The Birthing Cave is one cave that is easy to access, making it a great addition to your Sedona itinerary. You most likely won’t be the only one soaking in the views here, but this hike still is one of the less popular ones in the area.
Tucked back into the canyon wall off a spur trail, the Birthing Cave can be easy to miss if you don’t know where to go. This area has multiple trails weaving in and out with one another, and even leads you to another awesome cave (more on that later)!
In this post I’ve included directions, details, and everything you need to know in order to successfully find the Birthing Cave.
This cave is 1 of 4 amazing caves within the Sedona Wilderness I’ve hiked to. Check out 4 of the best Sedona Caves and how to find them for more!
Birthing Cave Stats
Distance: 2.0 miles RT
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Type: Out and Back
Elevation Gain: 276 feet
Location: Sedona, AZ
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Trailhead: Long Canyon Trailhead
How To Get To The Birthing Cave Trailhead
The hike to the Birthing Cave begins at the Long Canyon Trailhead which is right off the side of a quiet road. From the heart of Sedona it is roughly a 20 minute drive. If you type it into Google Maps it will take you right to it.
Parking can get tricky here if you don’t arrive first thing in the morning. The dirt lot isn’t very big and parts of it flood during spring or after rain which makes it even smaller. Long Canyon Trailhead is the beginning point for many connecting trails in the area, so if it is full it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is at the Birthing Cave.
I always recommend tracking yourself or following an already made track so you can check in and be sure you’re on the right path. Below is a screenshot of my track from Birthing Cave!
Preparation saves lives. Know where you are going ahead of time and always have a way to keep yourself on trail. One way to do this is with a GPS system or app.
You can download my Birthing Cave track and gain access to my library of all tracked hikes. Once downloaded, you can load it into your own trusty device for ease of mind!
When To Visit The Birthing Cave
Sunrise is a beautiful time to begin your hike because- yes, you won’t have to fight for parking- but mainly because the mountains in the backdrop glow as the sun is rising. This also means the lighting will be less harsh when you’re in the cave trying to take pictures.
If you plan to arrive for sunrise then a summer hike won’t be too dreadful since the trail is short and sweet. However, spring and late fall are still my favorite times to hike in Sedona. If you don’t mind the cold then try hiking this one in winter! I can only imagine how beautiful the trees are when dusted with snow. You’ll most likely run into less people as well.
Hiking To The Birthing Cave
To get to Birthing Cave you’ll begin at the Long Canyon Trailhead which is clearly marked at the parking lot. This trail is a sandy, wide trail that mountain bikers like to also use, so keep an ear open for them zipping by. I began at sunrise and it was an extremely peaceful April morning between the chilled air and birds singing.
As you hike you can see a large mountain in the backdrop. I could not get enough pictures of the trail leading into the glowing mountain, surrounded by the greenery! This area is stunning in every direction. As you’re hiking back to the parking lot you’ll have just as good views- the mountains facing the opposite way are just as breathtaking.
Eventually the trail will take a sharp left turn. It may look like you continue straight towards the mountain in the back, but there should be sticks and rocks blocking that way off, veering you to the left.
Once you turn left you may hear some golfers from the Seven Canyons Golf Club. Through the trees you may see snippets of the golf course for the trail edges around part of it. If you missed the first left turn then you may end up at the golf course, which is a good indicator to turn around.
From here the trail widens a bit more but becomes quite rocky in the middle. It won’t be long when you reach another fork in the trail. Long Canyon Trail continues straight through a fence, or somewhat to your right, but the trail you want to take is to the left. This way, you’ll orient yourself to have the large canyon wall on your right side.
At this point the trail narrows and will get a bit steeper, turning this hike into moderate if you aren’t a seasoned hiker. But do not worry- it is quite do-able!
There will be another fork in the trail you won’t want to miss! It isn’t marked, but you’ll want to turn right here. From this fork it is just a short climb up to the base of the Birthing Cave!
