One of the most popular caves to explore in Sedona is Birthing Cave and in this post, I want to show you exactly how to hike to it step by step since I have personally done it myself.
The thing is, this hike is both simple and confusing at the same time. On one hand, it’s simple because once you’re on the right trail, reaching the Birthing Cave becomes easy, but it’s also difficult because there are no official directions or trailheads to this exact spot and you have to find instructions on blog posts like this to get there (that’s what ended up happening to me). I’m going to make this post very simple and easy to understand so you can easily find this spot and enjoy it as much as I did! Let’s start:
- 1 Quick info on the Birthing Cave Sedona AZ hike:
- 2 Here’s how to hike the unofficial Birthing Cave trail:
- 3 1) Start at Long Canyon Trailhead (this is where the Birthing Cave hike begins):
- 4 2) At around 0.4 miles into Long Canyon trail, turn left at the fork:
- 5 3) Follow the new trail till you pass a gate (it isn’t far after). Here’s also a simple Birthing Cave map for reference:
- 6 Important safety tips once you’re inside Birthing Cave (you’re going to want to read this):
- 7 What I wore for my Birthing Cave hike:
- 8 More info on the Birthing Cave:
- 9 Other awesome hikes I suggest you check out in Sedona (and nearby):
Quick info on the Birthing Cave Sedona AZ hike:
- Name: Birthing Cave.
- Location: Sedona.
- Hiking distance: About 2.5 miles in and out.
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
- Permit needed? No (surprisingly).
- Rating: 5 out of 5.
- Is it dangerous? Inside the cave itself, it can be in spots.
- Recommended hike? Oh yeah!
I’ve also included an entire map which you can use to get to this amazing cave. It’s pretty easy to follow and in addition to that you may also want to get yourself Alltrails as it also has a map to this spot too.
Here’s how to hike the unofficial Birthing Cave trail:
There’s actually 2-3 different ways to reach Birthing Cave, but I’ll show you the most popular and shortest option.
1) Start at Long Canyon Trailhead (this is where the Birthing Cave hike begins):
There is space for about 10 cars there, and like most of Sedona’s top hikes, if you don’t get there early enough (or during the winter when there’s less people), you’ll likely have to wait for a spot to open up.
But anyway, Long Canyon trail is where the hike to Birthing Cave starts. Once you park your car, you’ll head north along the only trail that’s there (Long Canyon). Make sure you go north and NOT south.
You’re going to be on this trail for about 1/3 miles. It’s actually quite a beautiful trail that’s easy to follow and you will see some awesome sights all around you, so make sure to enjoy the views here.
Note: Do NOT rely on Google maps for this trail. If you use the maps app and type in Birthing Cave, it will show up, but the spot on Google maps is totally wrong and will lead you to a completely different trailhead known as the Mescal trailhead which goes to other spots in Sedona, including Devils Bridge. You will simply use Google maps only to find the Long Canyon Trailhead which I linked within this article to make sure it’s the right one.
2) At around 0.4 miles into Long Canyon trail, turn left at the fork:
You’ll continue on the new trail (which goes to Birthing Cave) for another quarter mile.
There is no name for this trail as far I know but there will be a split.
Long Canyon trail will continue north and connect with other trails, but you will want to exit to the left and continue on the new trail which isn’t as well marked. It will literally be the first fork on the Long Canyon trail.
Once you are on this trail, you will only be on it for 1/3 of a mile. There are 3 ways to tell if this trail you are on is the right one:
- First, you can use Alltrails. They have a trail map of Birthing Cave.
- Second, there’s really no other trail other than this one which is on the left.
3) Follow the new trail till you pass a gate (it isn’t far after). Here’s also a simple Birthing Cave map for reference:
Once you pass the gate, you will steer left and continue on the same trail which is now going to be much more narrow than before, but still clear enough to follow.
This will bring you close to the mountain walls within which you will find Birthing Cave.
As the trail continues, it will turn right and that will take you straight up into Birthing Cave.
The hike to the cave from this turn is only about 100 feet but the elevation is also around 200 feet from here. It’s a scramble to reach the cave, but it’s nothing too difficult.
