Sedona is listed as one of USA Weekend’s “Most Beautiful Places in America.” Nearly three million people visit Sedona each year for its vibrant red rocks and spectacular landscape. These soaring red rocks and dramatic formations carved out over centuries by mother nature are inspiring and happen to be incredibly photogenic, making Sedona an incredibly popular destination for both photographers and adventurers.
Below you’ll find the best places that I found in Sedona to take photos! Whether you are a professional instagrammer or just love to take your vacation photos to the next level, this guide includes everything you need to know about each of these Sedona photography locations. My biggest advice is to go to these places during golden hour; Sedona is particularly charming at sunrise or sunset when the sun makes the red rocks glow a bright orange.
Getting to the Subway is one of the biggest kept secrets in Sedona. This hike requires a Red Rocks Pass, which can be purchased online or at the trailhead for $5 per day or $15 per week. The trail starts directly across from the toilettes and parking pass vending machine.
Getting to the subway cave isn’t that difficult – it’s a trip off a well maintained trail, Boynton Canyon. You just need to know where to step off the main trail. From there it’s pretty easy just to follow the path of the others that have come before you.
The spur for the trail to the subway cave is two miles from the trailhead. Look for the “alligator tree”: this is called the “alligator tree” because the bark looks like the skin of an alligator. There are several other trees that have the same bark, but this tree is much larger, has a long branch that stretches over the trail, and the trail curves to the left just past it.
The trail to the cave is pretty easy, mostly flat but the trickiest part is climbing into the cave. To get into the cave you will have to climb up the sandstone incline which almost resembles a sliding board (standing at approximately a 50 degrees angle). We can manage to climb into the cave through this slide, but not with our dogs. Instead we chose to wrap around on the ledge to get to the cave. Walking on such a narrow ledge (4ft wide) with a drop-off on one side while holding puppy Pepper was one of the most challenging things I did on this hike. But together we did it! Puppy Pepper (4 months old) and Chloe (13 years old) proudly announced that they have conquered the Subway!
The best time for photos here is during the day when the sun is out to brighten up the dark and narrow Subway area.
Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole
One of the easiest ways to get to the Devil’s Kitchen is through Soldiers Pass Trail. The most challenging part of Soldier’s Pass is actually the parking! The main trailhead has less than 15 parking spots in the gated lot. So plan to get here early, or later in the afternoon when hikers are leaving. Parking is NOT allowed directly outside the trailhead in the neighborhood. But there is overflow parking along Soldier’s Pass Rd, about 1/2 mi from the trailhead. Alternatively, you can start at the Jordan Road Trailhead and walk the extra mile on Cibola Pass Trail to reach Soldiers Pass Trail.
After only a quarter mile of walking, you will reach your first feature on the Soldiers Pass Trail – the Devil’s Kitchen (a large active sinkhole). Sinkholes are most commonly created when rainwater dissolves the limestone beneath the surface, and the caves collapse suddenly.
Although not the main highlight of the hike, the sinkhole was still quite impressive. It’s about 150 feet in length and 50 feet down to the bottom.
Seven Sacred Pools
After about ½ mile from the Devil’s Kitchen on the Soldier Pass Trail, you’ll come to the second trail highlight: the Seven Sacred Pools. This is known to be a sacred gathering place for the indigenous people.
The Seven Sacred Pools are an iconic photo-op in Sedona. The natural bowls in the rock fill with water forming seven consecutive pools lined up and pointing toward the scenic rock towers in the distance. On or after a particularly rainy day, these pools cascade into one another.
Soldier Pass Cave
The feature I was most interested in seeing on the Soldier Pass Trail hike was the top-secret Soldier Pass Cave! The cave takes a bit of an effort to get to, but totally worth it! You won’t find Soldier Pass Cave on the main trail and have to know where to turn off the main trail to find it.
Shortly after passing the Seven Sacred Pools be on the lookout for the turnoff for the cave. Plug in these coordinates, you will be led to the exact spot you need to turn off the trail.
After turning off, the beginning of the path will be easy to follow from foot traffic in the dirt path. At the cave entrance you’ll see a small pile of stacked rocks made by previous hikers. These act as ‘stairs’ to get inside the cave.
Once you’ve climbed up inside, you’ll see the entire cave – an impressive sight to behold. We hung out inside for a while watching the light move across the sky, creating different shadows and colors inside the cave.
Fay Canyon Trail
Fay Canyon Trail is an easy trail, 2.2 miles round trip with a 150 foot elevation.
Fay Canyon provides an easy introduction to Sedona hiking since the ravine is short and scenic and the path is straightforward – mostly level and partly shaded.
One of the main highlights of the trail is the Fay Canyon Arch, a natural arch that stands half way through the trail. From here, there are good views of the surrounding cliffs. Overall, this is a must do hike if you are in the area.
Devil’s Bridge Sedona is one of the most popular places to hike and photograph in the area, and no trip to Sedona would be complete without at least one visit to this magnificent place.
The hike to Devil’s Bridge is moderate in difficulty and can be relatively crowded during peak season. There are two ways to start Devil’s Bridge Trail from the main parking lot. Both lead you to the same place, but one is on a dusty 4×4 road, and the other is a longer trail through the desert.
If you don’t own a 4-wheel drive, you can book a guided tour with Pink Tourist Jeeps? This is a Sedona adventure tourism company that takes you on custom trail drives and trips around the red rock area!
This trail is rocky and requires a series of climbing and stair-stepping. You will climb 2 separate natural rock staircases where the trail continues to the bridge
Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village
Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village claims to be the “Art and Soul” of Sedona. Modeled after a Mexican village and with a name that translates to the ‘best of everything,’ Tlaquepaque truly feels like an old-world village, where you can find fine art, shops, and restaurants tucked between vine-covered walls, archways, and fountains
The cobblestone streets and mosaic fountains provide an inviting old-fashioned atmosphere and lots of shade. Tasteful galleries and unique shops live in harmony with its lush natural environment.
Tlaquepaque is filled with some of the best Southwest arts and craft shops around.
One of my go-to spots is the Chai Spot. A magical chai lounge where you will find the most unique and delicious Chai drinks you’ve ever had.
Also remember to stop by the Cream and Cake Couture shop for their Insta-famous cactus cupcakes.
Sedona Airport Mesa Loop Trail
There is no other hike in the Sedona area that offers such awe-inspiring views as the Sedona Airport Mesa Loop Trail. It offers hikers a 360-degree panoramic views of almost every major red-rock landmark along the perimeter at an elevation of 4,500 feet. Take airport road up the hill and there’s a parking lot and an excellent visa for taking photographs.
Or if you don’t want to the hike, just come here for the sunrise view of hot air balloons over Sedona. Very magical!
Hopefully you found this list of the top 8 Instagrammable spots in Sedona perfect for planning your next trip