If you want to find one of the stunning cave views in Sedona then you must hike the Keyhole Cave in Sedona.
It is pretty easy to find and you start at the Sugarloaf Trailhead. You will begin from the parking lot and start the hike at Teacup Trail.
From there it is pretty simple with just three turns along the way!
You can actually see the cave in the distance from the beginning of the hike. This will definitely help you know you are going the right way especially if you get off track.
Tip: Bring a rope if you are going to hike into the Sedona Keyhole Cave
While the trail is moderate the very end to get into the cave is extremely difficult and dangerous. I needed to help 3/5 people get up and down who had gone into the cave.
A great recommendation is the bring a good rope to help everyone up and especially down.
I would not recommend this for anyone scared of heights, who don’t have shoes with great grip or for the lesser athletic.
Did you know you can actually make it an all-time epic cave hike day by combining this with Soldier’s Pass to see that stunning cave. Both hikes connect and you can see all info on that in this article here.
But back to finding the keyhole cave! From the start of the Teacup trail you will hike just under .5 miles where there is a fork in the road.
At the fork there is a sign to follow Teacup Trail to the right and Thunder MTN Trail to the left. You will go left and just follow Thunder MTN Trail.
You will only walk on this trail for a handful of steps before you come to a wash and you will follow that up to the right.
This is the easiest can’t miss way to go. You can of course follow misc small trails North going at the cave and at some point you will get to it.
However, to avoid needing to double-back or going the wrong way for a little just follow the wash the entire way to the base of the cave.
With that said, if there is rain or recent rain and you can’t go up the wash then just follow the trails North directing at the cave and you will eventually run into it.
Back to the easy to find wash route, as you follow the wash there are some smaller washes that break off from the main wash but just stick to the larger wash along the way.
You will meander along the wash for three-quarters of a mile or so and you will know when to start going up to the cave as you will see it to your right when the time comes.
From there is where it gets harder. You will go most of the 500 feet in elevation on this hike over the last 10-15 minutes of the hike.
While this part is doable for most everyone, the real issue comes when you reach the cave and attempt to climb up into it. I will reiterate do not try this unless you are athletic or a good hiker.
I had to help three people who were shaking and stuck or could not get down. People often bring ropes to help others up and down, which is a great idea.
How To Get Up Into The Sedona Keyhole Cave
You have three options to get into the cave and going up to the right is definitely the only way you should go.
The beginning isn’t too bad but it is the middle where people get stuck as it is slippery and there are not really any holds to get to the next part.
After getting up that part the rest is easier as there are better steps with lots of foot and hand holds, however again it is not for those that aren’t great with heights.
While not crazy steep it just is very slippery with a smooth face that does not have a ton of good foot or hand holds to use.
You can go up the middle of the Right side but also can go up against the right wall where there are a few more hand and foot holds, albeit tricky in its own right.
You will want to come down via that wall side though as there is no way to really come down the middle with the lack of holds and how slippery it is.
How To Get Down From The Keyhole Cave
Getting down is harder than getting up and is a little unnerving even for the best of us. While it is not some crazy steep long way down, the issue is the lack of holds and slippery face as mentioned.
Without a rope, do not try to come down the middle part of that Right side you came up as it is so slippery and there aren’t any solid holds.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Coming down you will want to go against that wall on the front of the entrance (down the Right side you came up). As while tricky at least there are significantly better foot and hand holds to use.
Ideally come down on your butt and use all of the foot and hand holds at a nice slow pace.
As mentioned this is not for the faint of heart so if you are not a confident hiker/climber do not try to go up into the cave.
How Long Is The Sedona Keyhole Cave Hike?
The Sedona Keyhole Cave hike is 2.5 miles round-trip, out and back. You can of course split it up and take one of the many small trails back from the cave if you want more of an adventure and to not use the same wash trail you use to get there.
What Trailhead Do You Use to Access The Sedona Keyhole Cave
You use the Sugarloaf Trailhead, which starts with the Teacup Trail, it is located in a little neighborhood just 15 minutes from downtown.
How Hard Is the Sedona Keyhole Cave Hike?
Getting into the Sedona Keyhole cave is difficult. The hike itself is moderate but getting into the cave itself definitely takes it to difficult+. Be very careful and only more skilled hikers should try to get up into it.
What is the elevation Gain of the Sedona Keyhole Cave?
The elevation gain of the Sedona Keyhole Cave is 520 feet. The majority of it comes at the end when you hike up from the wash up the hill to the face of the cave.