Cathedral Rock is one of the most popular hiking trails in Sedona. The views during sunset are immaculate and the experience of having to hike and climb to get to the top is unique. Karina & Kegan wanted to adventure for their Cathedral Rock engagement photos from top to bottom so that is what we did!

Adventurous couple hiking in Sedona for their Cathedral Rock Engagement Photos

Preparing for Our Cathedral Rock Hike

We started our adventure at the base of Cathedral Rock. The lighting was super harsh because of the high sun so we took the first engagement session photos in Sedona in the shade. Once the sun started to set, it was time to start our climb.

Hiking the Cathedral Rock trail in Sedona, Arizona is more of a climb than a hike. You need to lift yourself above large formations on the mountain using both hands and legs. Comfy and good tread hiking shoes is the preferred shoe option when preparing for your hike.

From the bottom of Cathedral Rock (where the shuttle bus drops you off) to the very top of the mountain it takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on how many snack and water breaks you need to stop and take.

After a slow and steady pace we finally made it to the top of Cathedral Rock! Karina & Kegan brought a picnic blanket to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and catch their breath from the climb up. Of course I had to capture some intimate and cuddly photos while they were enjoying their time together.

Sunset Sedona Cathedral Rock Engagement Portraits

The best time to take portraits at Cathedral Rock is during the weekday at sunset, or my favorite time of day, Golden hour.

After adventuring around the top and taking some super cute photos around the rim of the mountain, we finished our day together by celebrating K + K’s engagement with a champagne spray. In order to leave no trace I made sure Kegan popped the cork and held onto it before spraying with excitement.

Once the celebration was over and some bubbly was tasted we packed up all of our belongings and climbed back down Cathedral Rock before it was too dark. Surprisingly, Karina’s white vans stayed pretty clean and didn’t pick up a lot of the red sandstone mud!

Adventurous couple hiking in Sedona for their Cathedral Rock Sunset Engagement Photos

Tips for Sunset Engagement Photos at Cathedral Rock in Sedona

Go During an Off-Peak Time

Adventure during the week day and not during tourist season. I can’t stress this enough! An average of 3 million tourists a year visit Sedona and with Cathedral Rock becoming more popular it can be difficult to enjoy your time adventuring with so many people around you.

Vising during a quieter time like a week day or during a slow month like March or November is my favorite time to explore Sedona. Plus, you’ll want your Sedona engagement photos to feel intimate and just you two! Having crowds around you may feel awkward and not as fun.

Prepare for Difficult Parking

The parking situation when the trailhead is open for parking can fill up within minutes, so plan accordingly and arrive earlier than you need to be.

Thursdays – Sunday, or every day during tourist season, you are required to take the Sedona shuttle to Cathedral Rock and cannot park at the trailhead. The shuttle bus is complimentary. They pick you up every 15 minutes and stops running before sunset, so during late sunset hours you either have to miss the sunset or walk 2+ miles back to your car at the shuttle bus stop.

Plan Ahead for Weather

Sunny or cloudy days are the best days to visit Cathedral Rock. The sun can be harsh so take extra time to plan on what times are best for photos. Do not plan to visit when there is any rainfall in Sedona. Cathedral Rock is highly dangerous to climb when wet and you can easily slip and fall. Plus, the trailhead is a flash flood zone and you can get either washed away or trapped on the other side trying to get back to the parking lot.

Wear the Proper Shoes

Cathedral Rock in my opinion is more of a 1 mile climb than a hike. Wearing shoes with good ankle support and tread will help you climb the large rocks easier and you’ll have a less chance of slipping. If you want to wear cute shoes for photos plan to put them on before the climb.

Pack the Essentials

Bring lots of snacks, water, a first aid kit, and a headlamp or flashlight. The climb to the top of Cathedral Rock can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour depending on how many times you need to take a break – this trail is a workout! Bring snacks to reenergize yourself. More water than you need. A first aid kit because you may scrape your leg while climbing. And a headlamp or flashlight for if it gets too dark and you need extra light.

Leave No Trace

Pack it in, pack it out! Do not leave any trash or food behind. It is disrespectful and harmful to wildlife and nature. And please stay on the trail and do not adventure off trail and step on any flowers, vegetation, plants, or soft surfaces.

Cathedral Rock is definitely a bucket list location to explore when visiting Sedona. If you remember to plan ahead and to Leave No Trace our world will stay beautiful for years to come! If you are wanting to take Cathedral Rock engagement photos, reach out! I would love to help capture your adventure!

Hey, I’m Kelcee!

I would love to be your Cathedral Rock Sedona Engagement photographer

I’ve been capturing Sedona engagements since 2021, and it’s my passion to help adventurous couples like you to create the best engagement experience possible.

Planning your marriage is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you deserve the support to make it uniquely yours. Together, we’ll create quality memories that beautifully tell your love story, lasting a lifetime.

8 Comments

  1. What a breathtaking location, I love the gentle colours! Thank you for sharing your beautiful images and this very helpful guide 🙂

  2. What a beautiful cathedral rock engagement session! You captured their love so well.

  3. What a fun Cathedral Rock engagement session! This location never disappoints, but added with their adventure at the bottom – so fun! Great tips for visiting this popular destination 🙂

  4. Christine says:

    What a freaking killer sunset engagement session!

  5. You documented this sweet engagement amazingly well! Lucky couple

  6. Cathedral Rock looks like a rad location for an engagement session! That first shot is amazing. I love it!

  7. Gosh, I need to visit Sedona so bad! Such a gorgeous engagement session location and you captured the beauty so perfectly!

  8. All of these images are just gorgeous! Beautiful spot too! I especially love all the compression in your shots at Cathedral Rock!

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