Are you looking for directions and tips on how to find and access the best caves in Sedona? Perfect! We’re going to explain everything you need to know about each of the 7 most popular Sedona caves so you can hike to each stunning cavern during your visit to northern Arizona.
We personally located and explored all but one of the 7 caves in Sedona during our first visit to the awesome adventure town in Arizona, and we have to say exploring caves is definitely among the best things to do in Sedona.
There’s nothing quite like climbing into a cave glowing a deep orange as sunlight creeps in through rugged cracks and openings!
In this guide we will show you:
- Passes required at each cave trailhead
- Where to park for each of the Sedona caves
- How to find each cave in Sedona with hiking statistics
- Plenty of photos so you can the caves
- Sedona Caves map showing all locations
- Bonus cave-like Arch for a total 8 points of interest
Let’s find and explore the best secret caves in Sedona, Arizona!
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Best Sedona Caves Summary
In Sedona, there are at least 7 caves you can hike to and explore.
Half of the fun is finding the caves in the first place, the rest of the fun is figuring out how to climb into and photograph each of the Sedona caves.
Here’s a summary of the 7 caves and one bonus arch you can visit in Sedona:
- Subway Cave – Best for photography and instagram
- Kachina Cave – Best for being a well hidden secret
- Birthing Cave – Best for a striking cave entrance
- Soldier Pass Cave – Best overall trail with more to see
- Keyhole Cave – Best cave for adventure
- Hideout Cave – Best for getting off the beaten path
- Raven Caves – Best multi chamber cave
- Fay Canyon Arch – Best bonus cave-like formation
Leave No Trace
Before we get started with the best hidden Sedona caves, it is important to touch on etiquette.
You will be hiking to caves and exploring the natural environment around Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness areas of Coconino National Forest in Sedona, Arizona.
Please take great care not to disturb rock formations or wildlife in any area you hike. Sedona is a beautiful place to visit and we have to keep it that way for our kids to enjoy in years to come.
Remember and follow the 7 principles of leave no trace when hiking to caves in Sedona:
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of others
From our own experience in Sedona, we found people were not always disposing of waste correctly, but perhaps more surprisingly we noticed people were not planning ahead before hiking.
It is important to know the Sedona trails you are hiking so you can safely navigate to caves.
Use this guide to familiarize yourself with the exact locations and hiking trails for each cave you want to visit during your time in Sedona.
Parking Passes In Sedona
Certain trailheads and parking lots in Sedona require you to display either a Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Interagency Pass on your vehicle dashboard.
Here’s the list of places around Sedona you will need to display either a Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass in order to hike.
Cave Hikes Requiring A Parking Pass In Sedona
If you only plan to hike to caves in Sedona and no other trails, you will need to display a pass for the following caves:
- Soldier Pass Cave – If you park at Jim Thompson Trailhead
- Subway Cave and Kachina Cave – Boynton Canyon parking requires a pass
- Keyhole Cave – Parking at Sugar Loaf / Teacup trailhead requires a pass
Red Rock Pass
You can buy a Red Rock Pass at this specific recreation.gov site in advance, or you can buy one from a ticket machine in select parking lots.
Red Rock Pass options include:
- 1 Day Red Rock Pass – $5
- 7 Day Red Rock Pass – $15
- Red Rock Annual Pass – $20
If you plan to hike a number of trails around Sedona over a period of 4 – 7 days, you should buy the 7 day pass to save money. Buy an annual pass if you intend to revisit Sedona in the next year.
America The Beautiful Pass
Are you a regular visitor to US National Parks and Monuments?
It’s highly likely you already have an annual National Parks pass, which is also known as America the Beautiful or the Interagency Pass.
Don’t have one yet?
Read our guide on why America the Beautiful national parks pass is one of the best things you can buy if you plan to visit multiple parks in the next year.
Instead of buying a Red Rock Pass you can simply display your America the Beautiful Pass at all trailheads when hiking to Sedona caves.
Parking At Sedona Trailheads
Parking at popular hiking trailheads in Sedona is a real challenge.
The most popular hikes like Cathedral Rock Trail, Bell Rock Trail and Devils Bridge Trail are renowned for being almost impossible to park.
As Sedona grows in popularity, more and more hikers are visiting each year and there are nowhere near enough places to park at trailheads.
