Magnificent views await you on Aerie Trail from Fay Canyon to Doe Mountain in Sedona

With so many hikes in the Sedona area, it can be hard to choose which one(s) to go with. On a whim, my wife and I picked up Aerie Trail just south of the Fay Canyon Trailhead parking area and hiked it up to the Doe Mountain Trail junction, where we turned around. Along the way, we enjoyed the beautiful high desert landscape and views of towering red rock mountains the area is known for.

Doe Mountain from Aerie Trail

Quick take

Aerie Trail starts out on a flat section of high desert then takes you up several gentle switchbacks and traverses west around the northern side of Doe Mountain.

  • Start at Fay Canyon parking area
  • Head south on Cockscomb Trail about a half mile to Aerial Trail
  • At 1.4 miles into the hike, you’ll intersect Doe Mountain Trail
Aerie & Cockscomb Trail signs
Aerie & Cockscomb Trail signs
Mescal Mountain viewed from Aerie Trail
Mescal Mountain viewed from Aerie Trail

Hike summary:

  • Length: 1.4 miles one way, 2.8 miles round-trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Highlights: Doe Mountain, Bearn Mountain, Fay Canyon
  • Precautions: Rugged shoes and 1 liter water recommended
  • Trailhead: Fay Canyon
  • Pass/permit required: Red Rocks Pass

Note: 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers

Video: What you’ll experience on this hike

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Aerie Trail is a lengthy trail that winds through the desert landscape in the Boynton and Fay Canyons area northwest of Sedona. The 1.4-mile section that runs from the Fay Canyon parking area to Doe Mountain trail starts out pretty easy, then gets more difficult as you make your way up switchbacks. About a third of the way up Doe Mountain, the trail traverses around the north side of the mountain and meets up with Doe Mountain Trail, which goes to the top of the mountain.

Map to trailhead

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