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After exploring outdoors so much in our RV this year, we’ve found a lot of incredible hiking. But Sedona was unique and really special – between the red rock, beautiful winter weather, and abundance of trails, it felt pretty magical. One such very popular hike is the Devil’s Bridge Trail.
The Sedona Devil’s Bridge hike is very popular. The iconic 150 foot tall natural bridge is breathtaking and awe-inspiring, and is the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area. We weren’t sure if the Devil’s Bridge with kids was advisable, so we figured we’d give it a shot and turn around if needed.
It turns out, it was a wonderful experience, so I wanted to share about hiking to Devil’s Bridge Sedona with kids!
This post on hiking the Devil’s Bridge Trail with kids contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own. That means I earn a small commission if you purchase through my link, but doesn’t change your price.
Devil’s Bridge Trail with Kids Facts
Trail Distance: 4.2 miles (2 miles if you have a 4×4 vehicle or get dropped off at the parking area by a tour Jeep)
Elevation Gain: 564 feet (almost all of this is in the last 1/2 mile)
Time: About 2 hours of hiking time, plus however long you spend at the arch (budget 30-60 minutes if you’d like to take a photo, depending on crowd size)
About the Devil’s Bridge Trail in Sedona
The parking lot for Devil’s Bridge is a good size, but fills up so be sure to get there early. You’ll need to pay $5 for the Red Rock Pass and display it in your windshield. If you can’t park in the lot, there are lots of spots along the road, where we even found room for our RV.
Because the Devil’s Bridge Trail is so popular, you should definitely be prepared to see quite a few other people, even in off season. That said, the first half of the hike there is on a very wide sandy path (about 12 feet across), so it’s easy to stay away from others if you prefer (and based on local health guidelines).
The next part of the hike is on a path that’s still decently wide (6-8 feet across). It’s only when you approach the last 1/4-1/2 miles or so getting up to the bridge that the path becomes quite narrow with a few minor switchbacks. There are two sets of short rock staircases that are well maintained and should be doable for most people. The second set requires some very minor scrambling but was no issue for our kids, for me while wearing the baby, or for Dan while carrying the 3 year old (who couldn’t reach all the spots).
When To Hike Devil’s Bridge Trail
Since we hiked the trail in January, the weather was perfect to hike midday. There are occasional winter storms in Sedona, but we lucked out with weather in the 60s.
During the late spring and summer, it can get very hot, and the hike is very exposed. If you’re there this time of year, I recommend going early or late in the day.
This is also a popular hike, so if you’d like to avoid crowds, get an early start. That said, the path is wide up until the last 1/2 mile or so. We also found hikers to be kind and patient at the top in terms of taking turns for photos.
What to Pack When Hiking Devil’s Bridge Trail with Kids
Here are my favorite items for a warm and exposed hike with kids:
The whole trail from the parking area is about 4.2 miles. If you have a high clearance vehicle, or if you go on a Jeep tour, you can park at a small lot that will cut your hiking distance in half.
It took us about 2 hours to hike the full trail from the Dry Creek Vista trailhead, plus almost an hour of stopping time to wait in line and take our photos at the arch, plus stop for a snack. (You can also go from the Mescal Trailhead, which has less parking but is slightly shorter and more scenic.) We didn’t feel comfortable stopping to eat our lunch near lots of people and steep dropoffs while waiting, so we waited until just after. There’s a nice wide area at the bottom of the first set of steps that’s perfect to sit and eat.
The trail has quite a bit of sand on the mile closest to the parking lot, which can make it feel longer and more difficult than it is. It’s also unshaded for almost the entire hike, so be sure to pack plenty of water and wear sturdy shoes. We LOVE these kids hiking backpacks for kids because then they can carry their own water and snacks. And since there’s a water bladder, we don’t have to keep stopping for them to drink, and they actually end up drinking more.
Can You Walk Across the Devil’s Bridge Arch with Kids?
One of my biggest questions before doing the Devil’s Bridge Trail was whether we would be able to walk safely out onto the arch, and if we’d feel comfortable doing it with young kids.
Turns out, even a nervous Nellie like me was mostly fine with it! It’s definitely not without risk – the arch is 150 feet off the ground, and there are no railings. But I felt that it looked more scary than it actually was, which is what we were told and why we decided to go for it.
Once we walked out to the middle of the arch, the whole thing was about 6 feet wide at least. So while there was definitely a crazy drop, we didn’t feel super precarious. We just walked VERY carefully out, took our picture, and walked VERY carefully back. I definitely breathed a sigh of relief when we were back on solid ground. 😉
That said, it’s very worth seeing even if you don’t feel comfortable walking onto the arch. So I highly recommend doing the hike even if you are nervous about heights!
Precautions for Walking Across Devil’s Bridge Trail Arch with Kids
To try to keep everyone as safe as possible, I wore the baby, Dan carried the 3 year old, and I held the 6 year old’s hand. We let our 8 and 10 year olds walk on their own.
We gave everyone a stern talking to before walking out – absolutely no goofing around, no running, no sudden movements whatsoever. They’re very experienced hikers and climbers, so we felt comfortable with it for our family, but, of course, consider your own abilities and comfort.
How to Get A Great Photo of Devil’s Bridge in Sedona
We were extremely impressed with how orderly the whole photo process was. When we arrived at around 12:30pm, there was about a 40-45 minute wait for our turn to take a photo. While waiting, everyone waited in a line with each group spaced far apart. At the front of the line, each group asked the group behind them to take a photo.
Since we had our tripod with us, we set that up there for our photo. That was nice because we were assured of getting the exact angle we wanted. The downside is that we could ONLY get that angle – no zooming, no vertical shot. We were fine with that since it allowed us to get a shot with our big camera without passing it off to a stranger, but it’s something to consider.
The photo will get the most dramatic angle if you place either the tripod or the photo taker at the bottom right corner if you’re looking at the bridge.
Where We Ate in Sedona
We picked up takeout from a few restaurants while in Sedona. The first was Elote Cafe, which is extremely popular. Right now, they require you to call in advance for pickup that day and have a limited number of slots. We were lucky to get the very last one at 8:30pm. You can call as early as 3pm, though, so do that if you’re interested in trying it out.
It was definitely delicious with a number of vegetarian options. We loved the elote and verde vegetables.
We also picked up tamales from Tamaliza, which were delicious! A perfect quick stop.
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