The Sedona Windows hike, also known as the Schnebly Windows, is arguably the best hike in Sedona.
The Sedona Windows is probably my favorite hike in Sedona edging out Bear Mountain, the Subway Cave and all others.
It combines some of the most amazing 360 views of the area, has different terrain types, add the feeling of accomplishment due to how hard it is, the unique arches & rock formations then of course the unparalleled unique view from the Windows.
The rock formations alone are enough of a reason to do this hike as you see so many unique rock shapes. You will see the Teapot, Queen Victoria, Pointed Dome, Mitten Ridge and then Probiscus Arch where the first set of windows are.
Of course the crown jewel are the views, majestic sites from within the windows and the entire hike you will overlook all of Sedona, the Oak Creek Canyon, Midgley Bridge and all sorts of valleys.
The hiking trail itself is beautiful with different views to lush greenery to mountain vista views to jungle feels… just wow… it gives off Zion feels.
While it is the best hike in Sedona it also is arguably the hardest hike in Sedona for trails that are more common.
For mountain bikers it is rated a double-black diamond and is only suggested for experienced hikers.
While average hikers could do the hike in terms of fitness, there are a few sketchy areas not for the faint of heart, especially getting up and down from the Windows.
The great thing about this hike being difficult is that it makes it one of the least busy trails in Sedona vs. Devil’s Bridge etc that is easily accessible and has lines of people waiting to take pictures.
If you are able-bodied, definitely skip Devil’s Bridge or the Subway and come here to avoid the crowds.
How to Find The Sedona Windows
You can access the Schnebly/Sedona Windows in two ways, which depends if you have a high clearance 4×4 or not, both options will be covered below.
Both are great options but if you don’t have a 4×4 or high clearance vehicle it will add around 3 miles and an hour or so of time.
Schnebly Hill road is rough terrain and while I have done it with a 2-wheel drive Grand Cherokee, it was miserable and would suggest only with 4×4 and ideally high clearance vehicle.
How to Find The Sedona Windows From Munds Wagon Trailhead: No 4×4 Required
If you do not have a 4×4 or high clearance vehicle but still want to find the Sedona Window hike, do not fret!
While it adds a few extra miles and an extra hour you still can reach these stunning viewpoints.
You will start at the Munds Wagon Trailhead and hike up along the path, which runs alongside Schnebly Road for the most part.
You can actually see the Windows from the beginning of your hike to give you a good idea of how close you are getting.
At about 1.2 miles in you will pass picnic tables and around 1.6 miles you will see the trail sign pointing to take left to follow Hangover Trail, where you will start the loop.
Starting from Hangover Trail
The trail is very easy to follow up to the trail that breaks off to the Windows.
As you go along you can see Probiscus Arch and the Windows as you slowly get closer to them.
About one mile into Hangover and at 2.6 miles total is where you will see a small trail going left that leads to the Windows.
5-10 seconds after that left is another left that will take you up to the Windows and from there just try to find the path of least resistance.
The first window you will see at Probiscus Arch and then you can find the others by going to the other side of the arch (south side) and following it along.
These stunning views were also added to the Sedona Bucket List link here, where you can read all the must see things in Sedona.
You will then run into this double window arch and just beyond that a couple more await!
The Window pictured below you will have to climb up into for a magical view North and probably the best of all the window views!
From there you can go West to the next formation where there is an unclosed window pictured below.
There appears to be another window at the end of that formation but it shouldn’t be reached by anyone without mountain climbing equipment.
All in all there are 6 major windows that you can access!
Once you come back down from the Windows start follow the path again to the left.
Follow the white marks closely as you will soon ascend up the rock and come back in front of Queen Victoria before looping back around behind it.
Once you loop back around the formations the trail is pretty straightforward again.
You will then complete the loop around Hangover Trail to Cowpies back to Munds Wagon and down to your parking spot.
There are maps below and tips to help you not get off trail.
How to Find The Sedona Windows Hike With a High Clearance 4×4
If you have a 4×4 or high clearance vehicle then you can park closer to the Hangover Trailhead. There are some little pull-offs and small parking areas all along the road so you will just park wherever you can find space well off the road.
For directions from Hangover Trailhead scroll just a little above in this article where I wrote “starting from Hangover Trail” for directions on finding the Windows.
How Long Is the Sedona Windows Hike From Munds Wagon Trailhead?
If hiking from Munds Wagon Trailhead it is around 9 miles total for the Sedona Windows hike loop.
It is 1.8 miles to Hangover Trail, 3.1 miles on Hangover Trail, 0.4 miles on Cow Pies trail and then 2.8 miles down the extended Munds Wagon Trail back to your parking spot. That is 8.1 miles and then add on another 0.5-1 mile of hiking up and around the Windows.
It will take 4 to 5.5 hours pending your speed.
How Long Is the Sedona Windows Hike From Hangover Trailhead?
If hiking from Hangover Trailhead it is 6.25 miles for the Sedona Windows Hike loop.
It is 3.1 miles on Hangover Trail, 0.4 miles on Cow Pies trail and then 1.0 down Munds Wagon and will take 3-4.5 hours.
What Is The Elevation Gain For the Sedona Windows Hike?
The elevation gain will be 1,300 feet in gain.
Major Tips For Hiking The Sedona Windows
- Go clockwise on Hangover trail vs. counter clockwise due to some parts that are better for going up vs. slipping downwards. Also bikes typically go counter clockwise so it helps that you can see them coming vs. up from behind.
- Pay close attention to the white trail markers painted on the ground. You will need it when on the hard rock and off the dirt trail. The dirt trail is easy to follow but when you are on the rock it is easy to get lost.
- Watch out for mountain bikers!
- Ideally don’t listen to music in headphones with both ears in due to mountain bikers, rattlesnakes and there is a rock garden area where you can see plenty of rock falls… you will want to hear that if it were to happen!
- You will need good hiking shoes or trail runners that will grip the flat slippery rock surface.
- Do not attempt when it is wet with fresh rain or snow melt. It is extremely slippery and steep enough when it is dry.
- Do not use any metal cleat type shoes for this hike as the hardest parts of the hike are going up the hard rock face.
- Leave no trace.
- Bring at least 2 liters of water.
- Pack extra food and layers if it is cold.
- There is a bonus cave as well Window Cave Lookout off of Munds trail.
- Download Google Offline Maps. This will help you see along the way that you are on the right course and it even shows the trails when you zoom in per below. *No the window will not show up like the pic below 😉
How Many Windows are At the Schnebly Windows?
There are 6 accessible Windows for hikers and then another for mountain climbers on the West most edge.
There is a bonus cave that is easily accessible near the top of Munds Wagon Trail called Window Cave Lookout at Merry-Go-Round viewpoint.
Do you need a Red Rocks Or America The Beautiful Pass To Hike The Sedona Windows?
Yes, if you plan to hike from the Munds Wagon Trailhead you will need a pass, which you can buy at the trailhead or even better buy online with a $5 day pass, $15 week long pass or $20 year long pass.
As always, please leave no trace, do not carve into the rock, pickup all garbage and all else!
If you are looking for an amazing and affordable hotel in Sedona definitely choose The Wilde Resort and Spa! The grounds and resort is perfect and isn’t crazy prices like some of the resorts in town.