From summits to secret caves, I’m here to tell you about three of the best hikes on Sugarloaf Trail in Sedona, Arizona!
Born and raised in Arizona, I’ve visited Sedona dozens of times over the years. I just can’t get enough of the magical red rocks and abundance of amazing hiking trails!
I recently discovered one of my new favorite spots in Sedona: Sugarloaf Trail!
Sugarloaf trail in Sedona features stunning views of red rocks and a panoramic view of the surrounding desert landscape. It’s not as busy as other hikes in the area (think Cathedral Rock and Devil’s Bridge), but still gives you great views all day long!
This guide covers three of the best hikes on Sugarloaf Trail in Sedona: Sugarloaf Summit Trail, Sugarloaf Loop Trail, and Keyhole Cave Trail. Keep reading to get all the details!
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Sugarloaf Trail Sedona
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Sugarloaf Trail Stats
Located in West Sedona, Sugarloaf Trail has a hike for everyone! Sugarloaf anchors a network of scenic trails. If you really wanted an adventure, after hiking some of the trails I detail below, you could follow Teacup trail for an additional 1.2 miles to hike Soldier Pass trail!
There are about 10 parking spots at the trailhead and a Red Rock Pass is required. You can purchase daily or weekly passes at some of the trailheads, or you can pick one up at a gas station. The daily passes are $5, $15 for 7 consecutive days, or $20 for an annual pass.
However, if you have an America the Beautiful pass, you don’t have to worry about getting a Red Rock Pass.
The parking lot is in the middle of a quiet neighborhood, so please be respectful! If you can’t find a spot in the parking lot, you can try for a street spot in the neighborhood – just be mindful of ‘no parking’ signs so you don’t get a ticket!
Visit a lot of National Parks?
If you are visiting Saguaro National Park, or any of the other national parks across the country, consider getting an $80 America the Beautiful pass! It lasts for 1 year and gets you admission to all registered sites.
Purchase your National Parks Pass here!
Sugarloaf Summit Trail
Trail Length: 1.6 miles
Elevation gain: 415 ft
Route Type: Out and back
If you want a hike you can do in 30-minutes that offers you panoramic views of West Sedona, you’ll want to do Sugarloaf Summit Trail via Teacup Trail!
Once you park at the Sugarloaf Trailhead lot, you’ll start your hike on Teacup Trail. Around 0.3 miles, you’ll come to a signed junction want turn right onto the Sugar Loaf Loop Trail. Soon after that, you’ll take another right on the Summit Trail.
Follow the Summit Trail as it gains elevation and before you know it, you’ll have reached the top! Enjoy the views and head back the way you came.
Sugarloaf Loop Trail
Trail Length: 1.9
Elevation gain: 354 ft
Route Type: Loop
Sugarloaf Loop is one of the best hikes in Sedona because it’s easy, mostly flat, and offers amazing 360-degree views! This is one of the less crowded trails I’ve hiked in Sedona, and the surrounding red rocks look gorgeous at any time of day!
Once you park at the Sugarloaf Trailhead lot, you’ll start your hike on Teacup Trail. Continue on Teacup Trail until until you see a signed junction – turn right onto the Sugar Loaf Loop Trail! From there, the trail will keep curving to the right and connect back to Teacup Trail, where you can head back to the trailhead.
Keyhole Cave Trail via Sugarloaf
Trail Length: 2.2 miles
Elevation gain: 472 ft
Route Type: Out & back
If you’re an experienced hiker on Sugarloaf Trail and looking for something more challenging that takes you to a massive cave, Keyhole Cave trail might be for you! This is just one of many caves in Sedona and I have to say, this hike is not suited to beginners. This trail is off the beaten path and quite challenging to follow.
The entrance to Keyhole Cave is a 30-foot Class III climb to get onto the ledge, and I highly recommend you have climbing experience. I also recommend downloading a map before you attempt this hike! I would have gotten lost if I didn’t have my AllTrails map.
If this sounds up your alley, check out this super detailed blog on how to find the secret Keyhole Cave in Sedona.
Tips For Hiking In Sedona
While I will always encourage you to plan ahead for your hike, check the weather before you head out, dress appropriately, and always carry the 10 Essentials, here are some Sedona-specific hiking tips:
- A lot of the hikes will require a Red Rock Pass to park at the trailhead. You can purchase daily or weekly passes at some of the trailheads or pick one up at a gas station. The daily passes are $5, $15 for seven consecutive days, or $20 for an annual pass.
- Start early – especially if you are going to a popular trail like Cathedral Rock! Parking lots can fill up fast and depending on the time of year, it can get hot quickly. If you don’t want to deal with the parking lot, check out the free Sedona Shuttle!
- Be prepared to share the trail with other hikers and mountain bikers! Sedona is popular and everyone who respects the land deserves to see its beauty! Please be respectful of others on the trail.
- Bring lots of water and snacks, wear sturdy shoes and sunscreen, and don’t forget your camera!
