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7 Best Secret Sedona Caves + How To Find Them

7 Best Secret Sedona Caves + How To Find Them

Sedona, Arizona has 7 secret caves hidden away in red rock wilderness that can only be accessed by hiking. The most popular caves in Sedona include Subway Cave, Soldier Pass Cave and Birthing Cave. But in order to see any of the caverns, you need to know which trails to hike and where to turn off.

In this guide, we show you exactly how to find the 7 best Sedona caves.

Table of Contents show

Our Sedona Caves Experience

Mark and Kristen Morgan stood alone inside Subway Cave in Sedona
Mark and Kristen alone inside the famous Subway Cave

We hiked to 7 hidden caves and 1 cave-like arch during our week long visit to Sedona in December 2021. Finding the spur trails leading to the caves was just as much fun for us as standing inside the caves! Read more about us.

Our favorite caves were Subway Cave, Keyhole Cave and Birthing Cave. They have great hiking trails and are exceptionally photogenic. Finding caves was definitely one of our favorite things to do in Sedona.

What Are The Sedona Caves?

View through a sandstone arch looking at a valley filled with trees and red rocks
View through Fay Canyon Arch

Here are the 7 caves and 1 cave-like arch you can hike to in Sedona, Arizona:

  1. Subway Cave – Best for photography and instagram
  2. Kachina Tree Cave – Best for being a well hidden secret
  3. Birthing Cave – Best for a striking cave entrance
  4. Soldier Pass Cave – Best overall trail with more to see
  5. Keyhole Cave – Best cave for adventure
  6. Shaman’s Cave – Best for getting off the beaten path
  7. Raven Caves – Best multi chamber cave
  8. Fay Canyon Arch – Best bonus cave-like formation

Further Reading: The 50 best hikes in the US

Sedona Caves Map

Click or touch the map below to activate. Zoom in and out, move around Sedona and find each trailhead location leading to the caves.

Map key:

  • Blue – Trailheads to use for each cave
  • Orange – Locations of the 7 caves and 1 arch

You’ll notice Ravens Caves is the only cave to the south of Sedona and Shaman’s Cave is a long way out to the northwest of Sedona. All other caves are located in the most popular hiking areas of Sedona.

About This Guide

We want to give you the tools and information you need in order to access all 7 of Sedona’s hidden caves. There’s a lot to read in this guide, but it’s all important and it’ll help you get to the caves.

Each of the 7 caves below features:

  • Hiking statistics
  • Cave description
  • Hike description
  • How to access the cave
  • Where to park
  • Best time to visit the cave
  • List of pros and cons

We’re kicking things off with the popular instagram favorite, Sedona Subway Cave!

1. Subway Cave

Subway Cave on Boynton Canyon stunning photography location and one of the most popular caves to visit in Sedona Arizona
Striking photo from inside Subway Cave on Boynton Canyon Trail

Hiking Statistics

  • Trail Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time Required: 3 hours
  • Trailhead: Boynton Canyon
  • Parking: Limited and busy
  • Best Time: Early morning
  • Pass Required: Yes

About Sedona Subway Cave

Sedona Subway Cave is a sandstone formation shaped like a subway tunnel. The tunnel has a 5-foot gap from top to bottom as though it has been sliced in half by the blade of a thick knife.

From experience, we would say Subway Cave is the most photogenic and busiest cave in Sedona. It’s very popular on social media, so expect photo shoots inside the cave.

Hiking Boynton Canyon Trail

Subway Cave is located on Boynton Canyon Trail, which is flat and easy but it has a steep final section at the end to reach a viewpoint.

However, to reach the Subway Cave you’ll turn off the main trail and join a spur trail around half way into the Boynton Canyon hike.

How To Access Subway Cave

From Boynton Canyon Trailhead, walk 2 miles until you reach a huge black and gray tree trunk on the left side of the trail.

Look for a lightly beaten spur trail to the right side and follow it until you reach a steep bank. Climb up the bank, walk around a curving ledge and access the Subway Cave.

Further Reading: How to hike Subway Cave Trail in Sedona

Hiker taking photos inside a tunnel-like red rock formation
Mark taking a photo of the entrance to Subway Cave

Subway Cave Parking

The best place to park for the Subway Cave is Boynton Canyon Trailhead parking lot.

Your best alternative is nearby Fay Canyon Trailhead parking lot because you can easily hike back to Boynton Canyon along Aerie Trail.