This includes the cave hike trailheads.
Where To Park For The Sedona Caves
Let’s take a quick look at your parking options for each of the Sedona cave trails:
Subway and Kachina Caves – Boynton Canyon Parking lot. If full, try to park at Fay Canyon and hike along Aerie Trail to reach the trailhead.
Birthing Cave – Park at Long Canyon Trailhead. If roadside parking is full, park at Mescal Trailhead and walk the connecting trail to join Birthing Cave trail.
Soldier Pass Cave – Soldier Pass Trailhead parking has 14 spaces which are snapped up instantly. Use Jim Thompson and hike Cibola Trail or park at Posse Grounds Park & Ride for the Sedona shuttle.
Keyhole Cave – Park at Sugar Loaf / Teacup Trailhead which has 14 spaces. If full, park at Andante Trailhead and walk Andante Trail to Thunder Mountain Trail and the joining point with Teacup.
What can you do to take the stress out of parking?
During the busiest periods in Sedona from Spring through Fall you need to be at parking lots by first light to give yourself a chance at getting a space.
On weekends and holidays early starts become even more important.
You can still get parked during the day but you might have to sit in a line or park a long way away from the trail you want to hike.
Always consider backup parking areas before setting off for a trail. If you can’t get into the most convenient lot, where will you park?
Use The Sedona Shuttle
Fortunately, a shuttle bus system has been implemented in Sedona which helps hikers get to the most popular trailheads year round.
The shuttle works particularly well for accessing Soldier Pass Cave which is renowned as one of the worst places to get parked in Sedona.
Supposedly the shuttle only runs Thursday through Sunday but we met people in Sedona who claimed to have taken the shuttle on a Tuesday so look out for the bus running if you visit Mon – Weds.
Here’s the Sedona shuttle schedule.
7 Awesome Caves In Sedona Arizona
Sedona is one of the best places to visit in the US and finding caves is among the most exciting things to do for first time visitors to the area.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 7 caves you can explore in Sedona.
Each cave listed will feature:
- Hiking statistics
- Trail description
- Best time to visit the cave
- How to access the cave
- List of pros and cons
We are kicking things off with the popular instagrammers favorite – Sedona Subway Cave!
1. Subway Cave – Boynton Canyon Trail
- Trail Distance: 5 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 600 feet
- Hike Difficulty: Moderate
- Time Required: 3 hours
- Trailhead: Boynton Canyon Trail
- Parking: Limited and busy
- Best Time: Early morning
- Pass Required: Yes
What Is Subway Cave In Sedona?
Subway Cave is a tunnel shaped sandstone formation located on a spur trail in Boynton Canyon.
The tunnel shape has a 5 ft gap running exactly vertical from top to bottom as though it has been sliced in half by a wide knife blade.
Subway Cave is arguably the most famous and sought after cave to visit in Sedona.
Social media channels such as Instagram and TikTok have increased awareness of the now not so hidden Subway Cave over recent years.
Ironically, Subway Cave looks the most like a keyhole shape, but there is another cave in Sedona called Keyhole Cave which doesn’t look much like a keyhole!
Want to visit Subway Cave? Read our complete guide to hiking Boynton Canyon Trail into Subway Cave for in depth details and directions for how to access the cave.
Why Hike To The Sedona Subway Cave?
Subway Cave is one of the most photogenic caves you can access in the Sedona area, which explains its popularity on social media and with photographers.
The hike is flat and easy until you reach an undefined turn onto a spur trail leading to Subway Cave.
A short climb with a ledge walk to access the cave is moderately difficult but comparatively straight forward.
You will find Subway Cave to be among the busiest on this list of best caves in Sedona but the natural beauty of this formation is well worth dealing with the crowds.
Best Time To Visit Subway Cave?
Subway Cave is east facing which means you should try to access the cave as early in the day as possible for best light. Later in the day the cave will be in deep and dark shadows.
The bonus of an early start for best light is that you will arrive to the Boynton Canyon parking lot around first light which means you should get parked without issue.
How To Access Subway Cave
Park at Boynton Canyon Trailhead and walk 2 miles until you reach a big, burnt, black and gray tree trunk. Turn right onto a spur trail and follow it until you reach a steep bank.
You can either climb directly up a rock face but we recommend going left up the steep bank. Once up, turn right and walk along a curving sandstone ledge which leads to Subway Cave.
