Cathedral Rock Trail # 170 & Templeton to Baldwin Loop

Updated: Jan 20, 2021


Cathedral Rock Trail # 170

•Length: 1.2mile

•Trail Type: Lollypop loop

•Elevation Gain/Loss: 652 ft.

•Difficulty: Moderate/ Difficult

•Kid Friendly: Yes 6+

•Dog-Friendly: Yes, if part mountain goat and on leash.

•Shade: Limited

•Fee/Permit:$5.00Fee/Permit: $5.00 or -Annual red rock pass $15 for a week, or $20 yearly. Grand Annual Red Rock Pass $40 yearly. American the Beautiful $80 yearly Every Kid Out Doors (free for fourth graders)

•GPS: 34°49'30.7"N 111°47'18.3"W


Templeton to Baldwin Loop

• Length: 4.4 miles

• Difficulty: Moderate

• Shade: Mixed

• Elevation Gain/Loss 200 ft. • Family Friendly: Yes, all ages

• Dog Friendly: Yes

• Trail Type: Lollypop loop

• GPS: 34°49'30.7"N 111°47'18.3"W


There are many different trails that allow access to view Cathedral Rock from a picturesque distance, but it is an entirely different experience to hike up it. With its magnificent multi-hued striations of rock and mineral Cathedral Rock trail #170 treats visitors with awe-inspiring views of Sedona.

The trail begins at the trail head off of Back O’ Beyond Road. The path cross the junction between Cathedral Rock Trail and Easy Breezy Trail, and through small dry wash before starting the ascent up the sandstone butte. Following the basket cairns as they mark the path, the initial climb is uncomplicated with a occasional rocks staircases. Arriving at just the 1st plateau is the Cathedral Rock Trail and Templeton Trail junction We enjoyed lingering there as the sweeping view of Sedona is picturesque. 

From the second plateau the path continues over a fairly rocky section with more rock staircases. At this point we arrived at the base of a crevasse. The crack rises approximately 48 degree angle for 50 ft. Adequate hand and footholds make the climb manageable... However, those that are afraid of heights, this section could be a deal breaker. This area bottle necks, so I suggest if you want to work on conquering your fear of heights come early, so you wont feel pressured to do it in a hurry. I have a healthy respect for heights, and I managed to get up and down without much vertigo.

The ascent is still challenging after we have conquered the crevasse. Though the incline considerably less steep, the elevation gain is rather significant. Reaching the second plateau is where many people rested and take photos of the awe-inspiring views. At this point we can see how close the summit is, and the hardest part of the hike is behind us. After a few rocky staircase, and a couple more switchbacks we reached the official end of trail. Pitted between two towering canyon walls on either side a sign “End of Trail” greets us.

At the top, there is a fairly narrow walking ledge that opens up to the Cathedral Rock saddle point. The left side of the saddle point goes up a mini trail that requires hand over foot scrambling to reach another awesome viewpoint. It’s smaller and somewhat less panoramic, but it is less crowded, and offers some neat locations for photos ops.

After enjoying the beautiful sweeping views we headed back down the to first platue to hike Templeton to Baldwin Loop. Templeton trail drops down into Oak Creek canyon where it reaches the creek. The unique riparian ecosystem is a favorite hiking destination in Sedona for many reason and its beauty is amplified by the fall foliage.


We crossed Oak Creek to capture the iconic Red Rock Crossing. Young familes wanting photos of this iconic location should access this point from Crescent Moon Picnic Site. We had a extremely dry summer and the creek was low, but crossing the creek was a very challenging. The water in the creek is very cold and my children did not enjoy crossing the creek.

Sedona has many of deep red rock formations, but few spark inspiration like Cathedral Rock. Cathedral Rock Trail #170 is a photographers dream and belongs on the bucket list.


Special Considerations!

Exercise extreme caution on your way down! The hike is an out and back, so when you climb down the crevasse, there will be others trying to climb up. We witness someone being taken down with the big wheel on our first trip to Cathedral Rock

Parking is limited, and the police will tow faster than Satan on a pogo stick when your parked in an illegal area. If you are visiting during peak season plan on arriving early. Additional overflow parking is available at the Yavapai Point Parking Lot, which is located on Highway 179. Yavapai Point will add 4 miles one way to your hike via the Templeton Trail. This is an excellent option if you want to lengthen your hike.

When you do come, remember your are in a delicate riparian ecosystem. Leave this beautiful place better than you found it. Treat this natural treasure with the care it deserves! There will plenty of reasons to come back and see it again.

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