There are very few places on earth more beautiful than Sedona, south of Flagstaff, Arizona. The town sits in land sculpted by wind and water and time, leaving brilliantly colored spires and buttes, arches and cliffs soaring above the desert. The red sandstone of the area turns even more rosy-hued at sunset. If you spend any time hiking in Sedona, you will understand why the Anasazi considered this place sacred.
The best way to see Red Rock Country is by hiking it. Here are some wonderful trails.
Cathedral Rock Trail
A very popular hike because of the incredible views, this trail is only 1.2 miles round trip from the parking area off Back O’Beyond Road. (The parking area is small and fills up by 11 AM. Come early or late.) However, there is a 740 foot elevation gain in a short distance. You will find yourself scrambling up slopes, using hands and feet, more climbing than hiking. Do not bring your dogs. It would be difficult for them.
The view from the top is well worth the effort. If you can catch it at sunset, you may get some spectacular photos.
Devil’s Bridge Trail
This is another short, but precipitous hike with most of the 400 foot elevation gain at the end. The trailhead is off Dry Creek Road. The parking area is large, but fills up quickly and parked cars line Dry Creek Road. The hike itself is 1.8 miles roundtrip, but can be much longer, depending on how far away you have to park.
The first part of the trail is easy. The going gets a little tougher as you progress, but the steepest part is the natural stone stairs at the bridge.
You can’t really see the bridge from below. There are two sets of stairs in the rocks which require climbing. Once you reach the top, you can see the bridge, 54 feet high and 46 feet long. You can go out on top of it, but the wait for that opportunity can be as long as one to two hours. The hike has been popularized via social media and what was once a solitary walk in beauty and peace is now crowded.
The bridge, however, remains a marvelous example of nature’s beauty.
West Fork Trail #108 Oak Creek
The trailhead is at the Call of the Canyon day-use area. The parking area is small, so come early or come late. There is a fee of $5 per vehicle. The hike is just under seven miles roundtrip with little elevation change and meanders along the creek through tall trees which provide shade.
The trail crosses the stream thirteen times. As you progress along the path, the canyon walls start to close in until they are towering overhead. The hike ends when there is nowhere left to go.
Walking through the woods beside the sun dappled water is one of the pleasantest hikes you will ever enjoy. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon, the trail is not crowded and the peace and quiet of the canyon can be appreciated.
Besides hiking, there are many other things to do in Sedona.
Eating in Sedona – This is an experience not to be missed.
- Cress on Oak Creek offers a seven course tasting menu that will expand your culinary horizons as it delights your palate with southern European cuisine.
- Saltrock Southwest Kitchen is noted not only for its wonderful Southwest cuisine but also for the beautiful views from every table.
- Combine American cuisine with Native American and you get Che Ah Chi in Boynton Canyon. Extraordinary food and spectacular views blend into an unforgettable dining experience.
- For informal, but wonderful food, which can be packed to go, try the Hilltop Deli.
- There are many excellent eateries in Sedona. Try a new one for each meal.
Pink Jeep Tours
The bright pink jeeps carry you out of the way to places and views. The staff is friendly, the drivers knowledgeable and engaging, the tours imaginative and fun. What more could you ask?
Chapel of the Holy Cross
Built in 1956 into the rock cliff, this Roman Catholic Chapel was commissioned by sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. You can drive in and park. Or you can take the 4.5 mile hiking trail which starts at Little Horse Trail. Either way, the unique chapel is a must see.
Sedona is unique. A fascinating town sits in the middle of breathtaking scenery. If you’ve never been to Sedona, start planning your trip now. The best time to visit is in March or April or late October to November. Arizona in the summer can be daunting with temperatures in the 100s. Come experience hiking in Sedona.