Posted by: Lori Reinhold
Sedona’s mild winter temperatures, diverse terrain, and beautiful landscapes make it a great place to go for a run. Sedona is truly a trail runner’s paradise. Whether you want a challenging uphill climb or a meandering jaunt along a canyon stream, the perfect run is waiting for you here in Sedona. The lower winter crowds mean you can explore many of Sedona’s most famous trails without having to zig-zag around too many hikers, cyclers, or fellow runners. Maybe you’ll even absorb some of that powerful “energy” from Sedona’s world-famous vortexes along the way. Here is our exclusive Runner’s Guide to Sedona.
Bell Rock is one of Sedona’s biggest and most iconic red rock formations. Bell Rock Pathway offers pleasant, non-technical route with magnificent views of this stunning geological feature. Bell Rock can get busy, so if you want to beat the crowds, try Baby Bell Rock instead. It is a casual climb to a flat rock top, where you can soak in equally incredible views without having to squeeze for your spot. Located nearby is Courthouse Butte. You can run the entire Courthouse Butte Loop (about 5.5 miles) or simply break it up into the length that is right for you. There is minimal elevation on the route, so it is perfect for those who don’t like too many hills. Courthouse Vista Trail is another shorter run that offers increasingly fabulous views in under two miles.
Don’t let the name fool you. Though challenging, this route will leave you feeling incredible and refreshed. A hilly, fairly technical trail, Hangover Loop offers some of the best views in all of Sedona. Many runners report feeling like they just took a jog through a classic Hollywood Western. You can combine this trail with the Cow Pies Trail and Munds Wagon Trail for an awesome 8-mile challenge. Most runners chose to start their route at the Cow Pies Trailhead off Schnebly Hill Road.
The Cathedral Rock Loop is a challenging but rewarding route perfect for runners who want their breath taken away, both literally and figuratively. We recommend starting on the Slim Shady Trail west of Highway 179, which offers fabulous views of Courthouse Butte and the city of Sedona. From there, turn onto the Hiline Trail, which climbs along the cliff edge until it reaches a plateau with a panoramic vista of Cathedral Rock. This is a popular cycling route, so be on the look out for bikers. From this loop, you can make your run longer by branching out onto other trails. Beware some slick rock terrain along the way.
If you prefer paved trails, Posse Grounds Park is a great choice for you. Located just two miles from downtown Sedona, this is a great spot for runners looking for paved, off-road trails near the city center. A variety of trails loop around the park, including the Carruth Trail and Sunrise Trail, but you can combine multiple trails for a run of about two miles. Just because you are near the city doesn’t mean you won’t get incredible views. Like everywhere in Sedona, Posse Grounds Park offers lovely scenery and wonderful red rock views.
The Verde Valley School Road offers slightly different scenery from elsewhere in Sedona. Located just east of Red Rock State Park, this lovely shaded route wanders through Oak Creek Canyon and past many gorgeous residential ranch properties. It features a long stretch of pavement, making it a smooth and pleasant run. You’ll start where the Verde Valley School Road meets Highway 179 from the village of Oak Creek.
Every winter, experienced athletes flock to Sedona for the Sedona Marathon. This year, it will be held on February 2nd. Whether you’ve been competing in marathons for years or have never done one before, the Sedona Marathon is the perfect chance to try your hand at the ultimate endurance feat in one of the most gorgeous places on the planet. There will also be half marathons, 10Ks, and 5Ks for those not quite ready to complete the full race. The Alma de Sedona Inn is the perfect place to relax and recharge during the marathon.
Planning a winter getaway to Sedona? Book a stay at the Alma de Sedona Inn for warm service and unbeatable red rock views.