Subway Cave Pros And Cons
- Subway Cave is one of the most photogenic landmarks in Sedona
- Perfect for families with older kids
- Four other popular hikes nearby with connecting trails
- Parking is almost always a problem
- Have to figure out the right place to turn onto spur trail
- The Subway Cave is often overcrowded
2. Kachina Cave – Boynton Canyon Trail
- Trail Distance: 3 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 500 feet
- Hike Difficulty: Moderate
- Time Required: 2 hours
- Trailhead: Boynton Canyon Trailhead
- Parking: Limited and busy parking lot
- Best Time: Mid morning
- Pass Required: Yes
What Is Kachina Cave In Sedona?
Kachina Cave is a tall teardrop shaped cave located atop a steep and unmarked spur trail around one third of the way up the Boynton Canyon hike in Sedona.
The cave is unique for having a single lone tree with green leaves standing beyond the chamber in an exposed area.
This lone tree illuminates under sunlight around mid morning when the sun position is optimal for entering the narrow cave chamber.
Why Hike To The Sedona Kachina Cave?
Kachina Cave is the best kept secret of all so called ‘hidden’ caves in Sedona.
It is located along the popular Boynton Canyon Trail but 99% of hikers on this path are headed to Subway Cave and probably don’t even know Kachina Cave exists.
That is exactly what happened to us during our visit to Sedona.
When researching which caves to explore in Sedona, we never saw any mention of Kachina Cave. It wasn’t until after we left that we realized we’d missed a cave!
Tip: Don’t forget to visit the Boynton Canyon vortex site at the end of your hike. This is one of the 4 main Sedona vortex sites.
Best Time To Visit Kachina Cave?
Kachina Cave is best visited in mid morning between 9am and 11am when sunlight will penetrate a narrow formation causing the lone tree and red rocks to glow.
Chances are high you will have Kachina Cave to yourself and the tree makes for a stunning subject to photograph surrounded by quintessential orange and red sandstone rocks.
This is perfect for getting an early start, hiking to Subway Cave first and then taking the spur to Kachina Cave on the way back timing it perfectly for both caves at best light conditions.
How To Access Kachina Cave
Park at Boynton Canyon Trailhead and walk for around 1.3 miles until you reach a left turn onto a spur trail. Look for tree branches on the ground.
From there you will walk through a wash and climb a steep unmarked bank trail to reach the cave area. The hike to Kachina Cave is not recommended after rain or during snow and ice conditions in Winter.
Kachina Cave Pros And Cons
- Unique cave with lone tree
- Most will miss it in favor of Subway Cave
- Close to trailhead
- Very limited parking
- Spur trail not marked
- Steep climb to gain access to cave
3. Birthing Cave – Long Canyon Trail
- Trail Distance: 2 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 270 feet
- Hike Difficulty: Easy but moderate cave climb
- Time Required: 1.5 hours
- Trailhead: Long Canyon Trailhead
- Parking: Very limited spaces roadside
- Best Time: Early to mid afternoon
- Pass Required: No
What Is Birthing Cave In Sedona?
Birthing Cave on the Long Canyon Trail is one of the quietest caves you can visit in Sedona.
The ‘cave’ isn’t a traditional cavern with chambers, it is more of a depression into a rock face which gives the effect of a cave once you are inside.
Right at the very back of Birthing Cave is a sphere shaped like half a tennis ball which has eroded out of a smooth curving surface.
This small hole is accessible and it is from this point you will get the best view looking out of the flame shaped cave entrance.
Want to visit Birthing Cave? Read our complete guide to hiking Long Canyon Trail into Birthing Cave for in depth details and directions for how to access the cave.
Why Hike To The Sedona Birthing Cave?
Birthing Cave is a relaxing cave to visit thanks to a relatively easy hike and spectacular views. It is always quieter because parking spaces are limited for the Long Canyon Trail.
A short but steep elevation gain will carry you up a bank and into Birthing Cave.
To reach the small hole at the back you will need shoes with good traction but once you’re inside you will realize why this is such a popular cave.
Best Time To Visit Birthing Cave?
Birthing Cave is east facing which means it is best visited between midday and late afternoon. It has an unobstructed views stretching miles over desert vegetation with nothing to block sunlight.
