Small House Big World


Shaman’s Cave, Sedona

Anna Edgren • April 11, 2016

The hiking in Sedona is pretty fantastic, as you can imagine. And as much as I like hiking on a marked trail, nothing is better than finding a place to explore where I’m not going to run into another soul. When Max and I go out hunting for nice views I find my happy place. Well, I’m hunting for nice views and Max is hunting for rabbits and lizards, but you get the point. 

This weekend Max and I took an EPIC hike and made an incredible discovery. I decided to drive down to the end of the road we’re boondocking on, and see how close I could get to the mountains in my Honda before the road became too bumpy to traverse. I got about 2 miles down before I came upon a big mud puddle and decided to park and walk. 

I found an old road that was closed to motorized traffic and decided to head down that way. The views in the distance were great, and we found ourselves making our way towards this giant red rock. Obviously I wanted to get a better look at this monster, so I decided to get closer.  

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Through cactus and cow pies, I made my way around to the other side, where I noticed a giant hole towards the top of the rock.

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On the right. 

I thought… that’s creeeepy. And awesome. This rock is pretty badass. 

Although I had hopes, I didn’t think I’d be able to get to the top of the giant red rock – as you can see from this angle it looks like sheer rock face and I definitely don’t have climbing gear (although, I would like to do that…put it on the list). As I made my way around the other side, I noticed that the back had a sort of land-bridge that wasn’t too steep that may allow me to get to the top. 

I was right, around back it was much easier to scramble up the side. I hiked for a bit until I was getting very close to the top, where I happened upon a REAL trail – who would have thought! It was fairly well traveled, and clearly went to the top. AHA!

Following the trail, at one point it split where you could either go left and around the side of the rock, or up to the top. Although the top was on my mind, I decided to check out the left side. That’s when I peered around the corner and was greeted by this view. 

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Holy Cow!! I gasped audibly and swore to myself. What the hell is this?!?

Max and I made out way around the rock to get a closer look. 

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The face of bravery.

Hello cave!!! 

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The walk over to the cave is a little harrowing – just enough room to walk and it drops straight down. Momentary terror was worth it for the views from inside the cave – the entire valley below and this adorable window. 

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Needless to say, I was blown away. Can I live here?! What a find. Turns out this is “a thing” but on a Saturday at noon, I had the whole place to myself.  It seems to be out of the way enough that not too many people make the trek. In fact, the trail-head itself is not marked, and there are no signs or anything else about the hike or the cave. On my way back down (on the actual regular trail) I ran into a couple of other people heading up. They informed me that this is called “Shaman’s Cave” – we are in Sedona after all, so rumors of a mystical medicine man’s cave are not surprising. 

I tried to dig up some history on the cave and came up surprisingly short – thanks for nothing Google! Just a handful of other bloggers posting about the cave, but no hard historical facts that I could find. It remains a mystery! This cave is also called “Robber’s Roost” on some sites. 

Definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, and certainly an incredible place to accidentally stumble upon. I suppose it’s easier to stumble upon natural wonders when you’re in Sedona, Arizona, but I swear every time I go out exploring with the dog I see something I didn’t expect to see that makes my day: A weird giant beetle, the creepy decaying skull of an animal, or a fantastic flowering tree. I’ve learned this lesson time and time again: The world is full of beautiful places and amazing creatures – absolutely packed to the brim. If you take a walk down a quiet path and keep an open mind you never know what you’ll find. 

Oh! And I did make it to the top of the rock as well. It was pretty awesome.

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If you’re in Sedona, here’s how to get there!

Take 89a south about 9.5 miles from Sedona. Turn right onto Forest Road 525. After about 3.5 miles, turn left at the sign for Palatki and head onto 525C. Stay on 525C for another 3 miles or so. Turn right at FR 9530. Park when you need to (depending on your car’s capabilities) and follow the road up until you see a parking area, and the trail on the right hand sign leading up to the rock. 

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Anna Edgren • April 11, 2016

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  1. Carol Kilar April 11, 2016 - 7:06 pm Reply

    Awesome pics ! So glad you got to explore this area. Thanks for sharing

  2. Kerensa April 12, 2016 - 1:57 am Reply

    What a beautiful view! It looks like an amazing hike. We will have to put it on our list for when we get back to Sedona.

  3. Metamorphosis Lisa April 12, 2016 - 8:40 am Reply

    A new hike in my happy place…YES! Thank you for the details!

  4. Susan harrigan April 12, 2016 - 12:00 pm Reply

    What a great day out there Anna ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have to add this one to the list as well!
    (And I like Shamans Cave waay more than Robbers Roost!) So many gems in Sedona!!! Love it!

  5. CC April 14, 2016 - 7:32 pm Reply

    I tried to find Shaman’s cave but forgot the details and didn’t write it down. I know, I take directions like a man. ;} I ended up taking the trail at the very end of the road and found Sycamore Canyon. Absolutely stunningly beautiful! Couldn’t believe it was hidden back there. And a spur on that trail took me to a big smoke blackened cave. Big enough for both our motorhomes! And it wasn’t full of trash or wreaking of urine. So that was cool and I got my spelunking fix.


    • Anna Edgren April 22, 2016 - 11:33 am Reply

      Ha well now I’m mad I didn’t see Sycamore Canyon!!! That sounds awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

      • ConstantCritic April 22, 2016 - 6:56 pm Reply

        I did make it to Shaman’s cave a few days later. Pretty darn cool and the views from inside!!! It was crowded when I was there and when the foreigners were gone a young couple was there wanting to get the full Shaman experience. I didn’t mind so much but they didn’t seem to want an audience so I skidaddled and left them to it. They were still there a half hour later when I finished exploring the area. So there’s more than one way to experience Sedona…

  6. Roger August 8, 2017 - 10:52 am Reply

    First off your dog is ADORABLE!! I’m having trouble with the directions you offered and for the life of me can’t see any map reference to Shaman’s Cave in Google Maps or AllTrails. This looks like a great place to see on my visit to Sedona next week. It looks like CuevaVentana (or Window Cave) in Puerto Rico, another must see!! Any way you can pin the site on gmaps and forward the location? Thanks.

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