from Boynton Canyon Trail. Like Fay Canyon, Boynton Canyon is also a relatively flat and mellow trail, despite its length.
While the trail is relatively easy, getting up to the Subway Cave takes a bit of scrambling. If you’re not afraid of heights, the scramble is worth it for the unique views of the cave.
To entice you even more, Boynton Canyon is a known Sedona vortex location.
Are you planning a trip to Sedona? If you have any questions about other hikes or must-do adventures in the area check out my Arizona adventure guides or drop me a message in the comment section below!
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