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 full of deep and dark shadows.

The bonus of an early start for best light is you’ll arrive to the Boynton Canyon parking lot early, which means you should get parked without issue.

Subway Cave Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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 Tree Cave

Kachina Tree Lone Tree Cave in Sedona Arizona oval shaped cave with single tree in background
Photo Credit: The Wave

Hiking Statistics

  • Trail Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 500 feet
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time Required: 2 hours
  • Trailhead: Boynton Canyon
  • Parking: Limited and busy
  • Best Time: Mid morning
  • Pass Required: Yes

About Kachina Tree Cave

Kachina Tree Cave is a teardrop shaped cave located in Boynton Canyon. Through the cave you’ll find a lone tree with green leaves standing tall. This lone tree illuminates under sunlight around mid-morning when sun beams burst into the narrow cave chamber.

Kachina Tree Cave is the best kept secret of all the hidden caves in Sedona because almost everyone hikes straight to the Subway Cave and misses this second stop along Boynton Canyon.

Hiking Boynton Canyon Trail

Boynton Canyon Trail is flat and easy with a steep final section at the end of the canyon. However, to reach Kachina Tree Cave you’ll turn off the main trail and join a spur trail around one-third of the way into the canyon.

Kachina Tree Cave is not listed on Google Maps, All Trails or Gaia GPS maps. It takes a bit of figuring out and feels like a real adventure.

How To Access Kachina Tree Cave

From Boynton Canyon Trailhead, walk for around 1.3 miles until you reach a left turn onto a spur trail. It isn’t obvious but you should look for a collection of tree branches on the ground not long after passing the residential area.

You’ll walk through a wash and climb a steep unmarked bank to reach the cave area. The hike to Kachina Tree Cave is not recommended after rain or during snow and icy conditions.

Kachina Tree Cave Parking

Similarly to Subway Cave, the best place to park for Kachina Tree Cave is Boynton Canyon Trailhead parking lot.

Again, your best alternative is nearby Fay Canyon Trailhead parking lot because you can easily hike back to Boynton Canyon along Aerie Trail.

Best Time To Visit Kachina Tree Cave

Kachina Tree Cave is best visited between 9:00am and 11:00am when sunlight will penetrate into the cave and light up the standalone tree.

We recommend you hike to the Subway Cave first and then take the spur trail to Kachina Tree Cave on the way back to the trailhead. This way you’ll time it perfectly for both caves at their optimal light conditions.

Kachina Tree Cave Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Unique cave with lone tree
  • Most will miss it in favor of Subway Cave
  • Close to trailhead

Cons:

  • Very limited parking
  • Spur trail not marked
  • Steep climb to gain access to cave

3. Birthing Cave

Birthing Cave in Sedona huge flame shaped cave entrance with hiker standing at the bottom of the chamber for perspective
Kristen inside Birthing Cave in Sedona

Hiking Statistics

  • Trail Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 270 feet
  • Hike Difficulty: Easy but moderate climb
  • Time Required: 1.5 hours
  • Trailhead: Long Canyon
  • Parking: Limited spaces roadside
  • Best Time: Early to mid afternoon
  • Pass Required: No

About Birthing Cave

Birthing Cave appears like it’s more of a depression in the rocks than a traditional cave. But when looking out over Sedona from the back of the depression you’ll see that it is a cave and it has a unique flame shaped entrance.

We think the Birthing Cave is one of the best bang for your buck caves you can visit in Sedona. You can climb into a sphere shaped like a tennis ball sliced in half at the back of the cave for the best views looking out.

Hiking Long Canyon Trail

Birthing Cave is located on Long Canyon Trail, which is a very easy and flat hike. We recommend you only hike the first portion of Long Canyon to the Birthing Cave and back.

Do not continue along Long Canyon after the cave because there are much better hikes in Sedona.

How To Access Birthing Cave

From Long Canyon Trailhead, you’ll hike 0.6 miles on Long Canyon until you reach a broken wooden fence crossing the main path. A beaten trail leads to the right, but you must fork to the left here instead.

Follow the spur trail which gradually climbs for 0.3 miles into Birthing Cave. The final approach is steep and rocky but most hikers will be fine. Just take care and wear a good pair of shoes.

