Baldwin Trail Sedona is one of the most popular hikes near the city. This short trail in Sedona, Arizona, is frequented by nature lovers, hikers and mountain bikers. It also draws many families due to its relatively more accessible, kid-friendly and pet-friendly trail.
What is unique about Baldwin trail in Sedona? It is known for its fantastic views of Cathedral Rock, one of the fascinating landmarks in Arizona and the surrounding gorgeous desert landscapes dominated by red rock mountains, cacti, Juniper and oak trees along the beautiful Oak Creek.
Apart from taking you to the base of Cathedral Rock in Sedona, you can also add more to your hike, as the Baldwin trail provides access to connecting trails.
If you are looking for an easy, short-duration hike with your kids or pets, Baldwin trail Sedona is one of the best choices. This post covers how to hike, parking information, permits, and valuable tips to help you have an incredible Sedona hike.
BEST TIME TO HIKE BALDWIN TRAIL ROCK SEDONA
Spring and fall are the most popular months in Sedona, as these months offer the best weather conditions, beautiful landscapes and the ideal time to be outdoors.
March to May and October and November are the best months to hike the Baldwin Trail Sedona. But this means that the attractions and famous landmarks get crowded during these months, accommodation can be expensive, and securing parking is a challenge if you get there early in the morning.
The temperatures in Sedona in the winter, from December through February, are cold, but hiking is more enjoyable with fewer tourists and cooler weather. Accommodations are also less expensive in winter.
The best time to hike Baldwin trail Sedona is around sunset or in the afternoon, as it is one of the favourite Sedona Sunset spots among hikers. For the gorgeous sunset spectacle of colours, hike during the fall.
QUICK INFO AND HIKING DETAILS OF BALDWIN TRAIL SEDONA
- Distance – 2.5 to 3.1 miles round trip
- Type – Out and back
- Duration – 2 to 3 hours
- Trailhead – Baldwin Trailhead near Verde Valley School Road
- Elevation Gain – 125 feet
- Hike Difficulty – Moderate
- Parking – Limited parking
- Best Time – Morning to afternoon
- Pass Required – Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass is needed
- Dog Friendly – Yes
- Kid Friendly – Yes
IS A PERMIT REQUIRED TO HIKE CATHEDRAL ROCK TRAIL SEDONA?
You must display a Red Rock Pass or America National Parks Pass to access the Baldwin trail in Sedona. You can buy the day pass for $5 at the entrance.
RED ROCK PASS
If you plan to do multiple hikes in Sedona, we recommend getting a Red Rock Pass, as many trailheads and roads require a permit, and you can save a few bucks by having this pass handy.
1-Day Red Rock Pass costs $5, $15 per week and $20 for one year. You can get the Red Rock Pass at recreation.gov.
HOW TO REACH THE TRAILHEAD OF BALDWIN TRAIL SEDONA?
From the intersection of State Routes 89A and 179, head for about 6.3 miles. Here, turn to the right on Bell Rock Boulevard in the Villages of Oak Creek. Keep driving on Bell Rock Boulevard for 1.1 miles. Here, turn right onto Verde Valley School Road.
Drive 4.1 miles on this read to arrive at the Baldwin Trailhead, located on the left side of the road.
WHERE TO PARK?
There is limited parking near Baldwin trailhead near the end of Verde Valley School Road. Depending on the time of the trip, it can get busy.
Although sometimes you can access the overflow parking in case the main parking lot is full, it is not guaranteed. Alternatively, you can park at Yavapai Point or the more popular Cathedral Rock trailhead.
You’ll need to display either a Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful National Parks Pass to access the parking here. There are kiosks to buy the day Red Rock Pass, which costs about $5.
HOW TO HIKE BALDWIN TRAIL SEDONA
After parking at the area near Verde Valley Road, go across the street to the south, where you will find the trailhead, which is well-marked.
You can hike the trail in both directions. For the best views, we recommend going in the clockwise direction. Also, if you are using this trail to access Cathedral Rock, it is best to go clockwise(left side).
YOU HAVE THE BELOW OPTIONS OR WAYS TO HIKE THE BALDWIN TRAIL IN SEDONA:
- LOOP 1 – BALDWIN TRAIL>TEMPLETON TRAIL(BASE OF CATHEDRAL ROCK>GET BACK ON THE BALDWIN TRAIL
- LOOP 2 – BALDWIN TRAIL>TEMPLETON TRAIL(BASE OF CATHEDRAL ROCK)>CATHEDRAL ROCK TRAIL(SUMMIT)>GET BACK ON THE BALDWIN TRAIL
- LOOP 3 – BALDWIN TRAIL>TEMPLETON TRAIL(BASE OF CATHEDRAL ROCK>CRESCENT MOON TRAIL>GET BACK ON THE BALDWIN TRAIL
HIKING FROM THE LEFT
You will start from the left of the trailhead for any of the loops above. From the beginning of the hike along Baldwin trail Sedona, you are treated to beautiful views, comprising red rock pinyon pine flat dissected by cool crevasses, gorgeous views of the red rocks and the iconic Cathedral Rock.
Continue on this Baldwin trail for about half a mile until you reach the end to arrive at Templeton Trail.
You can stop at Oak Creek for a quick swim or a picnic along the way by accessing one of the many short-side trails.
The Baldwin Trail Sedona becomes narrower from this point as it forks sharply right and climbs moderately through a draw between Cathedral Rock and a red rock butte. From there you can enjoy fantastic views of Cathedral Rock, even Capitol Butte, Wilson Mountain and Bear Mountain.
