The Secret Birthing Cave in Sedona is one of the easiest hikes with the biggest reward. It’s a short hike (if you know where you are going) but has stunning views and a wide, mostly flat trail, making finding it fun and easy for all.
Sedona’s Birthing Cave is also a sacred area for the Native Hopi people who sent pregnant women there to have their babies. It is now considered a healing vortex site of concentrated energy. Whether you believe in the powers of vortexes or not, Sedona’s Birthing Cave is a beautiful landmark that should be well respected and preserved for future generations to come.
Hiking Best Practices
The Birthing Cave is one of Sedona’s “secret” caves for a reason. Many people discourage public information about the locations of these off-the-beaten-path spots for fear of over-tourism and spoiling their natural beauty. I completely agree, but I also believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience these unique places, and that is why I want to share all the details of how to find Sedona’s Birthing Cave with you. I only ask that all Leave No Trace Principles, including, proper disposal of waste, leave what you find, stay on the trail, be considerate to others, are used and respected during this hike, and anytime you are out in the wilderness. I hope you enjoy this trail as much as I did and understand why Leave No Trace Principles are so important to the environment so everyone can continue to enjoy and appreciate nature for years to come.
The Best Time to Hike in Sedona
Sedona, Arizona, is a beautiful area to visit and enjoy year-round. However, March to May is known for mild temperatures and blooming desert flowers, making it the best time for hiking. It gets hot in the summers with highs reaching the 90’s. In winter (December, January, and February), temperatures on an average stay between 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit which is pretty cold. With that said, I love visiting in the winter months because hiking is more enjoyable with fewer tourists, in cooler temps (with proper clothing), and accommodations are less expensive.
Parking can be a challenge, so arriving early before 9 am or after 4 pm is best if you visit during the high season (March-May & September-October). Summer and Winter are low seasons, and parking doesn’t fill up as fast but can still be challenging at popular trailheads, so plan to arrive early or late to have the best hiking experience.
Birthing Cave Hiking Details
- Distance: 2 miles round-trip
- Route Type: Out and Back
- Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
- Length of Time: 1 to 2 hours
- Elevation Gain: 290 ft
- Parking: Road parking near Long Canyon Trailhead
- Dogs: Dogs are allowed with leash
- Permit: No permit required
Where to Park for the Birthing Cave Hike
Sedona’s Birthing Cave hike starts from the Long Canyon Trailhead off of Long Canyon Road. There are only two parking spots directly in front of the trailhead, but there is additional parking along the road right next to the trailhead. There is not much parking, so get there early or late to get a parking spot. If you can’t find parking, consider coming back another day.
An alternate area for parking is off the road near the Mescal Trailhead, 0.5 miles south of the Long Canyon Trailhead, also on Long Canyon Road. Unfortunately, you will have to walk an additional mile (0.5 miles each way) to find Sedona’s Birthing Cave, but it’s worth it if there is no parking near Long Canyon Trailhead, and you can not come back another day.
Hiking to the Birthing Cave
The Birthing Cave in Sedona is an easy and short hike if you don’t get lost. My first attempt took me over 3 hours because I did not follow the directions I am about to give you. The cave’s path is a little steep, but this cave is more open and not as the word cave implies. There is only room for about one or two people at the very “inside” of the cave, but you do not need to scramble up there to enjoy the cave as there is plenty of room at different levels of the cave’s open walls to relax enjoy the views.
First, start walking along the Long Canyon Trail. At the first fork in the road (about .25 miles in), stay left. When I was hiking, branches were blocking the trail to the right to force you left anyways. Continue walking another .25 miles until you come to an open area with three possible trails, as in the photo below.
This is where I went wrong. DO NOT follow the path on the right marked by a wooden arrow. This is the Long Canyon Trail. Instead, you need to take the trail all the way to your left. This trail is less defined and may have branches blocking the entrance. You need to step over these branches and walk along this trail to find the Birthing Cave.
Once you take the path all the way to your left, you should see a barbed wire fence on your right, continue for another .25 miles or so. You will be able to spot the path to the cave on the right pretty easily. It is a short trek up with a slight incline to the cave. The trail and cave are located right where the indentation of the rocks are. There will most likely be other people and voices around to make it easier to locate.
Once you get to the cave, you will understand what I mean by, it is not a true cave. However, the views are still pretty magical, and it’s worth the short hike. If you have been to Sedona’s other secret caves, such as the Subway or Solider’s Pass caves, you may be expecting something more cave-like, but the Birthing Cave in Sedona is unique to itself.
Know before you go
Photography: If you wish to photograph the entire cave opening, you will need a very wide-angle lens (at least 16mm). My iPhone 12 widest angle lens was not wide enough, but my GoPro 5 set to linear worked great. Although I didn’t think to try it on my hike, I’ve heard the panoramic function on iPhone in portrait view works well too.
Sun: I did this hike later in the day, after 4 pm in early April. The sun was hidden behind the cave, which made for better photos and more comfortable hiking conditions. If you want good photos, avoid hiking in the a.m. as the cave’s opening faces the sun in the morning to late afternoon, which is no good for most photos.
Inside the cave: The cave has a large opening, making it feel less like a cave and more like a rock formation. The cave walls are wide, steep and slick. Many people climb the sides for photo ops. You really need to take in the scenic views with your back facing the inside of the cave but be careful climbing the cave walls.
What to bring: The trail is exposed; bring a hat, sunglasses, water, and sun protection. Hiking shoes (not tennis shoes) are best for climbing the slick, steep cave walls. Also, don’t forget a wide-angle camera for photos.
I hope you enjoy your experience trying to find the Birthing Cave in Sedona. There are many scenic hikes to do in Sedona, but the Birthing Cave is a special one you will be glad you completed. If you have any recommendations for additional cave hikes in Sedona, please leave your suggestions in the comments below. Also, check back here next month for two new Sedona Cave hiking guides: The easiest hike to find The Subway Cave in Sedona and How to find the Hidden Caves on Sedona’s Solider’s Pass Trail.