Further Reading: How to hike the Birthing Cave Trail in Sedona

Photo of a red rock cliff with a huge depression
Looking into Birthing Cave from the outside

Birthing Cave Parking

The best place to park for Birthing Cave is on the roadside around Long Canyon Trailhead. There are some spaces hidden in the trees and on the opposite side of the road at Chuck Wagon Trailhead.

Your best alternative is nearby Mescal Trailhead parking lot because you can easily hike back to Long Canyon along Mescal Trail.

Best Time To Visit Birthing Cave

Birthing Cave is east facing and wide open, so you could choose to visit when the sun is shining directly inside around 8:00am.

However, we think it’s best to visit between midday and late afternoon after the sun moves around to the south so you’re not looking directly into the sun.

Birthing Cave Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Parking is extremely limited
  • Getting into the sphere is difficult
  • Not the most exciting trail in Sedona

4. Solider Pass Cave

Soldier Pass Cave upper cave chamber in Sedona with light pouring in from the bottom
Narrow chamber inside Soldier Pass Cave

Hiking Statistics

  • Trail Distance: 4.2 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 750 feet
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time Required: 3 hours
  • Trailhead: Soldier Pass
  • Parking: Extremely limited
  • Best Time: Afternoon
  • Pass Required: No

About Soldier Pass Cave

Soldier Pass Cave is a uniquely shaped cave on the Soldier Pass Trail. Instead of one single cave opening, Soldier Pass Cave has 3 small but completely separate light sources.

It actually looks like just an arch from the outside. But once you climb up into the arch and access a hidden upper chamber through a narrow gap, you’ll be standing inside a tunnel-like cave.

Hiking Soldier Pass Trail

Soldier Pass Trail is one of the most feature packed hikes in Sedona in terms of natural attractions. You’ll pass Seven Sacred Pools and Devils Kitchen sinkhole on the way to Soldier Pass Cave, which is perfect for families with older kids.

You can continue hiking on Brins Mesa Trail to complete a loop, or you can go back on yourself to the trailhead after exploring Soldier Pass Cave.

How To Access Soldier Pass Cave

From Soldier Pass Trailhead, walk 0.2 miles to Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole, then a further 0.5 miles to reach Seven Sacred Pools. Continue for another 1 mile through a wash to a very obvious fork in the trail.

You must take the right turn at the split and climb a steep gradient to reach Solider Pass Cave. Walk through the arch and climb up through the narrow gap on the right side.

Further Reading: How to hike Soldier Pass Trail in Sedona

Hiker walking on a narrow ledge through the chamber of a cavern
Kristen walking the narrow ledge through Soldier Pass Cave

Soldier Pass Cave Parking

The best place to park for Soldier Pass Cave is Soldier Pass Trailhead. However, it’s almost impossible to park because there’s just 14 spaces.

Your best alternative is nearby Jim Thompson parking lot because you can easily hike to Soldier Pass along Cibola Trail, but you’ll have to display a pass. You can also take the Sedona shuttle on certain days from Posse Grounds park and ride, which has plenty of parking.

Best Time To Visit Soldier Pass Cave

Soldier Pass Cave is west facing, so we recommend visiting later in the day when sunlight will hit the cave entrance directly and illuminate the chambers. The cave will be darker if you visit earlier in the morning.

Soldier Pass Cave Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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

Hiker sat on ledge of Keyhole Cave the largest of the Sedona caves huge chamber with orange light illuminating walls
Mark sat at the gigantic entrance to Keyhole Cave

Hiking Statistics

  • Trail Distance: 2.3 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 500 feet
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate but cave climb is hard
  • Time Required: 3 hours
  • Trailhead: Sugar Loaf
  • Parking: Limited lot with 12 spaces
  • Best Time: Mid morning to mid afternoon
  • Pass Required: Yes

About Keyhole Cave

Keyhole Cave is the best cave in Sedona for adventure seekers. It’s the biggest cave, it has a huge chamber and the hike is mostly off-trail. The cave entrance is massive and you’ll have to climb with your hands and feet to access the upper chamber.

Very few know about Keyhole Cave and even fewer take it on once they hear about having to forge a path through unmarked and rough terrain. But that means you get an even stronger sense of satisfaction when you’re standing inside the crescent moon shaped cave.

Hiking The Unmarked Keyhole Cave Trail

Keyhole Cave is accessed via Teacup Trail to begin with, but you’ll spend three quarters of the hike on unmaintained land with rough vegetation and no clear path. From experience, we recommend wearing boots with thick hiking socks and pants to combat aggressive prickly plants.

