Cathedral Rock Trail from 179

The Hike House Sedona Trail Rating System
Cathedral Rock Trail
from 179
More of a rock climb than a hike, this trail is unshaded and steep and difficult in places. Follow the basket cairns across the wash and up the moderate slope toward the spires. At .25 mile, the trail emerges on a broad ledge with nice views. Then, it ascends steeply over bald rock and in a shallow cleft with a few toeholds notched into the rock to help on the steeper places. 

Emerging on a small knob, cairns show the way up and across several ledges toward the deep drainage ahead which it follows, climbing moderately steeply to the top of a wide saddle between two spires. Great views all along, but quite spectacular from the top. An unmaintained path leads south along the west base of the spires giving access, with short climbs, to two more saddles between sheer rock faces and a close-up view of an exposed lava dike at the first. Return by the same route for a 1.5 mile hike. Hot is summer.

Trail Data Trail Rating
Distance: 1.75/3.5 miles (One way/Round Trip)
Time: 2 hours (Round Trip)
Elevation Change: 600 ft.
Difficulty: Difficult
VN:RO [1.9.8_1114]
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Rating: 4.2/5
View the Cathdral Rock Trail from 179 Slideshow and Commentary
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Sedona Trail Rating System

The Hike House Sedona Trail Rating System provides actual hiker feedback and ratings of each of the Sedona hiking trails. The cumulative trail ratings for the Cathedral Rock Trail from 179 submitted by fellow hikers is located above with the Trail Data. Your trail feedback and ratings are an important resource for fellow hikers and provide a personal account of your trail experience from which others may learn. So please hike Sedona, help others, and rate a trail today!

Comments

  1. Sid Kadish says:
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    We did not reach the summit, but changed over to the transverse Templeton Trail. Together it was awesome, and something an amateur hiker can handle. Very high reward to effort ratio. SPK.

  2. Debra says:
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    Great trail to do after the heat of the day. We climbed to the saddle and saw an amazing sunset over Oak Creek and Red Rock State Park.Be prepared to climb over rocks and up some steep ones at that! The descend can be tricky if you don’t have good sticky rubber on the soles of your shoes. Look for the pile of black lava rocks at the top

  3. Frankie says:
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    at the top part of the mountain it gets a little hard because of the steepness i thought my sandles had a pretty good grip to climb. We were there for 1 hour and a half and we definitly had enough water. You probably should wear a hat and sunglasses.

  4. Greg Armstrong says:
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    If you only do 1 hike while in Sedona, this is the one. The way up has a great places to stop and take in the wide vistas, but the reward is at the top. Make your way between the spires and there is a small trail that takes you into the heart of the rock. You can lay in the sun and take in the rocks towering above you. Make it early in the morning to see the sun light up the valley.

  5. Ron Arden says:
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    While this trail and its views are among my favorite in Sedona, I prefer to hike up the washout area to her saddle. Use caution… rocks can be loose and slippery!

  6. Marc Packin says:
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    Hike to the top was a little difficult for me a times. Some times the way to the top was hard to find. Well worth it when you do get to the top.

  7. Marsha Taylor says:
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    Hiking up to Cathedral Rock/saddle area was a wonderful trip and fairly easy. It got difficult, more of a rock climb, as you got near the top-very worth it though. It was this that warranted the “difficult” rating for me. My husband gave me a hand-up a couple times but I was successful getting there. No difficulty getting down :-) Will do this one again

  8. Amy Boden says:
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    I took my time hiking/climbing this trail. It was an incredible experience – unlike any hiking I’ve done before as it requires some scrambling – I felt like I was truly climbing. The view from the narrow ledge at the very top is gorgeous. It is the perfect place to get out the camera and capture the beauty. Coming down I did the crab walk more than once just to keep my center of gravity low and maintain my balance.
    My favorite experience of the 3 places we visited while in Sedona. I can’t wait to come back and see more!

  9. Jason Creed says:
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    After stopping into the shop and chatting with Mike, He recommended this hike to us. We had a great time. The veiws were great and the exercise level was just what we were looking for, Thanks for another great recommendation Mike.

  10. Phil King and Rachael Mays says:
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    We did this hike late in the afternoon to catch the sunset and it was great. The views are outstanding and there were not too many people at the saddle. The views from the black dyke are especially good. We spent the last few minutes of twilight trying to find the dyke down in the wash by the parking lot, but only found float rocks. Very nice hike.

  11. Mike Williams says:
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    This is a must! I know we are tourist but it is really cool. Once you pass through the first layer you end up in the breach of the two buttes. The view is incredible and there are great pictures if you walk out on the right side and down to the overlook. Once you get done with Pics and water take off to the left and climb the rest of the way up into the vortex….this is really cool and you get to see the pinnacles….you can hike down like you are going on another trail but it does not connect back up to the parking lot. Entire family loved this one and it is a great confidence builder…..

  12. Kevin E. says:
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    This was our family’s favorite hike of our week in Sedona. The climbs to and thru the spires yield spectacular photo ops. At the top there’s a path to a shear rock face and ledge where the payoff photoshot can be had. 3 of our family of 4 (12y.o. To 56y.o.) did this climb/ hike in decent running shoes; only 1 of us had real hiking shoes. There are multiple paths up to and around the spires… Can’t really seem to get lost on this one (unlike brins Mesa/soldiers pass!)

  13. Sarah Nachbar says:
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    A fantastic hike! My Mom, Dad, and I took this hike and had such a great time! It was especially cool to see the little river filled with and bordered by cairns! I’m 13, so it’s even a good trail for teens! Overall, it was very relaxing, and you can totally feel the vortexes!

  14. Erica & Hans Schneidenbach says:
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    Cathedral Rock trail was a shorter trail with a steep climb most of the way. On some portions you need to use hands to climb up the path as it turns into rock face. We loved this trail for the hands on challenge and spectacular views not only at the top, but along the way. Overall this was one of our favorites because of the views, which you can enjoy for hours because they are so beautiful. We want to thank Mike at the Hike house for giving his time going over the trail maps!!

  15. Ryan Smith says:
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    Amazing trail for the views and difficult experience in a quick timeframe.

  16. Joseph - Age 6 says:
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    I loved this trail! It was fun climbing. It had a beautiful view. It had cairns marking the trail. I wanted to climb higher, but mom wouldn’t let me:)

  17. Laura says:
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    I’m a 57 year old woman, in good shape; a little afraid of heights. This little trail got the better of me. I wasn’t trusting my shoes to keep me on the large, smooth rocks and I couldn’t get my grip to take me into the slot in order to make it to the first big plateau. Oh well. My 56 year old male companion had no trouble – and neither did the many inexperienced hikers along the trail. Another day perhaps! Still, this is a beautiful place for a late afternoon hike.

  18. Russ says:
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    Great views! Easy until you reach the rock face and then moderate to difficult to the top. Coming down harder than going up. Be prepared to “crab’ down bare rock faces on the way down. Well worth the climb!

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