Are you looking for the best caves in Sedona? You are not alone, as Sedona is an adventure playground for outdoor lovers and hikers.

In this post, we have compiled everything you need to know about Sedona Caves, including the ways to access, the best time, and valuable tips. Plus, also check the Sedona Caves map.

Given the magnificent and distinct landscapes, the desert town is home to many gorgeous caverns, most accessed through hikes that will take you through beautiful arid landscapes carpeted with desert vegetation, red and orange sandstone and limestone cliffs.

So along with exploring these top Sedona Caves, you will also get to check out the spectacular viewpoints and stunning skyline packed with towering rock formations and canyons.

Plus, your trip to Sedona is incomplete without watching the beautiful landscapes that get sprinkled with the morning and the evening colours of Sedona sunset and sunrise.

Grab your cuppa, and let’s find and explore the best secret caves in Sedona, Arizona.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO EXPLORE CAVES IN SEDONA?

Choosing the best time to explore caves in Sedona has its pros and cons.

April, May, September and October are peak tourist months in Sedona, which are the spring and fall months. 

Since these seasons present excellent weather and ideal conditions for hiking, camping, and being outdoors in general, it is also the busiest, most expensive and most crowded months.

Sedona caves trail

If you want to cut back on the costs, winter and summer are comparatively quieter but you will still encounter many tourists. Avoid visiting Sedona in June or December though.

10 AM to 2 PM is the busiest hours, while the weekends and holidays are the busiest days. So irrespective of when you visit, if you want to patiently capture and enjoy the best Sedona Caves, avoid your trip during these times.

TOP CAVES IN SEDONA

SOLDIER PASS CAVE

  • Distance – 4.5 miles round trip
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Trailhead – Soldier Pass Trailhead
  • Elevation Gain – 750 feet
  • Pass Required – No
  • Best Time – Afternoon
  • Time Required – 3 hours
  • Parking – Available at Jim Thompson Trailhead

One of the most popular Sedona caves to visit is Soldier Pass Cave. Due to its location on the way to other landmarks and its beautiful views, it is one of the best caves in Sedona.

You’ll pass through 7 sacred pools and Devil’s Kitchen, famous tourist attractions. So it is worth adding to your trek.

best caves in Sedona

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SOLDIER PASS CAVE?

Due to its location facing the west, it is one of the best caves in Sedona to watch a sunset from here. There is little to no light in the early morning hours, making noon to 5 PM the ideal time to be in Soldier Pass Cave.

But no matter when you plan, expect the place to be crowded, leaving little room if you want to photograph.

Consider taking the Sedona shuttle to avoid having to wait for parking.

HOW TO REACH SOLDIER PASS CAVE?

You have two options for parking at Park at Posse Grounds Park and Jim Thompson Trailhead.

After about 0.25 of a mile, you’ll be at Devil’s Kitchen. If you hike for another mile, you will arrive at Seven Sacred Pools.

After exploring these two attractions, continue on the main trail to find another course, leading you to climb up to the Soldier Pass Cave.

Alternatively, if you want to skip hiking altogether, hire a jeep or a 4WD vehicle for which you have to obtain a permit. You will arrive at the parking area just 0.1 miles from the trail split leading to Soldier Pass Cave.

BIRTHING CAVE

  • Distance – 2 miles round trip
  • Difficulty – Easy to Moderate
  • Duration – 2 hours
  • Trailhead – Long Canyon Trailhead
  • Elevation Gain – 270 feet
  • Parking – Limited parking available roadside
  • Best Time – Early morning to mid-afternoon
  • Pass – Not needed

Considered one of the unique caves in Sedona, Birthing Cave is ideal if you want to go off the beaten path. 

Since Birthing Cave and Boynton Canyon Subway Cave are located nearby, it is easy to hike both in one day. 

Located on the Long Canyon Trail, it is not a traditional cave but more of a rock face, sphere-shaped at the centre with a depression that you can see after passing through the flame-shaped cave entrance.

The hike to Birthing Cave is a relatively easy one, with only a short but steep climb, in the end, leading to the cave.

Unlike Sedona’s other hikes and caves, this is much quieter and less visited, although you can easily access Birthing Cave.

soldier pass cave sedona

If you plan a trip to Birthing Cave for photography, getting a wide lens to get the entire window in a frame is best.

Also, the best shots are at the centre, crowded during peak times.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT BIRTHING CAVE?

Since Birthing Cave is east-facing, the best time to visit is between and late afternoon, ideally between noon to 3 pm, during which the cave is filled with light. The views of the horizon encompassing unique desert vegetation are surreal to watch.

HOW TO REACH THE BIRTHING CAVE?

You’ll begin your hike at Long Canyon Trailhead. If you hike for 0.6 miles on Long Canyon, passing through logs and rocks, you will find a fork where you need to turn left at this point and keep hiking along Long Canyon Trail for 0.3 miles leading to Birthing Cave. 

best caves in sedona

There is another fork in the trail, where you’ll keep left again, leading you up to the cave. 

From the base of the cave, you need to climb a bit of elevation to get in the cave. 

You can also stop at the Boynton Canyon vortex site, one of the four main Sedona vortex sites, at the end of your hike.

KEYHOLE CAVE

  • Distance – 2.70 miles round trip
  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Trailhead – Sugarloaf Trailhead
  • Elevation Gain – 500 feet
  • Hike Difficulty – Moderate to Difficult(a climb to the cave)
  • Parking – Limited parking
  • Best Time – Morning to noon
  • Pass Required – Yes

One of the beautiful yet underrated caves in Sedona is the Keyhole Cave. 

If you are looking for an adventurous hike, the best cave in Sedona is Keyhole Cave. To reach this, you will have to do a steep climb and climb up a rock wall, which will lead you to the cave entrance.

Keyhole Cave is one of the largest caves in Sedona, comprising a big chamber with a wide opening that offers fantastic views of the rustic landscapes.

caves in arizona

If you are looking for a secluded hike, one of the best Sedona Caves is the Keyhole Cave, as you will notice that few people are accompanying you as you start your walk on the Teacup Trail.

The other reason for fewer visitors is the strenuous climb, which means you can also have the cave for yourself.

You can park at Sugar Loaf or Teacup Trailhead, although it has limited spaces.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?

Keyhole Cave is located facing the southwest direction, which means afternoon to sunset is the best time to capture the best shots and witness a stunning sunset. 

If you plan to stay for sunset, make sure you return before it gets too late as the trail is not well- marked packed with rough vegetation.

I was there during the first half of the day and around the sunset, and I loved the views at both times.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU – 25 TOP BEACHES IN ARIZONA FOR A FAMILY GETAWAY

HOW TO REACH THE KEYHOLE CAVE?

To get to this massive cave, get on the Teacup Trail after parking at Sugar Loaf / Teacup Trailhead. Follow this trail for about 0.3 miles, at which point the trail intersects with the Thunder Mountain Trail. 

At the intersection, you can take left to get on the Thunder Mountain Trail or a right and enter a wash, which leads directly to the base of Keyhole Cave.

Follow a wooden trail sign and head directly to where the rough trail begins. Keep following the wash until you reach the Keyhole Cave. 

Entering Keyhole Cave is the most challenging part of the hike. You will have to climb nearly vertically, so you may go on all fours. You can take a rope with you and watch where you place your hands and legs.

Avoid visiting the Keyhole cave during the rainy days as the area is prone to flash floods. Also, watch out for rattlesnakes on your way.

KACHINA TREE CAVE

  • Distance – 3.70 miles round trip
  • Difficulty – Difficult
  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Trailhead – Boynton Canyon Trailhead
  • Parking – Limited parking
  • Best Time – Morning to noon
  • Pass Required – Yes

If you want to visit one of the offbeat caves in Sedona, Kachina Tree Cave is the one you should see.

Not only is it not very well known, but the difficulty in accessing this makes it one of the least explored Sedona Caverns.

The main attraction of this cave is the mystic Lone Tree, located amidst the rugged landscapes. 

The Kachina Tree Cave is more of an arch, and the area nearby was home to indigenous tribes, as the ruins scattered near the cave suggest.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?

The best time to visit Kachina Cave is morning hours between 9 AM and 11 AM. Not only are the lighting conditions ideal at this time for capturing the best shots of the cave, but you can also witness the best views of this Sedona Cave.

The lone tree gleams as the colours of the sun seep through the landscapes, brightening the red and orange rocks around, offering a stunning dance of colours to watch.

For the best use of your time, add the hike to Kachina Cave right after the dawn hike to Subway Cave on the way back to visit both the caves during their perfect lighting conditions.

Avoid planning a hike to Kachina Cave after rain or snowfall in winter. 

HOW TO REACH THE KACHINA TREE CAVE?

The trailhead Boynton Canyon is located close to the parking. On the easy trail, walk for over a mile until you see a narrow path on your left. 

Take that trail to pass through a narrow wash that will lead you close to the spire’s base. 

After passing out of the wash, it is a steep climb up the slopes of the rocky mountain on an unmarked trail to reach the cave.  Take care of the cacti, and watch out for rattlesnakes as you do your climb to arrive at the cave.

BOYNTON CANYON SUBWAY CAVE

  • Distance – 5 miles round trip
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Duration – 3 hours
  • Trailhead – Boynton Canyon Trailhead
  • Parking – Limited parking
  • Best Time – Early morning
  • Pass Required – Yes

One of the caves in Sedona that has recently become popular is Boynton Canyon Cave, also known as the Subway Cave, thanks to Instagram.

Subway Cave is a distinct tunnel-shaped sandstone formation accessed via a spur trail in Boynton Canyon. 

Its unique shape running vertically with a wide split, its gorgeous settings amidst the arid landscapes forming an excellent location and the lighting conditions make it one of the most visually stunning photogenic caves in the Sedona area.

You can combine the hike on Boynton Canyon Trail with the walk to the Kachina tree above as it is nearby, although a bit more complicated.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SUBWAY CAVE?

Since Subway Cave faces east, early morning around or after sunrise is the best time to visit Subway Cave. 

Avoid going there afternoon as the cave gets darker, making the place unsuitable for great photos.

Due to its increased popularity, no matter when you visit, Subway Cave is almost always crowded.

HOW TO REACH THE SUBWAY CAVE?

The hike is initially flat and easy, leading you to an unmarked trail that involves a climb, which will take you to Subway Cave. 

Park at Boynton Canyon Trailhead, and after hiking for about 2 miles on the main Boynton Canyon trail, you will come across a large Juniper tree dividing the course. 

Take right slightly ahead of this tree to head to Boynton Canyon cave. Pass through a wash to continue to arrive at another wash, at which point you should take right again.

The last portion of the hike here involves a slight climb up the hill that will lead you to the base of the Boynton Canyon Subway Cave.

You can get into the cave between the split or walk on the ridge and the cliff dwellings. 

OFFBEAT CAVES IN SEDONA

FAY CANYON ARCH CAVE

  • Distance – 1.5 miles round trip
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Duration – 1 hour
  • Trailhead – Fay Canyon Trailhead
  • Elevation Gain – 250 feet
  • Parking – Limited parking
  • Best Time – Late noon
  • Pass Required – Yes

If you are looking for offbeat Sedona Caves, it is worth checking out Fay Canyon Arch, a massive sandstone eroded into a towering red rock cliff, forming an arch more than precisely a cave.

Due to its impressive formation and the beautiful panoramas surrounding Fay Canyon Arch, it is one of the underrated caves in Sedona loved by those wanting fewer crowds.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE FAY CANYON ARCH?

Due to its location in the southwest, the best time to visit 

Fay Canyon Arch is late afternoon until sunset as the cave would be lit with the whole rock face illuminated overlooking the landscapes.

HOW TO REACH FAY CANYON ARCH?

Park at the Fay Canyon Trailhead and follow the flat Fay Canyon Arch trail for 0.6 miles. To your right, you will see some rock formations and a gigantic arch near trees at the foot of the hills. 

Head towards this to reach a steep bank that you need to climb up to get to the entrance of the arch.

RAVEN CAVES

  • Distance – 0.5 miles round trip
  • Difficulty – Easy
  • Duration – 1 hour
  • Trailhead – Raven Caves Trailhead
  • Elevation Gain – 50 feet
  • Parking – Limited parking
  • Best Time – Late afternoon to sunset
  • Pass Required – No

One of the least known caves in Sedona despite being among the easily accessible is Raven Caves, a series of maze-like caves located in the south of Sedona overlooking Oak Creek.

Note that Raven Caves isn’t photogenic or gigantic like the other Sedona Caves despite its easy trail and location. 

So if you want to check out a smaller cave with no or very few people, you can add a trip to Raven Caves to your itinerary.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT RAVEN CAVES?

Since Raven Caves faces westwards, it is best to visit the cave in the late afternoon until around sunset for ideal photo conditions.

HOW TO REACH RAVEN CAVES?

After parking on the side of highway 179, you can take the easy and well-marked trail for about 15 minutes that will lead you downhill. 

If you turn right, you will see the first of the series of caves. You can get in and explore the other caves in the tunnel-like structure. Follow the obvious path leading to a short downhill climb.

HIDEOUT CAVE(ROBBERS ROOST CAVE)

  • Distance – 2 miles round trip
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Duration – 1 hour
  • Elevation Gain – 400 feet
  • Parking – Limited parking at 4wd
  • Best Time – Sunrise to early morning

One of the least visited caves in Sedona is Robber’s Roost Cave, also known as Hideout Cave. The cave gets its name from being a hideout for bandits. 

The cave features two entrances, one large oval-shaped facing east and another towards the south, with the latter being called Robbers Roost.

What makes Hideout Cave worth visiting are the splendid views of the deserted landscapes and colourful rock formations visible from the cave and also that you can enjoy having the place for yourself.

Since a narrow ledge crossing is required, it is best to avoid visiting during the rainy and icy months.

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT HIDEOUT CAVE?

One face of the Hideout Cave faces towards the east and another towards the south, which means sunrise and early morning is the best time to visit if you plan to capture the cavern under the best light conditions.

