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The Birthing Cave: Sedona, Arizona’s Most Unique Hike

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The Birthing Cave in Sedona is an incredibly unique hike, taking you up to an enormous cavern that overlooks the town’s famed red rock formations. So if you’re on the hunt for a fantastic trail in Sedona, here’s everything you need to know about the Birthing Cave trail, from where to park, when to go, and other tips for making the most of your visit!

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woman sitting in cave opening looking at desert
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Psssst… looking for other great trails to explore during your visit? Check out these other posts about hiking in the area:

About the Birthing Cave Trail

  • Length: 1.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 242 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Dog-friendly? Yes, so long as they’re on a leash.
  • Trail map

What is the Birthing Cave in Sedona?

The Birthing Cave is one of the most stunning Sedona caves, with a large diamond-shaped opening on the edge of a short cliff, overlooking a magnificent vista of the surrounding red rock mesas.

Woman standing in the Birthing Cave, overlooking the red rock formations in Sedona, Arizona

While I originally assumed the cave earned its name from its remarkable similarity to the female anatomy, I’ve also read that there are some theories floating around that pregnant Hopi women used to come to this cave to give birth. As such, the cave is considered by some to be one of Sedona’s “energy vortexes”, with strong feminine and sexual energy.

Whether or not it exudes any sort of energy, this very cool-looking cave is accessible via one of the best easy hikes in Sedona. And, yet, somehow, even given the recent explosion of tourism in this teeny town, the Birthing Cave Trail has remained a LOT less crowded than some of its more popular neighbors, making it feel that much more special.

Trail through the brush along the Birthing Cave hike in Sedona, Arizona

That being said, please treat this trail with the care and respect it deserves during your visit by following all of the Leave No Trace principles.

How to get to the Birthing Cave Trail

You’ll start the Birthing Cave Trail at the Long Canyon Trailhead.

There’s parking for a couple of cars at the actual trailhead and some parking spots along the western side of Long Canyon Road a bit north of the trailhead.

Curving road by a red rock formation in Sedona, Arizona

While my husband, Justin, and I struggled to find parking seemingly everywhere in Sedona, we easily found a spot here both afternoons we came during spring break, one of the town’s busiest periods for tourism.

That being said, spots are fairly limited, so if you’re visiting during Sedona’s busy season (March through June and September through October), you may want to arrive fairly early to ensure you snag a spot.

Unlike some of the trailheads in Sedona, you do not need a Red Rock Pass or an America the Beautiful Pass to park at the trailhead or along Long Canyon Road.

What to Expect Along the Birthing Cave Trail

From the trailhead, the Birthing Cave follows along the first section of the much longer and heavier-trafficked Long Canyon Trail.

There’s a TON of social trails branching off from Long Canyon and absolutely no signage for the Birthing Cave, so we’d strongly recommend having the map open on AllTrails so that you can follow along with GPS and not get lost. To be honest, Justin and I hiked this trail twice and somehow managed to get lost both timesI definitely wish I had downloaded the trail map ahead of time!

There's no cell service here, so I'd strongly recommend downloading an offline trail map on AllTrails before you hit the trail. You do need an AllTrails+ membership in order to download offline trail maps, but luckily, our awesome readers get a sweet 30% off discount to AllTrails+ — just use this link to save 30% on an annual membership!

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your AllTrails account to the paid version (I know it took me, like, five years to make the jump), we wrote a whole post about whether an AllTrails+ account is worth it.

You’ll follow Long Canyon, a wide and flat trail, for approximately 0.6 miles, until you come to a fork, either continuing straight or leading down a slightly overgrown-looking path to the left. You know we’re taking that road less traveled to the left!

Man hiking along the Birthing Cave hike, through green brush and trees in Sedona, Arizona
This is the first fork you’ll reach along the trail- keep an eye out for the pile of rocks and a log in the middle of the trail and take a leftie.

After another quarter mile or so, you’ll reach another fork, where you’ll see a small wooden fence with a path going to the right or a path to the left with some logs laying across it. Again, you’re going to go left.

Man hiking past a wooden fence along the Birthing Cave trail in Sedona, Arizona

The trail will start curving to the left, with a towering cliffside to your right and the path becoming increasingly steeper.

Once you’ve been hiking 0.9 miles total along the hike, you’ll reach yet another fork, which either continues straight or turns right, seemingly into the cliff itself. You’re going to take a right here.

Woman hiking up a hill to the Birthing Cave in a cliffside of red rock mesa in Sedona, Arizona

From this fork, you can actually see the cave- it sort of resembles a heart from the outside. You’ll climb up a steep and rocky trail for another 0.1 miles and you’ll reach the cave!

Once you’re inside the cave, have fun exploring around, trying to Spider Man up and down its walls and enjoying the epic views from the opening of the cave.

When you’ve had your fill, simply retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Woman standing in the opening of the Birthing Cave, looking out at the surrounding red rock mesas at sunset, in Sedona, Arizona

When to Visit the Birthing Cave

If you’re wondering when is a good time to visit Sedona generally, March through May provides warm pleasant temperatures, with spring wildflowers in bloom. I’ve visited Sedona in both April and May and thought the weather was absolutely perfect. September through October provides similarly moderate temperatures and clear blue skies.

Woman hiking along the Birthing Cave trail at sunset with red rock formations in the background in Sedona, Arizona

Sedona can be one of the best places to visit in Arizona in the winter, thanks to its cool, but pleasant weather.