You have to forge your own path through the wilderness. There are several lightly beaten paths but there is no designated route. You can go direct by sticking to higher ground or you can slalom through a deep dry river bed.

How To Access Keyhole Cave

From Sugar Loaf Trailhead, 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’ll carve your own path through the wash or directly through bushes and across obstacles.

Entering Keyhole Cave isn’t easy. You can climb up a steep left or right approach and you’ll need to use your hands. We took the right approach both on the way up and down. There may or may not be rope left by other hikers that you can use to help with climbing inside.

Further Reading: How to hike the Keyhole Cave Trail in Sedona

Photo of the inside of a huge cavern with a view looking out through the rounded entrance
Looking out through the enormous entrance to Keyhole Cave

Keyhole Cave Parking

The best place to park for Soldier Pass Cave is Sugar Loaf Trailhead. There aren’t a huge amount of parking spaces but it’s a lesser known hiking area so you should be fine. This trailhead is located in a residential area, so please don’t park on the roadside if there are no spaces in the lot.

Your best alternative is nearby Andante parking lot because you can easily hike to the unmarked Keyhole Cave hike via Andante Trail.

Best Time To Visit Keyhole Cave

Keyhole Cave is southwest facing which means it fills with light in the afternoon. However, we think the cave is easier to photograph during the morning or later in the day when there is no light inside the cave.

Please do not attempt to hike the Keyhole Cave Trail for sunrise or sunset. This is not a place you want to find yourself in the dark, it’s hard enough to navigate in broad daylight!

Keyhole Cave Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • One of the most impressive caves in Sedona
  • Adventurous off-trail hike
  • Not many know about this cave

Cons:

  • Parking is very limited
  • Rough vegetation can hurt
  • Accessing the cave isn’t easy

6. Shaman’s Cave

Robbers Roost Trail in northwest Sedona leads to one of the most picturesque caves in Sedona called Hideout Cave with one large window and one small window
Two windows inside Hideout Cave in Sedona

Hiking Statistics

  • Trail Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
  • 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

About Shaman’s Cave

Shaman’s Cave, also known as Hideout Cave, is by far the quietest and most secluded cave in Sedona. The cave is located on Robbers Roost Trail in northwest Sedona. It features one large east facing oval window and one much smaller south facing circular window.

It’s a 45 minute drive on gravel roads to reach Robbers Roost Trailhead from Sedona. You’re almost guaranteed to have this cave to yourself because it’s so far out from the popular hiking areas. For us, the views from Shaman’s Cave are among the best of any cave in Sedona.

Hiking Robbers Roost Trail

Robbers Roost is an easy hike if you have a 4WD vehicle. You can park close to the cave which leaves you with a very short trail.

But if you have to hike the additional mile each way up FR 9530 because you have a 2WD vehicle, Robbers Roost is a longer and more exposed hike.

How To Access Shaman’s Cave

Drive your Jeep or walk up FR 9530. From the 4WD parking area, the trail drops and rises gently in a V-shaped valley before it arcs around a grouping of rocks to Shaman’s Cave entrance.

You must carefully cross a narrow ledge with a drop off. Don’t try to cross this ledge in icy or overly wet conditions and wear shoes with good grips.

Further Reading: How to hike Robbers Roost Trail to Shaman’s Cave

Hiker sat in a small circular opening in a red rock wall
Kristen sat in one of the two openings inside Shaman’s Cave

Robbers Roost Parking

The best place to park for Robbers Roost Trail is the wide open 4WD only parking area close to Shaman’s Cave. However, it’s only accessible with a 4×4 vehicle.

Your only alternative is the 2WD parking area at the beginning of Forest Road 9530. This will mean hiking up the forest road before reaching Robbers Roost Trailhead.

Best Time To Visit Shaman’s Cave

From experience we think sunrise or early morning is the best time to visit Shaman’s Cave, when its larger east facing window allows the most light in. We arrived into the cave at 11:30am and it was already covered in deep shadows.

Some of the Sedona caves are better with sunlight inside and others without. Shaman’s Cave is definitely one of the caves that looks better when filled with light.