That means the sun will be directly ahead and fills Birthing Cave with light until late morning. We personally think the cave feels more beautiful when the sun doesn’t fill any of Birthing Cave with light so there are no heavy contrasts.
Aim to arrive inside Birthing Cave between 12pm and 3pm for optimal light conditions.
How To Access Birthing Cave
Park at Long Canyon Trailhead among the trees or on the roadside. Hike 0.6 miles on Long Canyon and look out for a wooden fence crossing the main path.
An obvious trail leads to the right, but you want to split left here and take the spur trail for 0.3 miles leading to Birthing Cave. A steep bank climb is required to get inside the cave but it is easy enough.
Birthing Cave Pros And Cons
- Much quieter than other caves and hikes in Sedona
- Very quick and easy to access Birthing Cave
- Stunning views from the very back of the cave
- Parking is extremely limited
- Getting into the sphere is difficult
- Not the most exciting trail in Sedona
4. Solider Pass Cave – Soldier Pass Trail
- Trail Distance: 4.2 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 750 feet
- Hike Difficulty: Moderate
- Time Required: 3 hours
- Trailhead: Soldier Pass Trailhead
- Parking: Plentiful at Posse Grounds Park & Ride or Jim Thompson Trailhead
- Best Time: Afternoon
- Pass Required: No (unless park at Jim Thompson)
What Is Soldier Pass Cave In Sedona?
Soldier Pass Cave is a uniquely shaped cave in Sedona. Instead of one single cave opening, Soldier Pass Cave has 3 small but completely separate light sources.
It is a very narrow cave, almost like an arch formation that can be climbed with a hidden upper chamber.
There is a way to climb out of the upper back cave portion to stand on top of the red rock formation containing the cave.
Want to visit Soldier Pass Cave? Read our complete guide to hiking Soldier Pass Trail into Soldier Pass Cave for in depth details and directions for how to access the cave.
Why Hike To The Sedona Soldier Pass Cave?
Soldier Pass Cave is at the end of arguably the most entertaining hiking trail among the cave hikes in Sedona.
You will pass by Seven Sacred Pools and Devils Kitchen sinkhole on the way to Soldier Pass Cave, which makes the overall experience much more complete.
The climb into Soldier Pass Cave isn’t too difficult and the other trail landmarks make this one of the most popular cave trails for families visiting Sedona.
Best Time To Visit Soldier Pass Cave?
Soldier Pass Cave is west facing which means you can visit later in the day to see light streaming into the cave from multiple sources.
Early morning the cave will be dark and you won’t get those vibrant orange colors. Aim to be inside Soldier Pass Cave between 1pm and 5pm for the best light.
However, be aware Soldier Pass Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Sedona so it is always busy. Consider taking the Sedona shuttle.
How To Access Soldier Pass Cave
Park at Posse Grounds park & ride for the most stress free access to Soldier Pass trailhead. Walk 0.2 miles to Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole, followed by a further 1 mile hike to reach Seven Sacred Pools.
Another 1 mile heading north will lead you into a wash and eventually to a very obvious fork split in the trail.
You must take the right turn at the split and climb a fairly steep gradient to gain access to Solider Pass Cave in Sedona.
Alternatively, if you hire a jeep or own a 4WD vehicle, you can get a permit to drive FR 9904 which leads to a parking area just 0.1 miles from the trail split leading to Soldier Pass Cave.
Soldier Pass Cave Pros And Cons
- Soldier Pass Cave is uniquely formed
- Devil’s Kitchen and Seven Sacred Pools are fantastic additions to the hike
- The new shuttle should significantly improve parking issues
- Very popular trail means it is always busy
- The cave is a little tricky to climb into
- There’s not a lot of room inside the cave if it is busy
5. Keyhole Cave – Teacup Trail / Unmarked Trail
- Trail Distance: 2.3 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 500 feet
- Hike Difficulty: Moderate but cave climb is hard
- Time Required: 3 hours
- Trailhead: Sugar Loaf Trailhead
- Parking: Limited lot with 12 spaces
- Best Time: Mid morning to mid afternoon
- Pass Required: Yes
What Is Keyhole Cave In Sedona?
Keyhole Cave is the best cave for adventure seekers to visit in Sedona. It is the biggest cave featuring a huge chamber and enormous opening which frames the Sedona landscape outside.
