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Templeton trail and Cathedral Rock (Sedona)

Oak Creek
map: Templeton trail and Cathedral Rock
Elevation plot: Templeton trail and Cathedral Rock
Oak Creek
Hiking the Templeton trail
Views from Cathedral Rock
Sedona views
Fall colors along the Templeton trail
Sedona views
Fall colors along the Templeton trail


How to Get There
This hike is located near Sedona, AZ.

From the Phoenix area, take I-17 North to HWY-179. Take HWY 179 through the Village of Oak Creek towards Sedona. Just after you enter Sedona, you'll make a left on the traffic circle for on the Back O' Beyond Road. Take this paved road for 0.6 miles to the trailhead and the signed parking on the left for the Cathedral Rock trailhead. There are restrooms here, but no water. You need a red rocks parking pass to park at this trailhead ($5 as of October 2018).

Hike details

3.70 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
3.7 miles for the lollypop loop along the Templeton and Baldwin trails. It's another 0.6 miles of total hiking if you want to take the side hike to Cathedral Rock.
2.00 [Hours]
It took us just over two hours to complete this hike.
Elevation Change
200 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Details
About 200 ft of up and down. If you want to take the side hike up Cathedral Rock, it's about 600 ft of climbing and scrambling.
Hike Trail Type
Lollypop Loop
Special Features


Best Season
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • September
  • October
  • November
Season Details
most enjoyable in spring/fall. Good hike to see fall colors.
Date Hike completed
October 10, 2018


Solitude Details
This is a popular trailhead. Expect to see 30-50 people on a typical weekend.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
This was a pretty easy hike. If you take the side trip up to Cathedral Rock, it raises the challenge to difficult (due to scrambling needed).


Permit Info
Red Rocks parking pass (as of October 2018, $5 per vehicle)
Be Aware of
Pay to park, route finding, some mountain bikes.

Hiking along the Templeton trail along Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona, Arizona.

Sedona has instituted a "Red Rock Pass", which is a fancy way of saying you need to pay to play. As of October, 2018, the fee is $5 per day per vehicle. There are plenty of places in and around Sedona to pay this fee and get the hanger, which you need to hang on your rear view mirror to keep from being towed. This trailhead requires a Red Rocks Pass and you can purchase them at this trailhead.

The hike starts from the well signed trailhead for Cathedral Rock. Cathedral Rock is the red rock formation straight ahead of you and worth doing. For this hike, walk about 0.4 miles to the confusing signed junction (JCT_1R) with the Templeton trail and head right. This section of trail drops down into Oak Creek canyon and soon you'll reach Oak Creek. This perennial creek is a favorite hiking destination in Sedona for good reason. If you're lucky enough to do this hike in the fall, you'll be greeted by some wonderful colors worn by the walnut, cottonwood, and sycamore trees here.

From the previous trail junction, it is about 0.8 miles of walking to the signed junction with the Baldwin trail (JCT_2L). This will be your return path. Turn left here to start hiking on the Baldwin trail. You'll climb out of Oak Creek canyon and hike 0.4 miles to the signed trail junction with the Hiline trail (JCT_3). The Hiline trail is primarily used by mountain bikers, but we were curious, so we turned left and hiked about 0.6 miles up the trail just to check it out. It's fun hiking on slick rock with some good views if you want to take the side trip. Otherwise, stay right at the junction. You'll hike 0.5 miles to get to the next signed trail junction (JCT_4R). Turn right here to stay on the Baldwin trail. After hiking 0.4 miles, you'll see the Baldwin trailhead on your left. This is an alternate trailhead access to this area. Continue walking 0.3 miles to the signed junction with the Templeton trail (JCT_5R). Turn right here and follow the Templeton trail back to the Cathedral Rock trail (about a mile). If you still have some energy, you can take the 0.3 mile trail up to the Cathedral Rock viewpoint. It take some scrambling skills on slickrock, but the views are worth it!


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