Where We Be
|Sunrise and sunset are the best times to enjoy the red rocks of Sedona -- they turn even redder!
A jam-packed day of sightseeing and hiking! We
started with a great overview of the city at
Airport Mesa. This flat high point 500 feet above
the city is popular for the dramatic views of the
red rocks behind Sedona. A pullout lower down
at Overview Point offered views we thought
were even better than those at Airport Mesa.
We started down SR 179 South, also known as
Red Rocks Scenic Byway. This awesome drive
passes some of the most iconic scenery in
Sedona, including Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock,
and Courthouse Butte. Our first stop was
Cathedral Rock, where we climbed steeply to
get to the top of a saddle between tall spires.
Cathedral Rock is listed as the #1 attraction in
Sedona and for good reason. It’s a dramatic and
challenging hike – short but steep. Just 0.7
miles in one direction, it requires using all four
limbs at times to get to the top (not to mention
back down). The saddle is a surprisingly flat
space between steep spires, and the views to
the red rock scenery beyond are fantastic. This
is definitely a place to soak up the scenery.
After lunch at McDonald's (the only one in the
world with turquoise arches due to Sedona's
strict color code ordinances), we drove to Bell
Rock and started a wonderful hike there. We
walked along Bell Rock Pathway for half a mile
until reaching Courthouse Butte Loop. Then we
circled Courthouse Butte, hiking four miles
through some gorgeous country – and on a
beautifully sunny day in the sixties. We were
both euphoric, especially early on near the
point where the two trails met. Here you could
see Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte head-on,
with other red rock formations in all directions.
We drove to several more scenic overlooks
along Red Rocks Scenic Byway. Our final stop
along the scenic byway was at the Chapel of the
Holy Cross, a small chapel dramatically tucked
up into the red rocks on a small plateau.
Watching the sun set is something of a religion
in Sedona. We finished the day where we began
at Airport Mesa, where we and a few hundred
other sunset seekers watched the red rocks of
Sedona turn even redder in the ruddy glow.
|Near sunset we took a drive along Red Rocks Loop Road (west of Sedona) and snapped this photo of Cathedral Rock with Courthouse Butte in the distance
|Chapel of the Holy Cross is a popular stop in Sedona, and one look will tell you why. Look at that dramatic setting!
|View of Courthouse Butte from a different angle. We made a loop around this magnificent piece of real estate.
|On the far side of Courthouse Butte is this small round dome of red rock that we both particularly liked. Robin said she would put a vortex here if it were
up to her. Vortexes are a big business in Sedona – supposedly Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Airport Mesa are all spots that house vortexes, or energy
centers where lines of power cross. Vortex tours are offered all over Sedona. They seem to coincide with the most magically beautiful spots in the area.
|These beautiful red rock formations are part of the 360 degrees of scenery you get as you hike along Bell Rock Pathway and Courthouse Butte Trail
|Courthouse Butte rises dramatically out of the flat lands surrounding it. It's easy hiking here, with lots of scenic bang for the buck.
|Bell Rock beckons you to bask in its magic for a little while. Vortex or not, it sure is beautiful!
|This photo gives a good idea of how flat the saddle is between tall spires at Cathedral Rock
|A scenic overlook halfway between the towns of Cottonwood and Sedona offered us our first view of the red rocks surrounding Sedona
|And here is Sedona itself as seen from Overlook Point (a scenic overlook near Airport Mesa)
|This is Cathedral Rock as seen from halfway up. The 0.7 mile hike up
to the saddle is steep but satisfying -- and the #1 attraction in Sedona.
|Feeling euphoric at all the gorgeous scenery surrounding us -- and on such a lovely day. Bell Rock rises directly behind us.
|Wow! The view from the saddle at Cathedral Rock was even better than we had expected.
|This is the saddle at Cathedral Rock, the highest point to which
you can safely hike. A red precipice still towers far above.
|More red rocks rise above this scenically blessed city
|A tree does what it has to to grow in an unlikely crevice at Cathedral Rock
|It says something about the nature of Sedona that they got even McDonald's to bend and change
their distinctive yellow arches to turquoise in order to comply with the city's color code ordinances
|The lower the sun got, the more dramatic the views became. No wonder everyone loves Sedona!