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How to Hike The Robbers Roost Trail in Sedona Correctly

The Robbers Roost trail in Sedona is both an unofficial and yet very popular hike to explore but to actually do it requires you know several things before embarking on it and this post will help you with that.

Quick info on the Robbers Roost trail in Sedona:

  • Name: Robbers Roost (aka In And Out Cave)
  • Location: Sedona
  • Description: It’s a beautiful old ruins area (some say it has a vortex)
  • Distance: Anywhere from 1-3 miles in and out (2 ways to do it)
  • Difficulty: Easy hike but there’s an off road drive to reach it
  • Hike rating: 4 out of 5
  • Recommended hike? Other than the drive to reach it, the short hike to this beautiful area is highly recommended.
  • Caution: While the Robbers Roost Cave is incredible, please do not touch any of the rocks there or damage the area in anyway (it’s not difficult to do).

The details are going to this area will be explained shortly, but here’s a short summary of what to expect regarding the Robbers Roost hike. If it’s your first time researching this hike, trust me when I say you’ll want to make sure you read all of this:

  • There is no official trailhead to Robbers Roost.
  • Driving to the parking area to it requires a long, off road type drive (AWD recommended).
  • Google maps doesn’t have an official listing for it (I used Alltrails to get there by car).
  • Once you do reach the parking lot, there is another option mile drive to get closer to Robbers Roost, but unless you have a high clearance vehicle or dune buggy (which people rent to come here), don’t bother, just walk the extra mile. 

In short, about 95% of this “hike” is really driving to it correctly, while the other 5% is just hiking to Robbers Roost which isn’t really difficult, and that’s why half if not more of this article is detailing how to reach the hike itself.

1) How to find Robbers Roost in Sedona (map location):

Like I said before, Google maps doesn’t actually show you this spot and there are some videos on YouTube showing you coordinates, but what I did was used Alltrails which does have a Robbers Roost trail map and because I use Alltrails Pro, I was able to drive to the trailhead (it’s actually a parking lot, not official trailhead) successfully.

I’ve included a link to the Alltrails map of this spot above, but it’s located near southern Sedona and it’s in a very remote part of it. Don’t be surprised if you’re on the road and trail and hardly see anyone there (although there are usually people hiking Robbers Roost).

2) Reaching the parking area to Robbers Roost (2 options):

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Reaching the Robbers Roost parking area (which fits about 10 cars) isn’t easy and requires you to be off road for quite a bit to do so. With these 2 options, you have a longer and shorter one, and while the latter is better, some people (like myself) might find themselves doing the longer one if they are checking out other trails in Sedona like I was before I entered it. This is just going to help you avoid that.

Option 1 (about 20 miles of driving):

You can access the Robbers Roost parking area from Boyton Pass road which is an official road in Sedona that gives you access to popular trails like: 

In my case, I was hiking Fay Canyon trail and when I saw how “close” Robbers Roost was to it, I thought I lucked out in that I didn’t have long to drive. What I didn’t know was that with option 1, I would continue on Boyton Pass road and it would end shortly after, and take me on what seemed like a 30 minute drive across dirt, rocky and uneven roads, so much so that I wondered if I should turn back on my AWD vehicle! The point is, I used Alltrails to get to Robbers Roost from Boyton Pass road and I would not do it again unless you like that sort of stuff.

Option 2 (about 10 or less miles of driving):

This is a much easier way to get to Robbers Roost and cuts down your mileage by 2-3 times. You’ll access the same rugged road (only do less of it) from a place called Two Trees Observation area and it’s close to road 89A.

From there, you’ll follow Alltrails (or another reliable source) to get to Robbers Roost trailhead. I didn’t know this was even an option until I exited out of the hike and back to the road. Trust me, this route is faster and easier.

Anyway, no matter which option you choose, there will still be a long dirt and rocky road to drive to reach Robbers Roost, except with option 2, you’ll do way less of it.

3) Reaching the parking lot of Robbers Roost (2 options):

Once you reach the parking lot of Robbers Roost, you will have 2 more options presented to you:

Option 1:

Park there, and walk 1.5 miles to Robbers Roost. About a mile of that hike will be on an even more off road area so overall with this option, you’re adding about 2+ miles to your overall hike and the views are OK, but not spectacular until you reach Robbers Roost.

Option 2:

If you have a high clearance vehicle or even a dune buggy, you can drive that extra rugged “road” with it, and cut out the 2 miles from your hike to Robbers Roost. I would not recommend doing this unless you actually have the right vehicle. If the drive to reach the parking lot was not something you weren’t comfortable with, then it’s likely your car isn’t up for that extra mile and you should just hike it.

4) Getting to Robbers Roost:

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Once you walk (or drive) that mile from the official parking area, you’ll come across another (wider) parking area and to your right you’ll see a sign post that leads you to Robbers Roost (trail). From there, the actual Robbers Roost is very close (maybe 1/4 miles to reach). You’ll walk up a few stair areas, and walk across what seems like a slanted balcony with big drop next to it (be careful here), but from it you will see Robbers Roost and be able to enter it from that area.

Once you’re there, make sure to keep everything intact as the stones in the area can fall off, but enjoy the spot as it’s really amazing and photogenic. The only thing I regret not doing was coming there during sunset which is when I think you’ll get the best views of the mountains from that spot (the cave spots in Robbers Roost point west so the sunset views from there must be incredible in my opinion). After you’re doing, just backtrack to the parking lot, then back out into road 89A (option B). And that’s how you properly enjoy the Robbers Roost trail!

Quick questions and answers on the Robbers Roost trail:

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How long is Robbers Roost trail in Sedona?

Robbers Roost Trail is anywhere from 1/2 a mile to 3 miles depending on how close by car you get to it.

Where do you park for Robbers Roost Sedona?

Apps like Alltrails show you where to park for Robbers Roost and I would use that to get there.

Can you camp in Robbers Roost Sedona?

There are several campsites near Robbers Roost in Sedona you can stay at.

All of this said, this should be more than enough information to help you get to and enjoy the Robbers Roost trail. It’s short and fairly easy hike to do, and as long as you are on the right vehicle and know where to go, it’ll be a very fun experience and one of the best hikes in Sedona Arizona you’ll ever try, and if these directions help you, I’d love to know below!

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