Very few know about Keyhole Cave and even fewer take it on once they hear about the unmarked trail and climb.
That means you get to enjoy it even more once you are standing inside the UFO shaped upper cave chamber.
Want to visit Keyhole Cave? Read our complete guide to hiking Teacup Trail to an unmarked trail leading into Keyhole Cave for in depth details and directions for how to access the cave.
Why Hike To The Sedona Keyhole Cave?
Keyhole Cave is accessed via Teacup Trail to begin but you will spend three quarters of this hike on unmaintained land with rough vegetation and no clear path.
Not only will you have to forge your own path through wilderness, but you must also climb into Keyhole Cave using hands, feet and core strength.
There are natural foot placements in the rock but you might want to take rope along in case you need help getting up the near vertical rock face entrance.
Sounds like a real adventure, right?!
Best Time To Visit Keyhole Cave?
Keyhole Cave is southwest facing which means it will fill with light between mid to late afternoon.
We personally think the cave is easier to photograph when there is no light inside between mid to late morning.
With that said, we imagine the cave would look even better later in the day close to sunset when the light softens and has passed beyond directly entering Keyhole Cave.
If you do try to do Keyhole Cave around sunset, don’t leave it too late because you need to get back to the parking area before darkness.
You will have problems finding your way back in the dark.
How To Access Keyhole Cave
Park at Sugar Loaf / Teacup Trailhead and walk up Teacup Trail for 0.3 miles until it joins with Thunder Mountain Trail. Look for a wooden trail sign and head directly behind into the rough vegetation.
Heading north, you must make your own way to Keyhole Cave. There is a wash you can follow for most of the hike but it twists and turns which adds on distance and time.
Instead, go direct and keep following lightly beaten paths where possible. You may have to sidestep or go back on yourself but that is fine, just find another path heading north.
Entering Keyhole Cave isn’t easy. You can climb up a left or right approach. We took the right approach both on the way up and down.
Use the eroded rocks to place your hands and feet in gaps. Take rope if one person in your group is a stronger hiker and have them help the others with rope support.
Keyhole Cave Pros And Cons
- One of the most impressive caves in Sedona
- Adventurous off-trail hike
- Not many know about this cave
- Parking is very limited
- Rough vegetation can hurt
- Accessing the cave isn’t easy
6. Hideout Cave – Robbers Roost Trail
- Trail Distance: 3 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 450 feet
- Hike Difficulty: Moderate
- Time Required: 2.5 hours
- Trailhead: Intersection of FR 525C / FR 9530
- Parking: Plenty of space
- Best Time: Early morning
- Pass Required: No
What Is Hideout Cave In Sedona?
Hideout Cave, also known as Shaman’s Cave, is by far the quietest and most secluded cave in Sedona.
The cave features one large east facing oval window and one much smaller south facing circular window known as Robbers Roost.
Accessing Hideout Cave means driving 50 minutes from Sedona, mostly on gravel roads and then hiking a short trail to reach the cave entrance.
A ledge crossing is required with a fair drop to one side which could be dangerous in rain or icy conditions.
Want to visit Hideout Cave? Read our complete guide to hiking Robbers Roost Trail into Hideout Cave for in depth details and directions for how to access the cave.
Why Hike To The Sedona Hideout Cave?
Hideout Cave has a striking view over desert vegetation and red rocks, plus is it so far out of the typical touristy area of Sedona that you are almost guaranteed to have this cave to yourself.
There are two places you can park for hiking Robbers Roost Trail to Hideout Cave. Those with 2WD cars must park 1 mile from a second parking area suitable for 4WD vehicles.
From the 2WD parking area you have a 3 mile roundtrip hike with 450 ft elevation gain, but from the 4WD parking area the hike is just 1 mile round trip with 200 ft elevation.
Best Time To Visit Hideout Cave?
Hideout Cave has both east and south facing windows allowing light to illuminate the its cavernous chamber.
However, sunrise and early morning is the best time to visit Hideout Cave when its larger east facing window allows the most light in.
Some of the caves are better with sunlight inside and others with no sunlight inside. Hideout Cave is one of the caves that looks more attractive with light.
We hiked to Hideout Cave and arrived inside by 11.30am. The sun had already moved so far round to the south that the cave was in dark and deep shadow.
