Devils Bridge Trail, Sedona, Arizona
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Recommended supplies and information:
- Bring at least 33 ounces (1 liters) of water
- High Clearance 4X4 Vehicle Accessing Trailhead #2
Approximate Trekking information:
Trailhead #1 on Long Canyon Road
Distance One Way from Trailhead #1: 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Total Hiking Time Trailhead #1: 2.5 hours
Trailhead #1 Elevation at base 4,501 ft to 5,000 ft at bridge summit: 499 ft ascension climb
Trailhead #1 Elevation at base Metrics: 1372 meters to 1505 meters at bridge summit: 133 meters ascension climb
Trailhead #2 on Vultee Arch Road
Distance One Way Trailhead #2: 1.2 miles (1.9 km)
Total Hiking Time Trailhead #2: 1 hour
Trailhead #2 Elevation at base 4,620 ft to 5,000 ft at bridge summit: 380 ft ascension climb
Trailhead #2 Elevation at base Metrics: 1408 meters to 1505 meters at bridge summit: 97 meters ascension climb
Temperature for November 27, 2014: 79.2F to 85.7F / 26.2C to 29.8C
Well Travelled Tourist Attraction
Devil’s Bridge Trail is a great trek to view a beautiful natural and very high bridge formation. Devil’s Bridge Trail is also a family friendly location and a very popular spot for tourists. I would not recommend very young children to hike the final portion of this trail since it becomes extremely steep and arduous. Several people have been injured on the ascent, but the final summit view is spectacular and well worth the effort. Expect many people to be hiking this trail all hours of the day.
A beautiful late November morning greeted me as I attempted to drive my 2X4 Toyota Tundra Truck along the recommended 4X4 Wheel Drive Vultee Arch Road. Since I had a truck, I figured my vehicle was at high enough clearance from the sharp protruding rocks and boulders. But after bottoming-out twice within 5 minutes, I decided to turn around and park back at Trailhead #1 down on Long Canyon Road. I am actually happy I made this decision because the trail is quite beautiful and well maintained.
Watch out for Mountain Bikers
The gradually ascending path from the trailhead twists and turns allowing for many opportunities for open views of the red rock scenery. Some areas of the trail were very wooded and shaded with wonderful rays of sun shining through the trees while other portions spread widely out exhibiting desert-like botanical gardens. I was very impressed by the variety of desert plants and trees along this somewhat short trek.
Since this trail is a popular destination for hikers to view the summit of Devil’s Bridge, mountain bikers also utilize portions of this trail to zip across onto Chuckwagon Trail. I happened across several mountain bikers traveling at high speeds, but they called out in advance alerting me of their approach.
One item of concern along Devil’s Bridge / Chuckwagon / Brin’s / Mescal trail is the confusion of staying on the correct path. Although direction signs are posted at various spots along the way, a few hikers got side tracked and were asking for directions. Cairns mark the trail intersections, but be sure to take close notice of the terrain as to which trail is used more for biking than hiking. Also, some hikers expected Devil’s Bridge Trail to be 1.2 miles long, but starting from Long Canyon Road, they added an additional 2 miles onto the trek one way.
Reaching Trailhead #2
After trekking for about 2 miles (3.2 km) I finally crossed Vultee Arch Road (FR 152) meeting up at Trailhead #2. About 3 jeeps and a few 4X4 Suv’s were already in the parking lot. The area of the parking lot was congested with several eager people excited to ascend to the natural bridge. Others were already descending the short but steep trail.
Another option for reaching Trailhead #2 is leaving your low clearance passenger vehicle in the parking lot at the beginning of Vultee Arch Road. There is a restroom facility available as well as the usual map board and information. Keep in mind; if you’re heading to Devil’s Bridge from this location, you will be walking about a mile (1.6 km) along a dirt road with jeeps and ATV’s billowing up red dust.
The Ascent to Devil’s Bridge
Starting out from Trailhead #2 was quite festive to say the least. Several people including organized groups and family members were chatting along the way with great enthusiasm while enjoying their uphill climb.
The further into the trail however, the quieter it became since extreme vertical steepness hushed the exhausted tourists. The final portion of this actual trail is equivalent to climbing about 50 flights of stairs. In fact, much of the latter part of the trail was flat red rocks very similar to that of a winding staircase.
View from the Top
Once reaching the top of Devil’s Bridge, the northern most view was spectacular with distant mountains to the west and massive red rock cliffs to the east. At about 5,000 ft (1505 meters) in elevation, the scenery was impressive, but I was mesmerized by the absolutely beauty of the natural bridge formation across from me.
Several people made their way onto the bridge for a well-deserved and scenic photo opportunity. Walking onto the center of the rock bridge narrows to about 10 feet wide, plenty of room and space for anyone with fear of heights.
There are side trails from the top that scramble down to the natural bridge’s base. This would be a great spot for an upward perspective view or photograph.
Whether trekking from Trailhead 1 or 2, expect to encounter several hiking and biking enthusiasts along the way. Devil’s Bridge Trail has much to offer, although short, this trail has a variety of wonderful scenic treasures and an awe-inspiring pinnacle at the end.
View all images of the trail:
View GPS Map and photo locations:
From Sedona on Route 89A, go west on Dry Creek Road. Take a right onto Long Canyon Road. Trailhead is 200 meters on the right.
Map to Devil’s Bridge Trail, Sedona, Arizona