The only season I’d recommend avoiding is summer, as the temperature can frequently get uncomfortably warm (90°+), particularly if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking. 

If you’re instead wondering what time of day you should visit the Birthing Cave- good news! It’s spectacularly photogenic both at sunrise and sunset. Because the opening of the cave faces east, sunrise here would be amazing- you’ll be overlooking mountains, glowing golden in the sunlight and the light within the cave will be soft and dreamy.

Woman sitting on the ledge of the Birthing Cave and overlooking the surrounding red rock mesas at sunset in Sedona, Arizona

On the other hand, both of the times I visited were during sunset and the view from the cave was absolutely spectacular- the setting sun created beautiful colors on the red rocks and we could watch the shadows of the mountains creep longer and longer over the forest floor. You may want to avoid the middle of the day, though, when the sun is directly overhead and the shadows are harsh. 

Photo tip- There’s a little indentation that you can climb up to along the middle of the cave’s walls that provides you the perfect vantage point to take photos of the cave’s ultra-wide opening. Bust out your best Spiderman impression and enjoy the view!
Man sitting in indentation in Birthing Cave in Sedona, Arizona

What to Bring to the Birthing Cave

Luckily, the trail is pretty short and easy, so you don’t need much!

Reusable water bottle

Even though the trail is short, Sedona can get pretty hot, even in the springtime and fall. Be sure to stay hydrated and be a friend to our planet by bringing along a big reusable water bottle.

Man hiking along the Birthing Cave trail in Sedona, Arizona, with formations in the background

Justin and I also keep a refillable jug of water in our car so that we can refill our individual bottles after hikes. After spending way too much money and creating way too much waste with disposable water bottles, these two purchases have been gamechangers. 

Hiking shoes

While most of the hike is pretty flat, I wouldn’t recommend wearing regular ol’ gym shoes (or heaven forbid, flip flops) while you’re visiting the Birthing Cave. Justin accidentally forgot to change out of his sneakers during one of our visits and found hiking on the steep, rocky path up to the cave and around the cave itself pretty challenging.

Woman standing in front of the Birthing Cave in a cliffside in Sedona, Arizona

For the best traction, be sure to use hiking boots (like the pair I use or the pair that Justin uses) or hiking sandals, like the beloved Tevas (women’s or men’s) or Chaco’s (women’s or men’s) .

Wide-angle lens

If you’re a photography enthusiast like Justin and me, you’ll want to capture the Birthing Cave in all its glory, which, might I add, is truly no small feat. The photos in this blog post were captured with a Sony a7III, coupled with a Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar lens (definitely a wide angle lens), and still, it was no match for the girth of the cave (these photos were stitched together from multiple pictures).

Opening to the Birthing Cave in Sedona, Arizona, with red rock formations in the background

Bottom line: if you want a photo capturing the entirety of the cave, the wider angle the lens, the better.

Other Hikes near the Birthing Cave in Sedona

If you’re looking for other hikes in Sedona to hit after Birthing Cave or perhaps you’re looking for a back-up plan because you can’t find parking, consider:

Devil’s Bridge

The parking lot for this Instagram-famous hike is a short 5-minute drive from the Birthing Cave trailhead. This 3.9 mile hike will take you to a 54-foot tall natural stone arch that you can walk across, overlooking Ponderosa pine forests and Sedona’s red rocks below.

Sugar Loaf Loop

This is an easy and quiet 1.9 mile trail, leading up to the 250-foot tall Sugar Loaf Butte. From here, you can see some of the most-beloved red rock formations in Sedona, with close-up views of Coffee Pot Rock and, in the distance, Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, and Castle Rock. The trailhead for Sugar Loaf Loop is about a 10-minute drive from the Birthing Cave trailhead.

Fay Canyon

This 2.6-mile trail is partially shaded (hard to come by in Sedona), has an optional off-shoot to another natural arch, and is only a six-minute drive from the Birthing Cave trailhead.

Where to Stay near the Birthing Cave

One of the best things about the Birthing Cave is its proximity to the cute and funky town of Sedona, about a 15 minute drive away!

If you’re planning on staying and exploring Sedona for a while (you totally should!), here’s some places to consider:

Safari Condo Alto trailer on Loy Butte Road in Sedona, Arizona, with red rock cliffs

Hotels near the Birthing Cave

Matterhorn Inn

Set on a hillside in Uptown Sedona, this budget-friendly option offers balconies overlooking red rock canyons and a pool and hot tub to boot.

Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa

Located in West Sedona, this boutique hotel provides upgraded features like rain showers and an observation deck with a heated pool. The swanky on-site spa, in combination with Sedona’s “bougie hippie” vibes, will have you booking a stone therapy treatment STAT.

The Inn Above Oak Creek

Nestled in a peaceful grove of trees and, yet, mere steps from shops and restaurants, this homey inn is the perfect place to relax for the night, with its in-room gas fireplaces and whirlpools.

Camping near the Birthing Cave

I hope you enjoy the Birthing Cave’s unique beauty during your time in Sedona. How was your experience at the cave? Are there any other Sedona caves that I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “The Birthing Cave: Sedona, Arizona’s Most Unique Hike”

    • Hi Lacey, Sedona can be pricey, but there’s definitely ways to enjoy it on the cheap. We camped for free on some of the dispersed camping land in Sedona for two weeks and made almost all of our meals at camp. For two weeks in Sedona for two people, we wound up spending under $100 dollars between park fees, going out to try a few breweries, and getting a dinner out. You can definitely still find ways to explore Sedona, even on a budget!


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