How To Access Hideout Cave
Renting a Jeep in Sedona offers a multitude of benefits and one of those is cutting the hike to Hideout Cave down from 3 miles to just 1 mile. If you have 2WD, you must walk up the 4WD road to begin.
From the 4WD parking area, a trail dips into a V shaped valley and comes up on the other side. This leads to a short climb up rocks and a left turn will bring you around the north side of Hideout Cave.
Cross a narrow ledge carefully on slick rock. Don’t try to cross this ledge in icy or overly wet conditions.
Hideout Cave Pros And Cons
- One of the quietest caves you can visit in Sedona
- Stunning views from inside the cave
- Easy short hike with 4WD vehicle
- Long way out of Sedona
- Accessing the cave can be a little tricky
- Longer hike without 4WD
7. Raven Caves – Sedona Caves Trail
- Trail Distance: 0.5 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 50 feet
- Hike Difficulty: Easy
- Time Required: 45 minutes
- Trailhead: Raven Caves Trailhead
- Parking: 4 or 5 spaces
- Best Time: Late afternoon or sunset
- Pass Required: No
What Is Raven Caves In Sedona?
Raven Caves is a very easily accessed series of maze-like caves on the south side of Sedona. It is made up of 5 or 6 separate tunnel like caverns overlooking Oak Creek.
The short and easy hike leading to Raven Caves takes no longer than 10 minutes each way so this area can be explored at any time of day as an addition to other nearby activities.
Why Hike To The Sedona Raven Caves?
Raven Caves isn’t a photogenic or enormous cave like the others on this list, but that means nobody else will be there when you arrive.
There are only 4 parking spaces and it doesn’t even look legit, but it is, and the caves are actually well worth visiting.
You’ll have to duck to move around the cave network but you can shoot some interesting photos here.
Best Time To Visit Raven Caves?
Raven Caves is west facing overlooking Oak Creek, so visit later in the day for the best photos as light pours in.
Due to the more complex network like structure of these caves, you can easily manipulate light to create unique images.
How To Access Raven Caves
Park in the improvised parking area on the side of highway 179. Follow the obvious path leading to a short downhill climb.
At the bottom turn right and you will find the first cave. Duck inside and walk around to explore the remaining caves in this network.
Raven Caves Pros And Cons
- Shortest trail to reach a cave in Sedona
- Extremely quiet and unknown
- West facing so can visit later in day
- Comparatively less exciting cave
- Only 4 parking spaces
- Have to duck to get through chambers
8. Bonus – Fay Canyon Arch
- Trail Distance: 1.5 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: 250 feet
- Hike Difficulty: Moderate
- Time Required: 1 hour
- Trailhead: Fay Canyon Trailhead
- Parking: Reasonable
- Best Time: Late afternoon
- Pass Required: Yes
What Is Fay Canyon Arch In Sedona?
Fay Canyon Arch is a gigantic sandstone formation eroded into a towering red rock cliff in the shape of an arch.
A steep climb up the northeast facing bank of Fay Canyon much be climbed to reach the arch.
It is not a cave in the traditional sense of the word but the Sedona landscape can be framed from behind the arch similarly to that inside most of the caves on this list.
Want to visit Fay Canyon? Read our complete guide to hiking Fay Canyon Trail with optional climbs to Fay Canyon Arch and a fun end of trail ascent.
Why Hike To The Sedona Fay Canyon Arch?
Fay Canyon Arch is a worthy stop off for hikers to make on the Fay Canyon Trail. The arch is actually the most striking and impressive feature along this hiking trail.
Once you climb the steep bank, walk behind Fay Canyon Arch and use a wide angle lens to frame green trees and red rocks behind the arch.
Best Time To Visit Fay Canyon Arch?
Fay Canyon Arch is southwest facing, which means it remains in total darkness if you arrive any time between sunrise and midday.
Late afternoon sunlight would illuminate the arch and entire rock face in which it is located on the Fay Canyon Trail.
How To Access Fay Canyon Arch
Park at the Fay Canyon Trailhead and follow the flat trail for 0.6 miles keeping your eyes on the rock formations to your right side.
When you see a huge arch at where the rock formation meets green trees on the hillside, this is where you need to begin climbing directly up the bank.
