Sedona stole my heart, it is such a magical place with so much natural beauty and the energy is like whoa! Sedona has some of the most breathtaking views, the combination of red rock buttes and green lush forests is truly a sight to behold. Planning our trip to Sedona I knew that hiking was at the top of our list, and we made sure we did A LOT of it! There are some really epic hikes throughout the area and Devils Bridge was one of the most memorable for us.
We went in March when temperatures were perfect, mid 50’s with a light breeze and not too hot or too cold. We had our 10 month old little boy and our 4 year old daughter with us. Devils Bridge is considered moderately difficult with some steep inclines at a little over 4 miles in and out.
Devils Bridge trail is actually really close to the town of Sedona, just go north on Dry Creek Road about 2 miles from HWY 89 and you will go through a residential area and there will be the Dry Vista parking lot. You can park here and choose from 2 different paths to get to Devil’s Bridge, one is Chuckwagon Trail which is a bit longer or you can take the unpaved road, both will get you to the actual trail head.
Now this is where I give caution. Many blogs I read said that if you have 4 wheel drive that you could drive through this unpaved dirt road and park right at the trailhead, saving a bunch of time and with little ones this sounded very appealing to us. They did mention that it is a rough road and very bumpy but that most cars would be just fine. And since we had a 4X4 Jeep Grand Cherokee we thought this would be a breeze.
About 50 feet in I immediately regretted it. The road is not suitable for regular 4 wheel drive. It is suitable if you have a jacked up off roading Jeep with super high clearance and tires the size of a small person. It is extremely rough terrain. There was really no place to safely turn around so we had to push through. You’re also sharing the road with all the hikers which makes it more challenging to maneuver as they typically take up a large portion of the roadway.
Oh, did I mention that there is no cell service here either, yeah, so no calling for help. My husband maneuvered our vehicle through boulders, potholes and rocks the size of watermelons like a pro though. This road could cause some serious damage to a regular vehicle so I DO NOT RECOMMEND driving it in a regular vehicle regardless of what other blog posts say, we did it and we would not do it again nor would we advise it!
Once we arrived at the trailhead we shook off our rattled nerves, full of excitement and ready to take in the sights. The trail starts off fairly easy with wide trails and boasts spectacular views along the entire way. It truly is picturesque in every direction. Like seriously Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. As you get closer to the top it gets gradually steeper, more narrow, and a bit more difficult.
This is a very popular hike so you will come across a variety of other hikers and even some dogs along the way, they are allowed as long as they are on a leash. Bravo to those cute critters making their way through the mountains!
My husband carried our little boy in a backpack style carrier but our little girl hiked alongside with us. She did great most of the time but definitely needed some assistance in quite a few areas as we got higher. That’s where super dad came to the rescue, many other hikers actually commented on how he was nominated “dad of the year” for being able to carry not one but two kids through some of those difficult areas. Major kudos to him!
There are some great areas along the way to just stop and take in the scenery as well with great lookout areas. There is no shortage of beauty along this trail. The very top was the most challenging as it gets very steep and rocky in some places but it is manageable as long as you are careful and have good shoes.
Once you get to the top you come out on a cliffside with awesome views of the iconic Devils Bridge right next to you. This is what makes this hike so satisfying, it’s absolutely incredible from the top.
If you’re brave enough you can venture out onto the bridge which is actually a 54 foot high natural sandstone arch that was created by weather and wind erosion. There was no way I was not going to go on the bridge after what we went through to get up there so I was excited to get out there. There are no fences or railings so you do need to be careful and watch your step. If you’re afraid of heights then this is probably not something you would want to attempt, it’s a loooooong way down!
There will be other hikers there to help take turns taking photos and delighting in the joy of it all. The trek back down is a bit rough at first with the steep rocky declines you have to climb down but if you go slowly and with caution you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
Me and my husband were both elated and relieved once we made our way back down the mountain and of course getting our vehicle on actual pavement, there was definitely some high-fiving and cheering going on as we looked back at what we had accomplished, knowing that we were all safe and had all of our body parts! It felt really good to have done that with our kids, what a great experience it was.
I highly recommend this hike to anyone in the area because it truly is spectacular! Be sure to take lots of water, especially in the summer time and go as early as possible to avoid crowds and hot temperatures.
And as a side note, we did have to get an alignment on our Jeep once we got back home because of this “off-roading” adventure, so once again, I do not advise regular 4X4 vehicles attempt this, we were lucky to not have sustained more damage to our car.