What To Bring + Wear For Hiking In Sedona
The time of year will impact exactly what you need to bring to hike in Sedona. If you visit in the winter, you’ll definitely want to bring long layers and warmer gear but if you visit in the summer, you’ll want light sun-blocking layers and water shoes.
No matter what time of year you visit, there are a couple of basics I recommend for hiking in Sedona:
Hiking in Sedona means lots of loose rocks and sandy sections so sturdy hiking shoes are a must. Since hiking in Sedona can get pretty hot, I prefer a lightweight hiking boot with a good grip.
Merino Wool Socks
Over the years, I’ve learned that the socks you wear hiking are just as important as the boots! I love hiking in these merino wool socks because they prevent blisters and keep your feet cool and dry.
No matter the weather, I always get hot and sweaty when I’m hiking in Sedona! For that reason, I prefer hiking in moisture-wicking fabrics like polyester because the fibers keep the sweat on the surface and transport your sweat to the outer layer of your shirt. Once there, the sweat evaporates!
You will need to pack a reusable water bottle or water bladder for hiking in Sedona. Since it can get quite hot (no matter what time of year), it’s important to bring plenty of water and drink it throughout your hike.
Trail snacks for hikes in Sedona
It’s super important to fuel your body when you are hiking, especially when you are hiking in the desert! I love to snack on fresh and fruit, protein bars, and rehydrate with electrolytes!
Sunscreen + sun protection
Sedona, like the rest of the southwest desert, gets a lot of sun. Sunscreen and polarized sunglasses are essential for your hikes!
If there’s one thing I don’t ever go hiking in Sedona without, it’s a sun hat! If you’re looking for a recommendation, I love this hat from Sunday Afternoons! It looks great on everyone, keeps the sun out of your eyes, and isn’t too hot on the head so you can wear it hiking all year round!
If you’re bringing your 10 essentials, extra water, snacks, your camera, and layers, you’ll need a hiking backpack to carry it all in! Here’s my current favorite hiking backpack for day trips – I love that it comes with a hydration bladder!
Hiking in Sedona | Leave No Trace
While you are visiting Sedona, please be sure to practice the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace (LNT). These guidelines are easy-to-understand and help minimize your impact on the outdoors. Here’s a brief overview of LNT:
Plan Ahead & Prepare
Planning helps you be prepared for the conditions of your adventure and ensures the safety of yourself and others. Be sure to look at maps, check the weather and know the skills of yourself and the people in your group.
Travel on Durable Surfaces
When you spend time outside, your main goal should be to explore with minimal impact or damage to the land, waterways, plants, and animals. Staying on the trails and traveling on surfaces that withstand the impact of your travel (rocks, sand, snow, etc.) are all ways to do this.
Dispose of Waste Properly
The litter I see on trails (crying emoji). Please be sure to dispose of your waste properly to make everyone’s experience in nature more enjoyable! And waste includes your poop. Digging a cat hole and burying your toilet paper or using a Kula Cloth is a great way to leave no trace!
Leave What You Find
As much as we love to bring home cool rocks and pick flowers, it’s important to leave nature as you found it. Stacking rocks or carving your name into the sandstone or a living tree causes damage and only encourages others to do the same.
For everyone’s safety, it’s important to respect wildlife – after all, you are in their home! Give them their space and don’t feed them.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Everyone in Sedona is just trying to enjoy their visit. It’s SO important to be courteous to others because when people are out in nature, they want to listen to nature. Excessive noise, wild pets, or a trashed trail take away from the appeal of the outdoors.
Do not touch dwellings sites or petroglyphs
There is a lot of indigenous history in the Sedona area – this land was once inhabited by the Sinagua, Western Apache, Hopitutskwa, Pueblos, and Hohokam People. If you find an ancient dwelling site or petroglyphs, do not touch them.
Before you visit Sedona, consider signing the Sedona Cares Pledge:
- The rocks are red and the silence is golden. I vow to respect the natural quiet of Sedona’s open spaces and neighborhoods.
- I will be mindful of Sedona’s arid environment by minimizing my water and energy use and I will be extremely careful with fire.
- I’ll make my own memories, but not my own trails.
- I won’t risk life or limb (human or sapling) for more likes. I won’t get killed for a killer photo.
- When playing outside, I’ll be ready for rapid changes in weather and random episodes of magic.
- Leave No Trace and pack out your trash – that includes TP and your pup’s poo!
- I will discover art in Sedona’s galleries rather than making my own. Carving on trees or rocks, stacking stones, or defacing the environment diminishes nature’s art.
- If I can’t find a parking spot, I will not invent my own. I will go with the traffic flow, using my turn signal often and my car horn seldom.
- I’ll be caring and considerate wherever I go, because that’s the Sedona way.
Final Thoughts on Sugarloaf Trail in Sedona
I hope this blog gave you all the information you need to explore Sugarloaf Trail Sedona!
If you liked this blog, check out my other Sedona guides: