Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
310.00 ft (94.49 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
3.70 mi (5.95 km)
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Entering Sedona from the south on Highway 179, the first major rock formations seen are Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte.  These prominent features lie between the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona proper and are easily accessible from the road. Bell Rock is a favorite with all abilities of visitors because it is a blast to climb, so the trailhead parking at Courthouse Vista is usually very crowded, and the first part of the broad trail that leads to the Bell Rock access point is a superhighway; but get past this rush and the trail soon becomes much quieter and incredibly scenic.

Beginning at the well-marked Courthouse Butte Vista parking area, there is a short stub trail to the junction with the loop.  Either direction is fine, and this description follows the counter-clockwise route. The first 0.8 mile or so of this hike follows the Bell Access Trail, which has heavy bike and hiker traffic. Around the southern end of Bell Rock, the loop branches to the east and becomes much quieter and less busy. The trail follows along the south side of both Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte and offers wonderful and continuously-changing views of these beautiful formations. There are still bikes allowed on this section, so it is important to be alert on this narrow trail. The loop winds around to the east side of the butte and drops down into a wide sandstone wash. The last half of the hike roughly follows this wash offering more great views of the back side of the butte and the mountains to the east and north. Parts of this section are through a wilderness, and no bikes are allowed. There is a bit  of elevation gain, and eventually Cathedral  Rock comes into view in the distance. If there is energy to spare upon reaching the trail back to the parking area, some time spent climbing on Bell Rock can be fun for all abilities.

Like many areas around Sedona, a Red Rock Pass (or other Interagency Pass) is required to park at the trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Easy grade. Beautiful vistas.

Cons

Lots of bike traffic on some segments.

Trailhead Elevation

4,240.00 ft (1,292.35 m)

Highest point

4,450.00 ft (1,356.36 m)

Net Elevation Gain

210.00 ft (64.01 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Horseback riding
Family friendly

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Red Rock District, Coconino National Forest
Red Rock District, Coconino National Forest

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