Hideout Cave Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • One of the quietest caves you can visit in Sedona
  • Stunning views from inside the cave
  • Easy short hike with 4WD vehicle

Cons:

  • Long way out of Sedona
  • Accessing the cave can be a little tricky
  • Longer hike without 4WD

7. Raven Caves

Entrance to Raven Caves in southern Sedona low entrance with multiple chambers
Multi chambers of Raven Caves in Sedona

Hiking Statistics

  • Trail Distance: 0.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 50 feet
  • Hike Difficulty: Easy
  • Time Required: 45 minutes
  • Trailhead: Raven Caves
  • Parking: 4 or 5 spaces
  • Best Time: Late afternoon
  • Pass Required: No

About Raven Caves

Raven Caves is a small network of caves located to the south of Sedona. It’s made up of various tunnel-like chambers overlooking Oak Creek.

Don’t expect Raven Caves to be as striking as Birthing Cave or as exciting as Keyhole Cave. But this small and lesser known cave will be quiet and it is uniquely photogenic.

Hiking Sedona Caves Trail

The short and easy Sedona Caves Trail to Raven Caves should take no longer than 10 minutes each way. But it’s completely exposed and you’ll have to climb down a rocky section which is steep and may require use of your hands at times.

At first we didn’t think the trail was legit! But it is, and it’s worth including on your itinerary if you have time spare.

How To Access Raven Caves

From an unmarked parking area on the side of Highway 179, follow the only clear path to the left and drop down through the rocks.

At the bottom of the rocky area, turn right and you’ll find the first cave. Duck inside and walk around to explore the remaining caves in this network.

View through a cavern opening over a steep hill
View through one of the Raven Caves openings

Raven Caves Parking

The only place to park for Raven Caves Trail is a very small dusty pull-off along Highway 179. There’s room for just 4 or 5 cars.

It’s not obvious at all, so keep your eyes peeled for a tiny parking area with a row of large boulders. There’s a big tree to the right side and power lines behind.

Best Time To Visit Raven Caves

Raven Caves is west facing, so we recommend visiting later in the day for the best photos when light pours inside the cave network. If you visit Raven Caves in the morning you’ll find the caves to be very dark inside.

Due to the more complex maze-like structure of these caves, you can use the lights and shadows to take fun silhouetted photos with people.

Raven Caves Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Shortest trail to reach a cave in Sedona
  • Extremely quiet and unknown
  • West facing so you can visit later in day

Cons:

  • Comparatively less exciting cave
  • Only 4 parking spaces
  • Have to duck to get through chambers

8. Fay Canyon Arch

Fay Canyon Arch panorama with stunning view over Sedona landscape
Staggering arch-like cave on the Fay Canyon trail

Hiking Statistics

  • Trail Distance: 1.5 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 250 feet
  • Hike Difficulty: Moderate
  • Time Required: 1 hour
  • Trailhead: Fay Canyon
  • Parking: Larger lot than usual
  • Best Time: Late afternoon
  • Pass Required: Yes

About Fay Canyon Arch

Fay Canyon Arch is a gigantic sandstone arch which has formed at the base of a towering red rock cliff. You can walk through and behind the arch to look directly up at gaps in the cliff, which feels a bit like stepping inside a cave.

It’s not a cave in the traditional sense of the word. But Sedona’s landscape can be framed by looking out from behind the arch and it appears like a cave.

Hiking Fay Canyon Trail

Fay Canyon Trail is a popular hike in Sedona. The trail is flat and easy, and it leads to an end of trail marker at the end of the canyon. You can continue by climbing up two steep rock formations which open up mesmerizing views over Fay Canyon.

We hiked to the arch first and then climbed up one of those steep formations after reaching the end of trail marker. Both are worth it if you have time.

How To Access Fay Canyon Arch

From Fay Canyon Trailhead, hike the flat trail for 0.6 miles and keep your eyes on the rock formations to your right side. When you see a huge arch where red rock meets the hillside, this is where you need to turn right and begin climbing directly up the bank.

Once you reach the top of the steep bank, you can walk underneath and through Fay Canyon Arch. Look back over the magical landscape below and use the arch to create a perfect natural photo frame.

Further Reading: How to hike Fay Canyon Trail in Sedona

Hiker stood underneath a huge arch formation backed up to a cliff wall
Kristen stood underneath Fay Canyon Arch

Fay Canyon Parking

The best place to park for Fay Canyon is Fay Canyon Trailhead parking lot, which has more spaces than the typical trailhead lot in Sedona.

