The sun reflects off of the tall, bright orange Cathedral Rock in Red Rock State Park, Arizona

Outdoor Adventure Guide to Red Rock State Park

The sun reflects off of the tall, bright orange Cathedral Rock in Red Rock State Park, Arizona

Outdoor Adventure Guide to Red Rock State Park

With plenty of scenic trails, Red Rock State Park in Sedona, Arizona has endless options for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and more.


The red sandstone canyons and buttes of Red Rock State Park are a beautiful sight to behold. Located near Sedona, Arizona, the popular vacation destination features a variety of trails that are ideal for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Wildlife is abundant in the park, and the panoramic views are a photographer’s dream. When it comes to planning an outdoor getaway, the opportunities for adventure are plentiful in Red Rock State Park. With so much to see and do, make sure to check out this guide to plan your ultimate trip.

Walk the Hiking Trails

Without question, the hiking trails are the main attraction at Red Rock State Park. The trails vary in difficulty for all fitness levels, but even the toughest trails aren’t too demanding. In general, the trails are kid-friendly, but the rough terrain isn’t ideal for strollers. For the best family experience, strap kiddos too small to walk into backpack carriers.

Start on Smoke Trail next to the Visitor’s Center, and follow it down to the creek to enjoy the rustic surroundings. Next, climb Eagle’s Nest Trail to take in magnificent vistas of the park. The trails in the park are all well marked and maintained for safety and convenience.

Red Rock State Park offers free guided walks with the entrance fee. Led by a guide who has detailed knowledge of the history, geology, wildlife, and plant life found in the park, the tours give you the opportunity to spot birds of prey, such as red-tailed hawks, and listen to the melodies of more than 100 different types of songbirds that are native to the area. And be sure to keep an eye out for bighorn sheep wandering the sandstone buttes.

A view of supermoon from behind red and brown mountains on a hiking trail in Sedona, Arizona
Source: Shutterstock

See Cathedral Rock

Keep your camera and phone charged to ensure you don’t miss this photo opportunity. Considered one of the best tourist attractions in Arizona, Cathedral Rock offers spectacular views of the geological formations found in Red Rock State Park. The path to Cathedral Rock is relatively flat, but the climb through one of the “saddle points” (gaps in the rock) up to the summit is more of a challenge. Footholds carved in the rock at several points along the way help you ascend to the top. Once there, take plenty of photos of the red sandstone spires and buttes that spread across the horizon.

Make your way down and connect to Templeton Trail and then Baldwin Trail to explore more of Red Rock State Park’s immaculate environments. Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte are also popular attractions.

Green trees surround a calm river stream running through wilderness with Cathedral Rock in the background in Sedona, Arizona
Source: Shutterstock

Explore Oak Creek Canyon

Follow winding hiking trails through juniper and manzanita to the lush banks of Oak Creek Canyon, the perfect place to relax and enjoy a picnic accompanied by the soft sounds of babbling water. If you’re a fisherman, take your fishing gear, and try your luck at catching trout in the river.

Rated by Rand McNally as one of the Top 5 Most Scenic Drives in America, the Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive is essential. This 27.2 mile drive takes you down a winding road with hairpin turns that weave through oak and evergreen forests that descend into the canyon. On the way, stop at Slide Rock State Park for a dip in the cool waters of Oak Creek.

If history and archaeology are your thing, take a historical tour to learn about the Sinagua Indians and see the carvings, known as pictographs, left behind in the limestone cliffs above Verde Valley. If you like what you see, purchase some pieces of Native American art at Oak Creek Canyon Vista Point before leaving.

Take a Guided Tour

If you prefer to place your outdoor fun in the hands of a knowledgeable guide, Red Rock State Park offers a range of guided tours. Saddle up and ride a horse through the canyons with experts, or buckle up and take a Jeep tour through the park. An educational tour outlines the history of the park and the Native American tribes who lived there for thousands of years. Or climb aboard a helicopter to get a bird’s eye view of the peaks and valleys that stretch across the horizon.

Have you taken in the sights and hiked the trails in Red Rock State Park? Share your amazing photos with us on Instagram.

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