Directions: From downtown Sedona, take AZ179-S toward Oak Creek Village. Turn right onto Verde Valley School road continue straight onto a dirt road for about four miles. The trail parking lot is on the left. You will find the trailhead across the street from the parking area. You will need a red rock pass, which is $5.00 per day. There is a parking pass machine available in the parking lot if you forget one before heading to the trail.
About the hike - Baldwin Loop Trail is a 3.3-mile loop with an elevation gain of 3,950 feet.
This hike is excellent for all skill levels. The trek offers fantastic views of Cathedral Rock as well as access to the beautiful Oak Creek twisting through the canyon.
Baldwin Loop Trail is an easy to follow well-marked trail.
Right from the start, this trail offers spectacular views of the iconic Cathedral Rock.
The Alderleaf Mountain Mahogany trees shade the pathway at the start of the trail but quickly opens up into an area of low growing foliage overshadowed with beautiful views.
Be sure and bring plenty of water, sun-screen, and a hat because most of the trail is not shaded, and it gets hot quickly in the summer months.
A little further up the trail, you will come to the Turkey Creek connector trail offering an opportunity to try something different. Although, today, our journey will be along the Baldwin Loop Trail.
This area of the trail again provides a shady spot to take a break or continue meandering down the path toward the creek. I did this hike in December 2020. Trees were still providing shade and bursts of fall color adding to the surrounding beauty along Oak Creek.
Winding through the canyon leads you up into a meadow.
I glanced back to capture the setting moon above the tree line. As I hiked along, I could hear the musical flow of Oak Creek off to my left. I decided to take a detour off the trail to explore along the creek's bank.
The water was chilly, but I could imagine the fun it would be splashing in the creek during those famous Arizona long hot summer days.
Back on the trail, I head through the gated area, continuing along, taking in the views as I traveled closer to Cathedral Rock.
This part of the trail was rockier with more up and down inclines.
We spotted several mountain bikers enjoying themselves along the trail.
It's fun to watch how agile they are as they so easily traverse the rocky trail.
As the sun rose in the sky, the shadows came out to play, adding even more beauty along the hike.
The trail winds through Pinyon Pines tucked between two mountain ranges. Off in the far distance, you can see a pop of yellow on a lone aspen tree.
Beautiful rock formations are showcased along the bluff off to the left of the trail.
Just a bit further up the pathway, you get a glimpse of Oak Creek Village neighborhoods.
Gazing off to my left was a panoramic view that seemed to go on forever.
A little further up the trail, I spotted the parking lot off in the distance and knew the hike was coming to an end.
I felt calm and peace as I slowly descended towards my car after spending time in such beautiful and tranquil place.