Your best alternative is nearby Boynton Canyon Trailhead parking lot because you can easily hike back to Fay Canyon along Aerie Trail.

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 late morning.

We recommend arriving during the afternoon when sunlight illuminates the arch directly. The sun will be high enough that you won’t be looking straight into it, but you’ll get the orange glow behind the arch.

Fay Canyon Arch Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Strikingly impressive natural arch
  • Less than a mile to reach the arch
  • More parking spaces vs nearby trails

Cons:

  • Steep gradient to reach the arch
  • Not much room to maneuver at the formation
  • Very deep dark shadows in the morning

Sedona Caves Itinerary

Looking out at a landscape through a cavernous chamber filled with orange glowing light
Stunning view through Keyhole Cave overlooking Sedona

So how do you decide which caves to visit in Sedona?

Well, Subway Cave is the most popular Sedona cave on Instagram and Tik-Tok. Keyhole Cave is the most adventurous, Birthing Cave is the easiest 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 Tree Cave and Birthing Cave as a 3 cave hiking tour in that exact order. Put Soldier Pass Cave or Keyhole Cave down as a maybe for the afternoon if you still have time.

Here’s an example itinerary:

  • Start at Subway Cave as close to sunrise as possible so you get the best light and beat the crowds.
  • Stop at Kachina Tree Cave on the way back to the trailhead which will also be in best light between 9:00am to 11:00am.
  • Drive 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 still have time and energy, take a shuttle and hike to Soldier Pass Cave or take on Keyhole Cave if you’re up for an adventure.

Further Reading: How to plan the perfect Sedona itinerary

Leave No Trace

The caves are located in Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness areas of Coconino National Forest in Sedona, Arizona.

Please take great care not to disturb formations, ancient sites or wildlife in any area you hike. Sedona is a beautiful place to visit and we have to keep it that way for future generations to enjoy.

Remember and follow these 7 principles of leave no trace when hiking to caves in Sedona:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of others

Parking Passes

Fee station Red Rock Pass parking in Arizona wilderness
Red Rock Pass machine in Doe Mountain parking lot

You’ll need to display a Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass at the following trailheads used for accessing 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 Trailhead requires a pass

You can buy a Red Rock Pass at this recreation.gov site in advance, or you can buy one from a ticket machine at select Sedona trailheads.

Red Rock Pass options include:

  • 1 Day Red Rock Pass – $5
  • 7 Day Red Rock Pass – $15
  • Red Rock Annual Pass – $20

Alternatively, you can buy an America The Beautiful Pass which can be used in place of a Red Rock Pass in Sedona.

What To Pack

Enormous sandstone arch glowing orange under sunlight
Arched entrance to Soldier Pass Cave in Sedona
  • 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.

Further Reading: Best things to bring on a day hike

Hiking Apps

Gaia GPS hiking app location marker in Arizona
Screenshot of our GPS location at Birthing Cave in Sedona

Do you use any of the best hiking apps for navigation on new or unmarked trails?

In Sedona, we used our Gaia GPS offline maps navigation to help with finding all of the hidden caves and to track our live location so we didn’t lose any time by going off-trail.

If you’re interested in learning more about Gaia, you can sign up to Gaia GPS premium with our Where Are Those Morgans exclusive 20% discount link.

Our Top 5 Tips

  1. Know your backup parking options for each cave in case the main lots are full.
  2. Try to group certain caves together so you can visit them efficiently.
  3. Take your favorite pair of shoes with good grips and traction to get inside caves.
  4. Consider the time of day each cave is best for light and photography.
  5. Use a hiking navigation app like Gaia GPS to help find the caves.

Further Reading: Best places to visit in Arizona

In Conclusion

The 7 hidden caves in Sedona are unique, photogenic and fun to visit. Each cave can only be reached by hiking and some are located in remote areas. They’re all worth visiting, but you should prioritize Subway Cave and Birthing Cave as the two overall best caves.

Are the Sedona caves worth it?

Yes! Finding caves is definitely one of the most fun things you can do in Sedona. The cave hikes are free, exciting and scenic. Plus, you can take home unique photos!

More Sedona Hikes

More From Sedona

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 to finding the secret caves helps with planning your visit to Sedona, Arizona!

Please let us know if you have any questions about how to find any of the Sedona caves in the comments below.

Happy Hunting,

Mark and Kristen

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