Fay Canyon Arch Pros And Cons
- Strikingly impressive natural arch
- Less than a mile to reach the arch
- More parking spaces vs nearby trails
- Steep gradient to reach the arch
- Not much room to maneuver at the formation
- Very deep dark shadows in morning after Subway Cave
Top Caves To Visit In Sedona
Which cave or caves should you visit if you only have a one day Sedona itinerary?
Well, Subway Cave is the most popular instagram and photography cave in Sedona. Keyhole Cave is the most adventurous, Birthing Cave is the quietest and Soldier Pass Cave has a more exciting trail with other landmarks to enjoy.
So you’re spoiled for choice really!
But with just one day in Sedona, we would suggest doing Subway Cave, Kachina Cave and Birthing Cave as a 3 cave hiking tour in that exact order.
Here’s why you should visit these Sedona caves with just one day:
- They are all located close to one another.
- You can start at Subway Cave as close to sunrise as possible so you get the best light and beat the crowds.
- Stop at Kachina Cave on the way back to the trailhead which will also be in best light between 9am – 11am.
- Drive round to Long Canyon Trailhead and hike the much quieter Birthing Cave to arrive just after lunch time, which is plenty of time to be inside the cave during optimal lighting before the sun goes too far round to the south.
- If you have more time, take a shuttle and hike to Soldier Pass Cave or if you’re up for adventure take on Keyhole Cave.
Got your days planned out? Read our popular guide on how to plan the perfect 1-7 day Sedona itinerary for ideas on how you can spend up to one week exploring this remarkable red rock landscape.
Map Of The 7 Caves In Sedona
Here’s a link to our interactive map featuring the locations of the 7 best caves and 1 bonus cave-like arch you can visit in Sedona, along with respective hiking trailheads.
You can click or touch the map to activate, then move around the map to locate each cave. Zoom in and out to see hiking trail routes from trailhead to cave.
Note that Ravens Caves is the only cave to the south of Sedona and Hideout Cave is a long way out to the northwest of Sedona.
All other caves are located in the most popular hiking areas of Sedona and remain busy year round.
- Blue Hiker Icons – Most efficient trailheads to use for each cave
- Orange Cave Icons – Locations of the 7 caves and 1 arch in Sedona
Hiking Apps You Can Use To Find Caves In Sedona
Do you use any of the best hiking apps on the market for navigation on new or unmarked trails?
We always download offline maps onto Gaia GPS so we can track our exact location at all times. Plus, we can keep an eye on our hiking statistics.
In Sedona, we used Gaia to find all of the hidden caves and didn’t lose any time trying to figure out if we were on the right path. The photo above shows our location at Birthing Cave.
If you’re interested in learning more about Gaia, you can sign up to Gaia GPS premium with Where Are Those Morgans exclusive 20% off link.
Looking for hiking inspiration? Read our popular guide to the 50 best hikes in the USA next!
Best Time To Explore The Sedona Caves
Spring and Fall represent the two best seasons for visiting Sedona in general when hiking conditions are most comfortable. However, they are also the busiest times of year, which also means the most expensive.
Spring and Fall
April, May, September and October are peak tourist months in Sedona. During these times getting parked at trailheads can be a real challenge.
Arriving early to trailheads is essential for the best chance of getting parked.
So we would recommend choosing the caves you most want to visit, consider the best lighting in the cave but also how you will get parked for the hike.
Winter and Summer
Winter and Summer are comparatively quieter periods in Sedona but they are still overcrowded. This is a year round destination and supposed “low” seasons aren’t much quieter than peak season.
We visited Sedona in December and some of the caves were busy.
You still need to be organized and plan effectively otherwise you’ll spend your days frustrated about not being able to park anywhere.
Our advice for Sedona is not to worry about temperatures or busy trails, but focus on finding free parking spots.
No matter which season you visit, try to avoid weekends, holidays and the 10am-2pm rush.
What To Pack For Hiking To Caves In Sedona
Let’s take a quick look at a general packing list for exploring Sedona caves:
- Footwear – Footwear with good grips and traction are going to help you climb up steep slick rock banks. Many of the caves are challenging to access but a robust pair of hiking shoes will help significantly.
- Water – Many of the hikes to reach caves in Sedona are open and exposed so you need to pack water. Summer months require more water and even electrolyte drinks.
