There are a few exceptional vistas even in Sedona, Arizona, where stunning views are the norm. One of such special places is Devil’s Bridge. Devil’s Bridge, surrounded by the beautiful red rocks that make this northern Arizona town renowned, provides hikers with a spectacular experience. There it is, after a little ascent: The natural granite bridge dominates the brilliant landscape, standing 54 feet tall and 45 feet long.
Devil’s Bridge is Sedona’s biggest sandstone arch, located in the Coconino National Forest on the northern edge of town along Highway 89A and Dry Creek Road. It stands out because of its bridge-like structure and the fact that you can walk out onto the top of the arch. The Devil’s Bridge Trail is just around 1.8 miles roundtrip, but due of the poor roads and few parking alternatives, you’ll definitely wind yourself walking a longer distance. The trek will take between 2 and 3 hours to complete round-trip and will be between 4 and 5.8 miles long.
Most fit hikers should be able to complete the trip to the bridge, which is classed as easy-to-moderate. However, there are a few factors that might cause problems. Before you go on the trek, here are nine things you should know.
Is Devil’s Bridge safe enough to visit?
Many hikers have discovered this when they come across the Devil’s Bridge Trail’s tiny arches. With a little common sense, the natural “bridge” is safe enough, but it may be unnerving for individuals who are afraid of heights. Surprisingly, it’s a reasonably short and simple trek with an unforgettable ending. You’ll be rewarded with a spectacular vista of the red rocks—and bragging rights—once you’ve crossed the bridge.
Only two people have died as a result of falls on this trip, and only one of them (surprisingly?) included a fall from the actual bridge. Both incidences happened in the year 2014. This case involved a 53-year-old lady who fell over 70 feet in April of that year.
Has anybody since fallen from Devil’s Bridge? Carol Hyde, 53, was hiking at Devil’s Bridge, a famous climbing site in the Sedona region noted for its vistas, on April 2 when she lost her footing and fell 75 feet, according to Dwight Evelyn of the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. “The part where you climb around the bridge itself is the riskiest.”
How long does it take to climb to Devil’s Bridge in Sedona? It will be 2.1 kilometers. Second, how perilous is Devil’s Bridge Trail? Devil’s Bridge is not perilous for people who maintain a steady pace and are aware of the heights and drop-offs associated with the hike’s highest reaches. It is possible to trek to the arch without ascending the most dangerous sections of the route. This is not a National Park path, but rather a National Forest trail.
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Useful tips to keep in mind when you explore the Devil’s Bridge
When you are looking forward to exploring the Devil’s Bridge while ensuring safety, there are some important tips that you will need to keep in mind. Here are some of the most useful tips out of them.
1. Don’t Expect to Be Alone
Visitors looking for a thrill appear to flock to Devil’s Bridge regardless of the season. I’ve made the trip many times over the years, including in the thick of summer in July, after a coating of snow in January, and most recently, in the pleasant autumn weather of early November. The throngs had swelled tremendously with each visit.
Although there are a few spots in Sedona where you may have the red rocks almost entirely to yourself, Devil’s Bridge isn’t one of them. For years, the location has been a popular Instagram destination, and people naturally flock there. As a result, expect to see groups of friends, couples carrying newborns, and individuals hiking with their pets on the path. However, the crowds do not distract from the beauty, so I recommend going with the flow and taking in the sights.
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2. Plan Ahead to Find Parking
You may attempt to avoid some of the traffic by doing a few things. Arriving early in the morning or late in the afternoon is one option. From approximately 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., the crowds are at their peak. It may also be beneficial to schedule your vacation around the middle of the week. But keep in mind that, although weekends are the busiest, other days might be just as packed. I arrived on a Friday morning in early November to find automobiles already crowding the entry road and no parking places available.
The Dry Creek Vista Trailhead’s main parking area is pretty big, although it fills up quickly. People park along Dry Creek Road and walk to the trailhead when this occurs. Although parking on the road would increase your total distance, it is a possibility if you are determined to hike Devil’s Bridge. Note that although there are pit toilets at the Dry Creek Vista Trailhead, there are none at Devil’s Bridge.
3. Do Not Drive onto the 4X4 Dry Creek Road
There is a dirt road approximately 0.8 miles from the bridge that leads to the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead. However, it is a very rocky road, and a sign at the entrance cautions that passenger cars should not use it. Despite the fact that many robust 4X4 Jeeps and all-terrain vehicles go over the unpaved stretch of Dry Creek Road, even they seem to struggle with the steep drop-offs and rocky slopes.
As a result, guests should not anticipate being able to drive to the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead in their rental vehicles or SUVs. To get to the main Devil’s Bridge Trailhead, either at the paved Dry Creek Vista Trailhead parking lot or the Long Canyon Road lot and walk the surrounding recreational trails.
