I was planning for a trip to Arizona. I decided to spend one day in Sedona. Though the number of places to visit in Sedona is so large that it’s not even close to possible to visit a few ones in one day. Still I wanted to see whatever I can in this short one-day period. A local friend suggested birthing cave. Not many people knew about this place back then. So, it was a few people and us.
When I first heard the name, I was a little curious, why ‘birthing’ cave? Later I read the history behind the name. Long time ago, Sedona was the home for the indigenous Hopi people. They have a certain belief about their birth which is they came from the center of the earth and are born of the mother’s womb. The Hopi people, who lived in the Red Rock area, used to send their pregnant women to this cave on Mezcal Mountain to give birth. The pregnant women used to hike up to the cave at this very stage of pregnancy, sit, wait, and pray until their child was born. I must say they are brave and courageous to hike to the cave just before their labor.
We started out hike in the afternoon. Before that, we had to park our vehicle off the side of the road at the Long Canyon trailhead as we could not find any spot. Most of the cars were doing so. Lack of proper parking spot can be irritating at times. I remember we had a really hard time and had to make several rounds just get a parking spot. Beware of this parking situation and have some extra time on hand. This hike is an easy one with not much elevation gain. So, anyone can do it. I would suggest doing any of the hike in Sedona when the weather is cooler. Scorching heat of summer can wear you out and you may not enjoy the hike as much as you intend to. Choose the month wisely and before you go check the weather just to make sure everything from your end.
The hike to Birthing Cave is flat and wide. From the long canyon trailhead, continue the main trail for 0.6 mile. After that, at a point you will find a fork. The main trail goes right and there is a small trail to the left. When we went there, it was hard to detect the trail as it was covered by tree branches and bushes. Please be mindful here, you have to take the less traveled small trail to the left. Don’t take the right trail. I am pretty sure you will be able to tell the difference once you are there. The smaller trail is the trail that will take you to the Birthing Cave. Walk around half a mile on this trail, you will find the path curves towards left and the red cliffs are on your right. The cave may be visible any time from here in the form of a slight depression in the cliff wall. The path that leads to the base of the cave is comparatively steep and a little rocky; so, watch out your step here. Please stay on the trail and do not take any shortcuts in order to protect the vegetation. Soon you will be able to experience the large shallow cave nestled into a cliff’s edge and the view is stunning. Though the cave looks like a shape of heart from the distance, but from inside the cave the shape is quite different. It’s like a huge tear drop hanging from the top the of cliff.
The hike is very peaceful, and the spot is magical which provides a stunning view of the Sedona vistas and the red rocks. We spent more than an hour inside the cave, had some snacks and simple enjoyed sitting there and doing nothing. I did not even check my phone except for taking some pictures and videos. There was a certain peace and energy in the air, it felt quite right just to be there. If you are looking for a short and easy hike with a view in Sedona, this is the place you should consider going.
At a glance/fact
- Total hike: 2 miles out and back
- Trailhead: Long Canyon trailhead (34.906583, - 111.824167)
- GPS coordinate of the cave: 34.913028, -111.836056
- Elevation change: around 400 feet
- Best time to visit: Spring (April, May) and fall (September, October)
- Permit / Entrance fee: no permit or entrance fee required.
- Parking: Park off the side of the road at Long Canyon Trailhead.
- Amenities: no facilities on the trailhead.
- Please stay on the trail. Don’t go off trail. It’s easy to get lost while in the desert.
- Check the weather and dress accordingly. If you are hiking in the summer months, don’t forget to bring hat, sunscreen, goggles, sufficient drinking water and light snacks.
- Some area inside the cave may feel a little curvy and uncomfortable to walk. Please be sure to wear sturdy shoes that provide enough traction and stay low on fours where you feel necessary.
- The cave is a scared place. So please be respectful and quiet while you are visiting.
- Also, please remember to practice leave no trace principle.