Important safety tips once you’re inside Birthing Cave (you’re going to want to read this):
1) First, there’s several parts in Birthing Cave itself where you can climb up further into it:
And they can be pretty dangerous. The picture you saw of me inside this cave was taken by a lady who climbed up as far into the cave as possible, where there was actually a hole you can crawl into.
However, getting into that hole is something I would NOT recommend you do as it’s very dangerous. I couldn’t even get up there as the rock felt very discombobulating to step on and I felt that if I kept going further up, I’d slip or fall eventually down the cave and so I just backtracked, and even then it was a VERY annoying climb down.
2) Second, you can get great views of the cave once you’re right inside it:
While climbing into the spots I just mentioned is where you’ll get the best pictures, I wouldn’t risk it unless when you get there, you see someone inside that spot and you can ask them to take a picture of you.
3) Avoid the crowds! Go to Birthing Cave early or in winter:
I was there in late January and there were about 7 people when I arrived there. I’m glad one person was in the small area inside the cave where that picture was taken, but trust me, you probably don’t want to be in a long line or bump into others on this trail (or any other in Sedona), so to avoid it, get there super early and if it can’t be helped, go there when it’s winter time as you’ll find way less people.
4) Backtracking to Long Canyon trail, it’s pretty simple:
In order to get back to the parking lot, you’ll obviously have to backtrack. Hike down from Birthing Cave, and make a left at the first turn. Follow that small path, past the gate (it’ll shift slightly right, aka south east). Then you’ll come across a much larger trail which is Long Canyon once again, where you’ll turn right and continue south to the parking lot.
5) There are no signs for the Birthing Cave, so make sure to prep ahead of time:
You will not see a trailhead marker or signs for Birthing Cave in this region of Sedona (only basic signs and maps), so if you do decide to go there, download the Alltrails map of this spot and/or save this page for your reference and know about it ahead of time. You’ll likely run into a few people while you’re on it who will tell you which way to go, but it’s still better to know the basic idea of where to hike just in case.
There is also no signal on this hike and as simple as it is, getting lost is still possible.
6) Bring water, especially if it’s a warmer season:
Yes the hike is pretty short, but unless you’re familiar with it, bring extra water and maybe a few snacks in case you want to sit down somewhere and take a break.
What I wore for my Birthing Cave hike:
I brought 3-4 of the items on this list (with the exception of the backpack, I instead used the trail running vest). This hike isn’t that difficult, but the cave itself might have some annoying parts where good grip is necessary so for essentials, good footwear counts here a lot:
More info on the Birthing Cave:
Is the Birthing Cave a hard hike?
Most of the hike to Birthing Cave is easy. The last 200 feet into it however is a moderate scramble.
How long does Birthing Cave hike take?
It takes less than an hour to reach Birthing Cave from the trailhead for most people.
How do you get to the Birthing Cave in Sedona?
To get to Birthing Cave, you have to park at Long Canyon Trailhead, then follow the path north. After that you will turn left, pass a gate and that will take you to the mountain where you’ll find it. Make sure you use a map to reach this area.
Do you need a Red Rock Pass for Birthing Cave?
No, parking at Long Canyon Trailhead where the trail to Birthing Cave starts does not require a Red Rock Pass.
Other awesome hikes I suggest you check out in Sedona (and nearby):
- Obviously, Devil’s Bridge.
- The Subway Cave in Boyton Canyon is amazing too.
- Soldiers Pass and it’s caves (might be more amazing than Birthing Cave!).
- Robbers Roost which is a quasi cave and old ruins area.
- Cathedral Rock is also amazing (short but steep).
- Also Keyhole Cave (I think it’s as big as Birthing Cave, but is a lot riskier to climb).
- West Fork Trail (amazing water hike that bears resemblance to the Narrows and even the Subway hike).
- Some waterfall hikes in Arizona (closest to Sedona is Chocolate Falls).
I’ll be providing more step by step guides on each hike I mentioned (and more) but I hope this one helps you in hiking to Birthing Cave. It really is one of Sedona’s many awesome spots to explore!