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Devil's Bridge: A Sedona Hiking Experience

Nilza enjoys domestic travel in the U.S. and going abroad. She shares tips and stories of her adventures for fellow travelers to use.

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Devil’s Bridge

With hundreds of hiking trails of varying difficulty covering the gorgeous red rock and evergreen landscape of Sedona, a trail with the name Devil's Bridge can be off-putting. Though the name mentions the Devil, those who choose to hike to this natural sandstone arch won't see any red evil entity along the 4.5-mile trail. You will however see plenty of red from iron oxide weathered rocks.

In this article, I share my hiking adventure from a spring day in May to help you consider hiking this trail in Sedona, Arizona.

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Early Bird Catches the Parking and Instagram Photo

In the era of influencers and social media, outdoor sites like Sedona's trails have seen an influx of visitors looking to up their photo game. Devil's Bridge is no different with reviews of the trail forewarning the line to stand on the bridge feels like waiting for a ride at Disney.

Tip: To avoid touristy photo lines or a shortage of parking spots, get up early!

Before you can even photo yourself at the bridge you have to find parking to then walk to the trail. Arrive too late in the morning to start the hike and this may prove to be a tedious task. The Bridge's lot shares parking with the Dry Creek Vista Trailhead, connecting to Devil's Bridge Trail via a dirt road.

To ensure we didn't have to worry about parking we arrived at the lot minutes shy of 8 AM. The lot was nearly full as we grabbed one of the last three open spots. Some hikers start as early as 6 AM, so keep this in mind as you plan a time to begin your adventure. Once the lot is full, you may find your hike will be increased in mileage as you'll have to park further away.

Had we had a 4x4 vehicle we would have had more options for parking. For those who have access to a 4WD vehicle, shave off half of the hike by taking the unpaved and rocky Dry Creek Road directly to Devil's Bridge Trailhead.

Devil's Bridge Parking Lot and Dry Creek Trailerhead

4WD Parking Lot

Pack and Dress Accordingly

Regardless of where you start the hike, there are a few items you want to bring along for the trek. While many people walk the trails with casual New Balances walking shoes or Nike athletic shoes, I personally wouldn't recommend it.

A good majority of the trek is over a dirt road for those who start at the parking lots near the Mescal or Dry Creek Trailhead. Though walking shoes can handle the terrain, the Devil's Bridge Trail features steep "stairs" for which you'll appreciate soles with a great grip. If you have hiking shoes or boots, pull them out!

Depending on the time of year, dress for the heat. While getting up early in the morning to start the hike has the advantage of fewer people, parking spots, and shorter waits to take a photo, it also has the benefit of bearable temperatures when hiking in the summer months (June - July).

Ideal Items to Bring in a Comfortable Backpack

  • Insulated water bottle, to keep your water cool
  • Hiking shoes or boots
  • Sunscreen, as many parts of the trail are exposed to direct sunlight
  • Snacks, if you tend to enjoy a snack break when hiking
  • Hat and sunglasses, to shade your face and eyes
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Stair Stepping or Climbing?

Depending on your pace and where you park, this trail can take around 2 hours round trip if you’re taking the 4.5-mile route. You’ll know you’re getting closer to the arch view when you encounter the “stairs” portion of the trail- these steps can fun and strenuous. As someone who is 5'2, this part of the trail felt like a small rock climbing adventure as some steps were incredibly steep.

Don't let the steps deter you from seeing the incredible view at the top; you can take your time to get up and down. The steps can create a bottleneck if the trail is busy as it can be difficult to pass fellow hikers on narrower parts of the path. Once you've started ascending the steps you're almost there.

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Final Destination

After you get all your stair steps in you'll finally see and be able to step on Sedona's largest natural sandstone arch, Devil's Bridge. From afar the "bridge" can look skinny to walk across, but the view from afar can trick the eyes.

For those who are okay with heights, you'll be pleasantly surprised how much leeway the path across the bridge has on both sides as you walk it—you will not be nearly as close to the edge as pictures make it seem.

Though I do not have a fear of heights, I will admit it was a weird feeling to have no grips or railing to either side of the bridge (such fixtures would take away from the natural beauty of this arch anyways). Just walk slowly and firmly so you don't lose your balance as you take advantage of this adrenaline-inducing walk and photo opportunity.

Once you've enjoyed the experience going up the trail, time to hydrate, take a small breather, and trek back down.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Nilza Marie Santana-Castillo

Comments

Katia on June 02, 2021:

a memorable hike! can’t wait to visit Sedona again

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 01, 2021:

An enjoyable hike indeed.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on June 01, 2021:

Fascinating. Well presented.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 01, 2021:

What a wonderful adventure.

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