- Sun protection – Sunglasses, sun hats, long layers and sunscreen are vital if you are visiting Sedona in Summer. A lot of exposed hiking means you are prone to the effects of weathering and sunburn.
- Winter – Mornings and evenings are chilly in Sedona during Winter months. You may need to pack layers, gloves and hats for early hikes, but take an empty backpack so you can pack your layers once the day warms up.
5 Tips For Exploring Caves In Sedona
Here are our top 5 tips for hiking to the Sedona caves:
- Look for backup parking options for each cave hike in case the main lot is full
- Try to group and organize the caves together logically for efficiency
- Take your best pair of shoes with grips and traction to get inside caves
- Consider the time of day each cave is best for light and photography
- Use one of the best hiking apps like Gaia GPS offline maps for navigation
Sedona Arizona Visitor Summary
How to get around – Sedona is small but you’ll need a car to access the best hikes to the north and south of town. If you want to get to the hard to reach places, you should hire a jeep.
When to visit – Spring and Fall are the best seasons to visit Sedona, but they come with a higher price tag and more crowds. Winter is a fantastic time to avoid both.
Where to stay in – Accommodation is expensive in Sedona, but there are plenty of very high quality places to stay including Matterhorn Inn, Lantern Light Inn, Arabella Hotel, Whispering Creek B&B and The Suites at Sedona.
Popular things to do – Sedona is one of the best places to hike in the US, but it is also a wonderful place to get off-road in a jeep, shoot stunning photography, visit historic sites and drink wine.
Sedona Caves FAQ’s
Let’s take a look at some of the most asked questions about visiting caves in Sedona, Arizona.
Sedona has a total of 7 caves. Each cave can be accessed by visitors to Sedona via hiking trails varying in length between 0.5 – 5 miles roundtrip.
Subway Cave is one of the harder cave hikes in Sedona because it is 5 miles roundtrip, requires pathfinding and has a steep climb up a bank to enter the cave. Most moderately experienced hikers should be fine, but we would not recommend beginner hikers attempt the hike to Subway Cave.
Birthing Cave is a simple, easy and short hike. Accessing the cave does not require any climbing or use of hands, but there is a steep bank to climb on the final approach. Overall, Birthing Cave is suitable for all hikers with a good level of fitness.
Yes, the cave hikes in Sedona are pet friendly but all dogs must be kept on a short leash at all times. We wouldn’t recommend taking dogs to any of the caves as they are unsafe and often require climbing.
You do not need a jeep to access any cave in Sedona. However, having a jeep will get you closer to both Hideout Cave and Soldier Pass Cave, cutting out hiking time and distance.
Finding caves in Sedona is one of the most fun things to do in Arizona, just make sure to tread carefully and respectfully.
Have a great time!
More From Sedona
Hiking – Most of Sedona’s caves are found by hiking into red rock wilderness, here’s our popular roundup of all 20 best hikes in Sedona, Arizona.
Photography – Are you more interested in capturing stunning images? Here’s our collection of the 15 best sunrise and sunset photography locations in Sedona.
Jeep Trails – Comprehensive guide to the 9 best Jeep trails in Sedona Arizona, including both popular and hidden gem off road routes
Ruins – If you are interested in learning about the history around northern Arizona, you should visit all of the 5 ancient ruins near Sedona.
Hotels – There are 5 popular areas to stay around Sedona, our collection of the best hotels in Sedona will help you find the perfect option based on location and budget.
More From The Southwest
Zion National Park – Zion is an adventure playground for adults, find the very best hikes in Zion and choose between 5 ways you can spend a one day in Zion itinerary.
Grand Canyon – Just 2 hours from Sedona is the incredible Grand Canyon South Rim, create your wishlist from the best hikes at Grand Canyon South Rim.
Las Vegas – Heading to Vegas on your Southwest adventure? Here are the 40 best things to do on and off the Las Vegas strip and the 15 best things to do in Valley of Fire State Park nearby.
Want more Arizona content? Head over to our Arizona travel guides to explore the best of Grand Canyon, Sedona and beyond.
We hope this guide on how to find and explore the best caves in Sedona helps with planning your visit to northern Arizona!
Please let us know if you have any questions about hiking to any of the caves or your visit to Sedona in the comments below.
Happy Cave Hunting,
Mark and Kristen
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