Hiking Hotspot: The Teacup Trail in Sedona, Arizona
There are endless trails to choose amongst in breathtaking Sedona, some being quick in-town hikes that can be completed in an hour or so, while others are all day adventures requiring a bit of extra preparation. One thing all Sedona hikes have in common is tremendous views which you will not find anywhere else in the world. The stunning ancient red rock formations provide a photo worthy backdrop for every one of the dozens of trails scattered about the region. There really is no bad view in Sedona – any hike will reward you with amazing photos and even better memories.
One of the “best bang for your buck” hikes is the Teacup Trail. If you are not familiar with the Sedona area, know that each of the red rock formations has a different name based on the natural appearance of the red rocks. This particular trail is known to be the best for taking in the sights of Coffeepot Rock, which resembles a coffee spout. Look to the right of the photo below – can you make out the spout and lid of the coffee pot? To the left of the Coffeepot rock is Teacup Rock, although it is not really as distinguishable as some of the other rock formations in my opinion.
Not only is the Teacup trail close to town (as opposed to many others which require a lengthy drive), it offers great views without as much effort as the more difficult hikes. You do not need to scale any big mountains to enjoy fantastic views here. There are a few small uphill upclines, however, nothing too difficult that would overly challenge a regular hiker. Being that it is neither overly strenuous nor too easily, Teacup is a great choice for any regular hiker looking for fabulous views without an exhausting full day of effort required.
The Teacup/Sugarloaf Trail is an easy 2 mile round trip loop which takes you on an incredibly scenic journey to the summit of Sugarloaf Hill via the base of Coffeepot Rock. Because the trail is so short, it is one of the few that is bearable during Sedona’s incredibly hot summer season. And even though it is close to town, you will feel totally in immersed in nature the second you begin hiking. It’s quite impossible not to with the stunning vistas surrounding you every step of the way.
Diverse desert plant life gives this trail a really lush look, which is especially striking against the red sandstone and a bright blue sky. This is one trail where you will want to keep your head up at all times – the views really are out of this world. The Teacup Trail is hands down my favorite area hike, and thus, I find myself coming back to it time and time again when seeking a tranquil nature escape from the tourist congestion.
While not the most challenging, the Teacup trail is just the perfect choice for a relaxing, rejuvenating day out in nature. Benefits of hiking the Teacup trail include enjoying the less congested setting, an easy to get to trail head with no long drive down a dirt road required, a short & refreshing workout that will not knock you off your feet for the rest of the day, & gorgeous views accompanying you for the entire journey – it does not get much better! If this sounds like your cup of tea, then be sure to add the Teacup trail to your Sedona trail itinerary.
The loop starts off along the Teacup Trail with incredible vistas in every direction. A short little detour along the Sugarloaf trail (about .4 miles into the hike) will take you on a short climb up to an amazing overlook with more panoramic views of the area. Views of notable rock formations like Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, & Airport Mesa are breathtaking. You will want your camera for this one! If you have the extra time and stamina, it is worth the extra effort to combine both trails. The loop comes in just 2 miles roundtrip and should only take up about an hour and a half of your time. It’s a must-do while in Sedona – trust me! As an alternative, you can hike just the Teacup Trail out-and-back for a total of 2.5 miles – a bit longer, but also a bit easier. It’s your choice – views are excellent either way!
Bring plenty of water. You must drink up in desert, high altitude climates like Sedona even if you do not feel thirsty! A camelbak is a convenient water backpack that I use as opposed to a single water bottle, which often is not enough.
Be aware that this trail is not shady. Set out early in the morning during the summer months. A hat, sunglasses, lip balm, and sunblock are recommended.
A hiking stick provides extra traction for going downhill. You can find these at any area hiking stores, as well as the Sedona visitor’s center.
Have a casual lunch restaurant picked out for post-hike – you will work up quite an appetite! I recommend Indian Gardens (Delicious healthy fare like salads & sandwiches) on Oak Creek Canyon or Hideaway House (great comfort style Italian food).
The trailhead is located at: Buena Vista Dr Sedona, AZ 86336. A red rock pass is required.