Baldwin Loop

The Baldwin Loop is a system trail in the Coconino National Forest. Designated as Trail #191, it's well marked with signs and easy to follow. This popular hike is especially scenic, with close-up views of Cathedral Rock (shown below). 
  Baldwin Loop
The loop is great for mountain bikes, so be aware that you'll probably meet some along the way. In addition to the system trail, there is also a social trail that branches off near the parking area and climbs a sweet ridgeline to the top of Baldwin Butte.
The small knob that constitutes the actual summit is difficult to access unless you're a climber, but the large butte it sits on is relatively flat and easy to walk around on. Anywhere up here makes for an incredible view of Cathedral Rock.
If there will be a full moon during your visit to Sedona, the social trail that goes to the summit of Baldwin Butte should be on your hiking list, because it will rise behind these beautiful spires just as the sun starts to set. Timing is everything. The best alignment of all the elements is usually the evening before the actual full moon.


From the Village of Oak Creek there are two roads that turn west off Hwy 179. These are Verde Valley School Road and Bell Rock Blvd. Visitors can take either of these, and there is a traffic circle at both. If you opt for Bell Rock Blvd, take it all the way to the stop sign, then turn right on Verde Valley School.
If you opt for Verde Valley School Road (shown below) it is 4,8 miles to the parking area on the left side of the road. The last mile of the road is gravel.
Verde Valley School Road 
The Baldwin Loop Trail begins just south of the parking area on Verde Valley School Road (across the street) and the trailhead is well marked. A Red Rock or America the Beautiful Pass is required to park here. Professional photographers consider the "crossing" at Red Rock Crossing, just downhill from the parking area, to be one of the most photogenic spots in Sedona at sunset (shown below).
Red Rock Crossing 1
There is no way to drive across the creek at Red Rock Crossing, which would be the closest approach to the Baldwin Loop from West Sedona, but it is often possible to wade across the creek when water levels are low enough (shown below).
Oak Creek & Cathedral Rock
From the parking area at the end of Verde Valley School Road, the loop trail heads east and quickly drops down a bit to the riparian zone in the valley floor, near but out of sight of the creek. 
There are many side trails accessing swim spots on Oak Creek in this section of the trail.
Red Rock Crossing swimming hole
At 1/2 mile the Baldwin Trail meets the end of the Templeton Trail. The Baldwin Trail forks sharply right and climbs moderately through a draw between Cathedral Rock and Baldwin Butte. There are nice views of Cathedral Rock and back to Wilson Mountain. The trail levels out and then begins a gradual descent to the southwest and ends at Verde Valley School Road at 1.6 miles.


RATED: Easy for the loop, moderate for the top of Baldwin Butte due to the climb and some route finding. Once you get up there it's not possible to come down just anywhere.
2 mile loop
220 ft
1.5 hours roundtrip
All year
Yes. Must be leashed at all times. Please pick up after your pet.