You will follow a zigzag path amidst cacti-dotted canyons, pines, and incredible views across the rolling hill. You will also be able to admire the rear views of Cathedral Rock.
After continuing for about 1.2 miles, the trail starts to descend, offering stunning views of Wilson Mesa rising beyond Table Top Mountain. You will reach the creek bed in a short while, and passing that at about another 0.5 miles, you will arrive at the junction of Baldwin trail and the Templeton Trail.
You can turn left to get back on Baldwin Trail, which will make this a loop hike taking you back to the parking lot(Loop 1 as above).
If you go right, you will get on the Templeton Trail, which leads to the base of Cathedral Rock, after hiking for about a mile. This path goes along Oak Creek and is packed with pines, junipers and deciduous trees amidst the grassy meadows, briefly turning the landscapes into a lush green, a change from the classic red rocky desert landscapes.
At 0.2 miles, you will reach Buddha Beach, where hikers use river rocks to build cairns and pile rocks into fanciful shapes, a perfect place for a short break to relax and admire the beautiful views.
If you continue along the trail for 0.8 miles, you will reach an intersection with the Cathedral Rock trail.
You can continue on the Cathedral Rock trail, hiking up to the vortex or the summit. (Loop 2)
If not, turn left at this intersection to continue on the Baldwin trail, which descends gently at this point. Keep to your correct access the route through the vegetation along the creek. Behind you will be the views of Cathedral Rock and other buttes.
On your way back on the Baldwin trail Sedona, you have another trail option opening up at about 2.1 miles, a side trail to Crescent Moon, a pretty Slickrock beach along Oak Creek. It is only about half a mile in addition, and if you have time to spare, we recommend adding this side trip before completing the loop.
At this junction, after 2.1 mikes, take a right to visit Crescent Moon. You know you are on the correct route if the trail descends gently before opening up to the Slickrock and sand.
It is the best way to end this fantastic hike. Walk over to Oak Creek and find a spot to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the many famous landmarks around. If you are here during warm months, this becomes a renowned swimming hole, one of Sedona’s many top swimming holes, thanks to its easy access and splendid location.
Across the river, there is also the Crescent Moon Picnic Site. After enjoying your time here, get back on the same trail you used to come here and follow the Baldwin trail loop that will lead you to the parking lot.
TIPS FOR HIKING BALDWIN TRAIL SEDONA
START THE HIKE EARLY
As parking fills most of the time quickly, starting the hike early in the morning is best, ideally around or right after sunrise. Apart from securing parking spaces, you can hike without crowds and enjoy photographing and peacefully exploring the trail and cave.
WEAR GOOD HIKING SHOES
It is best to wear sturdy hiking shoes with excellent grip as the rocks can be slippery after and around the rain.
HIKE AROUND SUNSET OR SUNRISE
While sunset is the popular time for hiking Baldwin trail Sedona, it can be crowded thanks to its popularity. If you want to avoid crowds and love getting up early, we recommend walking around sunrise.
For photography purposes, the afternoon is the best time to visit Baldwin trail in Sedona, as the light conditions are perfect on the horizon.
If you plan to hike around sunset, carry a headlamp or a torch to help you safely get back down in the dark.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PATH WHILE HIKING
Keep looking at the GPS and track your trail once you begin your hike to know your route and to ensure that you can periodically check in and see you’re on the right path.
RESPECT THE LAND
The Baldwin trail in Sedona and the surrounding areas, including the Sedona Subway Cave and Birthing Cave, are spiritual significance and sacred sites to the Native Americans that should be respected at all times. Do not remove anything from the area, make rock piles, or move the rocks or graffiti rocks.
Also, Cathedral Rock, the summit area in Sedona, is known for its vortex energy. Whether you believe in vortexes or not, respect the idea and treat the land as such.
CARRY SNACKS AND WATER
It is better to carry some snacks and water if you plan to stay there for a while to wait for the sunset or sunrise. Although it may be a short hike, it can be moderately complex, mainly due to the scramble involved. Some snacks will surely help you.
LEAVE NO TRACE
Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace when hiking:
- Packing out what you bring to the hiking trail.
- Being considerate of other hikers.
- Staying on the course.
- Minimising campfire impacts.
- Not approaching or feeding wildlife.
FOLLOW THE TRAIL
The last part of arriving at the cave involves climbing. Take the bank climb, not the rock climb, as it is steeper and more strenuous.
ALTERNATIVE PARKING AND TRAILHEAD
If you cannot park at Baldwin trailhead, you can try alternatively at the overflow parking at the Yavapai Point Parking Lot, about two miles south on Highway 179.
But note that Yavapai Point also has limited parking space, and parking here means it adds almost 4 miles one way to your hike via the Templeton Trail. Consider this into account if you plan to park here.
Wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses along with keeping yourself hydrated as there is no shade and the trail is in the open.
FAQS ABOUT BALDWIN TRAIL SEDONA
HOW LONG IS BALDWIN TRAIL IN SEDONA?
The total distance of Baldwin trail Sedona ranges between 1.5 to 3 miles depending on the routes.
IS BALDWIN TRAIL SEDONA HARD?
The Baldwin trail hike in Sedona is relatively easy and involves only short stretches of moderate difficulty, making it suitable for beginner hikers and people traveling with kids and pets.
IS BALDWIN TRAIL HIKE DOG FRIENDLY?
Yes, the Baldwin trail hike in Sedona is a dog-friendly hike. But you must keep your pets on a leash at all times.
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