Red Rock State Park: Best Hiking And Trails In Sedona, Arizona

Hike, ride a bike, or ride a horse on pathways that wind through Sedona’s famous red rock formations. Allow the breathtaking natural beauty to inspire you, as it has for centuries of tourists.

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Photo Credits; Anthony Medane

Red Rock State Park, located in the middle of the state, is a favorite road trip destination and a must-see for a multi-day trip to the Sedona region. The nature preserve has a visitor center and picnic sites where guests can enjoy the picturesque beauty of the surrounding Arizona red rocks. Red Rock State Park is a beautiful area that encourages visitors to tread gently, pack out what they pack in, and stay on designated paths. Environmental education and conservation are a key priority at this park.

Red Rock hiking & mountain biking

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Red Rock State Park’s five miles of interconnected trails are ideal for families seeking a less rigorous and more picturesque trek through red-rock terrain. Combining Eagles Nest Loop, Apache Fire Loop, and Coyote Ridge Trail allows hikers to create the optimal route for their group.

Join a naturalist for a guided walk every morning to learn about the science behind the rock formations and how to spot the native fauna that calls the park home. On the loop trails, biking is prohibited, but the park connects to U.S. Forest Service routes that are ideal for a ride through the red rocks. The better your performance, the pinker your socks will be at the conclusion of the route.

Things To Do

The majority of visitors to Red Rock State Park hike. The park features relatively short, family-friendly routes with gentle inclines, with the exception of the East Gate Trail, on which mountain bikes and horses are prohibited. In addition to self-directed treks, the park offers daily 10 a.m. guided nature walks and Wednesday and Saturday 9 a.m. guided bird walks. Red Rock State Park hosts themed hikes on topics such as archaeology and ethnobotany throughout the year.

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Visit the Miller Visitor Center before or after a trek to learn about area wildlife and early human residents through interactive displays and informational panels. In addition to seeing two informative videos about Sedona on a continuous loop, you may also purchase mementos from the gift shop.

Best Hikes & Trails

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Designed with families in mind, Red Rock State Park’s 5-mile trail network consists of three main loops connected by Kisva Trail. In comparison to others in the region, the trails are quite simple. However, this does not imply that they are dull. Keep an eye out for birds, wildlife, and beautiful scenery along the way.

Eagle’s Nest Trail: This 1.5-mile loop leads from the Kisva Trail up a hill all the way to the Eagle’s Nest, where you may take in expansive views of the riparian area you just traversed and the neighboring red rocks. Be prepared to hike considerably further than the length of the trail, however. You must take the Bunkhouse Trail to Kingfisher Bridge, cross Oak Creek, and then pick up the Kisva Trail to reach the trailhead. In total, anticipate a 2.5-mile round-trip trek.

Apache Fire Trail: Another popular loop, Apache Fire Trail, branches off Kisva Trail and encircle the old residence of the head of Trans World Airlines, the House of Apache Fire. The hike is about a mile round-trip from the visitor center, but you may link the Coyote Ridge Trail to the Eagle’s Nest Trail for a considerably longer journey.

This paved and packed dirt trail is less than half a mile long and four feet wide, making it an ideal alternative for families with young children and individuals with mobility concerns. Along the trail are benches and picnic tables that provide a space to pause and appreciate nature.

Lime Kiln Trail is a 15-mile trail that connects Red Rock State Park and Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Keep an eye out for wildlife and birds as you travel.

Scenic Routes

While there are no beautiful routes within the state park, there are plenty in the surrounding area.

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Red Rock Scenic Byway: Only 7.5 miles long, this segment of SR 179 extends west from I-17 to Sedona along Red Rock Scenic Byway. You will pass spectacular rock formations such as Bell Rock and attractions such as the Chapel of the Holy Cross along the way.

As it travels north from Sedona toward Flagstaff, Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive follows its namesake creek before winding out of the canyon. The path is packed with tourists throughout the summer, but you won’t complain because you’ll have more time to see the gorgeous surroundings.

Where to Camp

While camping is not permitted at Red Rock Creek State Park, there are other camping opportunities north of Sedona, primarily along SR 89A. A large portion of the adjacent Coconino National Forest is available for dispersed camping.

This 84-site campsite in Oak Creek Canyon can accommodate RVs, trailers, and motor homes up to 36 feet in length. There are no connections, but campers can enjoy showers, firepits, picnic tables, and a basic store.

This 59-site campsite is located on the banks of Oak Creek and in the shadow of Ponderosa pine. Pine Flat has accessible campsites with fire rings, grills, picnic tables, local hiking paths, and grills.

This modest, year-round campground near Oak Creek accommodates a maximum of ten campers but is close to Sedona’s downtown and Slide Rock State Park. Although there are no hookups, there are pit toilets available.

Animals on display

This riparian environment along Oak Creek draws birds and wildlife throughout the year. Wednesday and Saturday mornings feature guided bird walks conducted by professionals who know where to discover year-round inhabitants and migratory birds. The park offers high desert, manzanita groves, and scrubby juniper landscapes that change over the four seasons, demonstrating the complexity of Arizona’s environments. As do the vibrant creatures that inhabit the park. Be on the watch for roadrunners, quail, quail, and wild turkeys. In addition to javelinas and coyotes, the creek is home to desert turtles, frogs, beavers, and otters. Visitors were asked to leave their pets at home to preserve the delicate balance of this ecosystem.

Gateway to rest and relaxation

Red Rock State Park does not offer overnight lodgings or camping; however, the adjacent cities of Sedona, Jerome, and Cottonwood have an abundance of rooms for those wishing to extend their vacations. Sedona’s spectacular red-rock formations have made it a popular international destination for nature enthusiasts, and the city’s resorts and restaurants offer a unique vacation experience. Cottonwood is the southern gateway to Northern Arizona’s wine country.


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