HOW TO REACH HIDEOUT CAVE?

Unlike the other Sedona Caves trails, you can significantly cut down the hike distance to reach Hideout Cave by renting a 4WD. You can drive your vehicle for about 3 miles to get to the 4WD parking area.

From here, take the trail that will lead you to a V-shaped valley. Here, you need to follow the path that goes uphill and turn left at the marking to arrive at the north entrance of Hideout Cave. 

Beware of the narrow ledge you need to cross to reach the cave. The cave views are gorgeous, making it worth a visit on your Sedona weekend getaway.

If you rent a regular car, you can only drive the first mile and cover the remaining 3 miles by a hike that involves a slightly uphill path.

THE BEST ITINERARY FOR VISITING CAVES IN SEDONA

If you have only one day in Sedona or two, picking a Sedona Cave can be confusing. So here is a quick overview to help you decide.

If you want it for Instagram or if photography is your interest, Subway Cave is the most famous cave in Sedona for these.

If you want a secluded cave with fewer crowds, hike to Birthing Cave, the quietest one.

If you are game for a challenging trail, Keyhole Cave is the most adventurous, while Soldier Pass Cave trail is known for its splendid views throughout the hike. 

If you want to cover as many as possible in one day, it is possible to cover Subway Cave, Kachina Cave and Birthing Cave in that order as they are all located close to one another.

Here is how you can plan your itinerary. Wake up before sunrise and hike to Subway Cave to be ahead of the crowds. Enjoy the gorgeous morning, one of the best Sedona Sunrises

These hours will also give you epic shots of the cave and the panoramas as the best light conditions prevail. 

Head next to Kachina Cave on the way back to the trailhead. Try to time your visit to Kachina Cave between 9 AM to 11 AM for the best light and views.

After this, Birthing Cave will be your next stop. Drive to Long Canyon Trailhead and hike the Birthing Cave to arrive after lunch. You will be just in time for the best lighting. 

You can wait and watch the sunset and wind up your day or continue to Soldier Pass Trail by hopping on to the shuttle. 

Alternatively, if you’re up for an adventure, head to Keyhole Cave after Birthing Cave.

TIPS FOR EXPLORING CAVES IN SEDONA

Here are some things you need to know before planning your trip to check out Sedona Caves.

caves in sedona az

START YOUR HIKE EARLY

If you are traveling during the peak months to explore the caves in Sedona, I recommend starting your hike as early as possible.

You will be ahead of the crowds, and you can find an escape from the scorching noon sun.

Plus, if you are here during the busiest periods in Sedona, from Spring through Fall, you must be one of the first to secure a parking spot.

FINDING A PARKING SPOT

Finding parking at popular hiking trailheads in Sedona is a challenge, especially if you plan to park at Cathedral Rock Trail, Bell Rock Trail or Devils Bridge Trail.

It is best to have alternative parking areas around the cave hikes in Sedona you want to do before you plan your trip.

MAKE USE OF SEDONA SHUTTLE

It is better to take advantage of the shuttle bus system in Sedona as you will save time on finding parking.  Soldier Pass Cave is well connected by the shuttle. Check the shuttle schedule here.

WEAR GOOD SHOES AND APPROPRIATE CLOTHING

While hiking to the caves in Sedona, you will have to navigate through rough desert vegetation and beware of snakes, so ensure you have good-quality hiking shoes and full-sleeved t-shirts if you are used to them.

SEDONA CAVES MAP

HIKING TO CAVES IN SEDONA – THINGS TO PACK FOR YOUR TRIP

GENERAL ITEMS

CLOTHING

OTHER ESSENTIALS

Even if you aren’t into photography, you may want to bring a camera with a good lens. 

Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70S if you prefer lightweight gear. Nikon D850 if you prefer a DLSR.

SEDONA CAVES FAQs

ARE THE SEDONA CAVES PET FRIENDLY?

Yes, the cave hikes in Sedona are dog friendly as long as they are kept on a short leash at all times. 

WHAT ARE THE BEST MONTHS TO VISIT SEDONA CAVERNS?

As mentioned above, April, May, September and October are peak tourist months to explore caves in Sedona, which are the spring and fall months.

ARE THE CAVES IN SEDONA SAFE?

Whether you are traveling alone or with a group, the trails leading to the caves in Sedona are mostly well-marked and safe. 

But do ensure to stay on the path, keep an eye for rattlesnakes and thorny/rough desert vegetation. Also, avoid staying late after sunset and plan to come back earlier.

WHICH IS THE EASILY ACCESSIBLE SEDONA CAVE?

Reaching Sedona Caverns depends on your mode of transport and the trail difficulty levels. Based on these things, Hideout Cave is the easiest cave to access f you rent a jeep or 4WD vehicle.

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