I do want to note that in order to get the full view of the window, you’ll have to be able to climb up a steep, slippery wall of rock to the back or sides of the cave. Bring your best shoes with grip on them! Several times I heard other hikers approaching saying “this is it?”, or “where is it?”.
The Birthing Cave isn’t deep, and it is definitely oddly shaped inside. It looks awesome in photos, but when you’re standing in the bottom of it, it may not be exactly what you expected.
Nonetheless, since it is a short hike to the cave, and a cool spot to sit and get out of the sun, I still think visiting the Birthing Cave is worth the effort.
PRO TIP: Bring a wide lens (16-35mm) to photograph this one with. If you are using a newer phone camera it should be able to zoom out enough to capture the full window.
Hike to the end of The Birthing Cave Trail
I’ve visited the Birthing Cave 4 times now, and I’m not sure why it took me that long to actually wander down to the end of the trail, past the cave itself. I’m thankful I finally did, though, because the end of the trail holds a hidden gem!
Most people stop at the Birthing Cave and turn back, however if you’re up for a little scramble further, you’ll be surprised with Native ruins and Sedona vista views that will take your breath away.
The trail goes beyond the Birthing Cave turning point for about 0.1-0.2 miles. So if you hike to the end and back it is adding just less than half a mile extra.
It does get pretty steep on the way but no steeper than the climb up the cave base itself. You’ll find the ruins first, which are pretty run down but still impressive to see.
To the left of the ruins you’ll see the trail continues up to the cliff above them, and this is where you’ll get your vista views. You actually can look down onto Boynton Canyon Trailhead (more on that below) and see the Boynton Vortex from this point!
This is probably the easiest I’ve had to work to get views like this in Sedona. Hiking to the end of the trail seems so simple, but I guarantee most people never make it to this point for they’re distracted with the cave.
Hopefully you’ll consider this when you hike the Birthing Cave!
Connect To Another Sedona Cave
As I mentioned above, the trail systems in this area cover a lot of ground and can even lead you to another awesome cave. I’ve included the details to connect the two cave hikes for you below!
BOYNTON CANYON SUBWAY CAVE
A more popular cave in the area is the Boynton Canyon Cave, also known as the Subway Cave. About a 5 minutes drive between trailheads and you can easily hike both- but if you’re visiting during a busy time, can’t find parking, or want to extend your hike, there is a way to hike from one to the other!
I highly suggest utilizing a map system if you choose to connect the hikes, for that is how I figured out this route. I have not hiked it yet, however, so I do not know the distance between the two. My best guess is the connecting route is 1.5 miles, so 3 miles round trip. I drew this route in blue for you on the map below.
Let’s say you park at the Birthing Cave and hike to the cave. From here, you’d hike back to the Long Canyon Trail and take a left, continuing as if you would if you didn’t turn for the Birthing Cave. Eventually you’ll run into an intersection with Deadman’s Pass Trail, where you’ll turn left. Take this trail until it intersects with Boynton Canyon Trail, turn right, and continue on to the Subway Cave!
Final Thoughts On The Birthing Cave
When I first visited the Birthing Cave I was a little thrown off because it wasn’t what I was expecting. I guess I was expecting a ‘normal’ cave that you walk into, its deep, and you walk to the back of it gain the full window effect.
No one cave is like another, though, and I guess that is what makes Birthing Cave unique! I still love visiting here once a year since it is such a short and sweet hike- a great way to start the day.
I highly suggest hiking to the end of the trail to view the ruins and climb to the top of the mountain for amazing views. This alone makes the trail worth it, and is a nice place to step away from the crowded cave since not many people venture that far.
As always, please be considerate of the environment so we can keep enjoying it and remember to leave no trace.
More in Sedona:
- Hike to Devil’s Bridge in Sedona, Arizona
- Hiking Cathedral Rock: All you need to know
- Hiking A.B. Young Trail to East Pocket (Edge of the World)
- The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek- Arizona Swimming Hole