4. There Are Several Scenic Routes Available
Even though you’ll probably have to travel a little to get to the main trailhead, part of the enjoyment of the Devil’s Bridge trek is the walk. The Mescal to Chuckwagon to Devil’s Bridge paths (4 miles round-trip) from Long Canyon Road, or the Chuckwagon Trail to the Devil’s Bridge Trail from Dry Creek Road, are two suggested ways to travel to the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead, according to the Coconino National Forest (5.8 miles round trip).
The Chuckwagon and Mescal Trails wind their way through stunning red rock scenery, with lots of signage pointing the way to Devil’s Bridge. Also, despite the fact that the unpaved section of Dry Creek Road is a popular Jeep path and not encouraged for pedestrian use, most hikers appeared to be utilizing it to get to the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead while I was there.
5. Stairs Will Be Involved
The Devil’s Bridge Trail is mostly a steady ascent over a broad, well-maintained path with a few rocky ledges. However, as you get roughly three-quarters of the way to the peak, the terrain becomes steeper. Two steep and uneven sets of granite steps must be climbed on the final ascent to the bridge. The stairwell may be scary, and I’ve seen folks back out at this point. The stairs, on the other hand, are short and easy for most hikers.
I’ve discovered that taking your time and focusing on the step directly in front of you makes it easier to walk the stairwell. Also, particularly on the way down, don’t be afraid to use your hands to hold yourself on the rocks surrounding you. One advantage of the steps is that once you reach the top of the second level, you are on the bridge.
6. Be Prepared to Stand In Line For A Photograph
It’s doubtful that you’ll be allowed to walk straight onto the bridge once you reach the top. Devil’s Bridge is noted for having long lineups, often including dozens of people, due to the popularity of taking pictures while standing on top of the arch.
However, if a photo of you peering into the red rocks from the top of Sedona’s most famous arch is on your bucket list, the wait will be well worth it. While you’re waiting in line, strike up a conversation with the person next to you, and you’ll almost certainly be able to locate someone to photograph you and your group.
7. It Isn’t Necessary to Cross the Bridge To Appreciate It
Even while the bridge seems tiny and flimsy in images, once you’re out there, it appears to be a little broader and sturdier. Even if you don’t feel comfortable climbing onto the bridge or taking a selfie, Devil’s Bridge is a stunning site to see from afar. On both sides of the bridge, there is observation space, as well as a path that leads to an area below the bridge.
8. There’s a Chance You’ll See A Proposal
While standing in line for a picture on Devil’s Bridge, you never know what you’ll see. People have been known to perform all kinds of things for the camera when it’s their time. A young lady in a long, frilly white dress was performing a photoshoot on the bridge when I went in November, dancing with her arms in the air, posing with her back to the camera, and resting on the rocks.
Proposals for marriage have also been reported to occur. On my most recent visit, I heard a raucous shout from the audience above me as I began back down the route. Later, I learnt that a marriage proposal had occurred on the bridge.
9. It can also be dangerous
Even though Devil’s Bridge is a very short trip, it is not one to be taken lightly. Remember that you’re in the desert and make your plans appropriately. In the summer, Sedona’s average high temperatures routinely approach the 90s, with July temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. Hikers should always have lots of water and salty snacks with them, as well as a hat to protect themselves from the scorching Arizona heat.
People have been critically hurt and even killed on the path, despite the fact that it doesn’t happen very frequently. In 2014, two people were reported to have died after falling, and rescues of disoriented or thirsty hikers are common in the Sedona region. Remember to take caution while mounting the steps or strolling over the bridge and heed the advice of experts not to stray from the pathways.
More helpful hints to remember
The ascent up the Sedona slickrock will be simpler if you use hiking shoes or trail runners with high grip. The Visit Sedona website offers recommendations for hiking responsibly in the Sedona region. April and May, when average high temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and October, when the average high is 80 degrees, are the finest months to visit Sedona. While winter might be enjoyable, with temperatures in the 60s and fewer people, it’s best to avoid the Devil’s Bridge Trail after a (very occasional) winter storm, when the surface can turn treacherous with packed snow.
Is Devil’s Bridge suitable for children?
It’s suitable for children. Easy for kids, although if you park at the parking lot, it’s a lengthy walk to the trailhead. If you have a four-wheel-drive car, I recommend parking at the trailhead.
What is the significance of the name Devil’s Bridge?
The term Mynach means “monk” in Welsh, and one belief is that the river earned its name because it was near a monastery. In historical documents, the construction is initially referred to as Devil’s Bridge in English in 1734.
As you can see in this article, Devil’s Bridge is not so dangerous as it sounds. Therefore, you will be able to think about planning your visit to the Devil’s Bridge without having a second thought in mind. You will fall in love with all the great opportunities that are offered on your way with Devil’s Bridge.