In his book, The Call of Sedona, Ilchi Lee devotes an entire chapter to the area of the Chapel of the Holy Cross. This chapter is titled, “The Land Where Prayer Comes Easily,” and he suggests visitors make time to see this Sedona landmark, which sits between two stunning red rock ridges.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

There is a moderate hiking trail that can be taken to explore this intriguing area. Known as the “Chapel Trail,” this rocky, narrow trail begins with the Little Horse Trail and is approximately 2.1 miles each way. Parking at the Chapel to hike is not permitted, but you can hike to the Chapel using the Little Horse Trailhead.

How to get to Little Horse Trailhead to connect with the Chapel Trail:

Beginning at the roundabout on Highway 179 known as the “Y” near Uptown Sedona, travel south on Highway 179 for approximately 3.6 miles (5.8 km) and turn left at the Little Horse Trail parking lot. Turn left here crossing northbound SR 179 to the parking area.

Check in at the trailhead signage. The Little Horse Trail connects to Chapel Trail. Follow the directions to begin your hike from the Little Horse Trailhead, which is lower and in the trees. After about 1.5 miles (2.4 km), you will intersect the Chapel Trail at the base of Twin Buttes. Stay alert to follow the trail. Soon you will see the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the distance.

The trail goes up a bit in elevation here and you can enjoy views of Cathedral Rock to the west and Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte to the south along the way. Enjoy the magnificent cliff faces of Twin Buttes to the right from this close vantage point. Stay on the high part of the trail, avoiding the gully. The trail ends at the lower parking lot of the chapel. The Chapel is usually open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, although the hours may vary.

FAQs

  • Trail open year round.
  • Difficulty: Moderate. Rocky trail crosses small, usually dry washes. In cold weather there can be ice on the trail. Stay alert, you may find you are sharing the trail with trail bikers.
  • A Red Rock pass is mandatory.
  • Usage: Moderate to heavy but there is ample parking (as well as restroom facilities).
  • Elevation gain: Up to 300 feet
  • Length: about 2.4 miles each way
  • Facilities: yes
  • Dogs allowed on a leash.

Special Tips:

  • Hiking shoes or boots are recommended.
  • In springtime, the weather on the trail can be sunny and warm, or cold and blustery, so plan accordingly. In summer, this trail will be hot, so hike early.
  • This trail is not recommended for very small children. A walking stick is a nice way to stabilize your balance along the way, but is not necessary.
  • Always take plenty of water, especially in warmer weather, and possibly a snack, but please remember, “Leave no trace” and take what you brought along home with you.
  • Take your camera and binoculars to capture the views.
  • Parking: Early in the morning is a good time to avoid the rush and a full parking lot, especially on weekends and holidays.
  • Don’t hike alone and let others know where you’re headed – just in case!