by: Editor on 11/2/2016
The Red Rocks are renowned for hiking, mountain biking and exploring, but don’t miss out on Bell Rock, one of Sedona’s smaller hidden gems. It’s a short, accessible hike at just 0.75 miles long and takes you up the northern face of the aptly named Bell Rock. The trail is marked clearly and begins at the Bell Rock Pathway. At the peak, you’ll take a loop before gently descending.
This is a favorite short hike for locals and can be a popular pick on weekends and holidays. It’s best to tackle this outing early mornings or on off days, such as weekdays and key holidays (Thanksgiving is a perfect pick!). Many rock climbers also try to take on the rock itself.
A Rocking Good Time
The slide area is a unique challenge that some hikers like to attempt, and to the east is a spot where you can try to climb even higher. Getting to the peak of the spires is an obstacle nervier hikers attempt, but you’ll need plenty of experience for this. To go above and beyond turns Bell Rock into a hazardous and strenuous hike. However, the rewards are incredible with views you can’t get anywhere else in Sedona.
The short trails and numerous options make Bell Rock a great choice for groups with a variety of skilled hikers. Take the northern parking lot to the base of Bell Rock for a simple hike, or choose the Lower Bell Rock Trail. A moderate hike can be made via the Upper Bell Rock Trail, or try the Ascent if you’re an experienced hiker.
by: Editor on 8/12/2016
The Honanki Heritage Site is located in Red Rock country and, along with the sister site Palatki, are the biggest cliff dwellings in the area and are estimated to have formed circa 1200 AD. The Hopi ancestors, the Sinagua, called Honanki home and used the space to raise families, create tools and leather goods, and prepare meals. In the nearby area, the Sinagua hunted rabbit and deer, which are still found in abundance today. There are a number of nearby edible plants, too.
Today, the heritage site can be found on the outskirts of Sedona and is governed by the US Forest Service via the Red Rock Pass Program. The site is open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here, you’ll find an interpretive site and restroom facilities. A Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass is required for all vehicles and can be purchased from a number of local retailers.
Rules of the Rocks
Pets are only allowed in the parking lot area. There are hiking trails throughout the area suitable for most ages and abilities. To access the site, head 17 miles northwest of Sedona on Highway 89A via West Sedona. Past mile marker 365, you’ll turn right onto Forest Road 525. Follow 525 for 9.5 miles past the Loy Canyon Cattleguard trailhead.
Many consider Honanki a spiritually rich site, and it’s a favorite for meditative walks. It’s a must for any Sedona visitor and a welcome respite from the bustle of the city.
by: Editor on 7/24/2016
Every Wednesday and Saturday, a complimentary guided walk is offered at the Red Rock State Park’s Center for Environmental Education. Meet on the viewing deck right above the visitor center, and a birding enthusiast will take you on a journey for all birding levels and nearly all ages/abilities. Whether you’ve never gone birding before or you’re a seasoned pro, this is a gorgeous way to get to know some of the feathered locals in the area.
Bring your binoculars and allow the Audubon Society’s designated Important Birding Area (IBA) to showcase some of the many bird species that call Sedona home. All walks are included with the requisite park entrance fee. Come to 4050 Red Rock Loop Road for a unique experience, or call 928-282-6907 for more information.
A Rocky Start
Red Rock State Park is home to the Mars-like red sandstone caverns that offer some of the best photography experiences in the area. Preserving the “riparian habitat” that runs along Oak Creek is the primary mission of the park governors, and offering birding walks is one of the many ways to share the beauty of the red rocks with locals and tourists alike.
If you don’t have binoculars, swing into one of the many outdoor stores in town, because you don’t want to miss this!
by: Editor on 7/17/2016
Home to some of the most impressive vortexes in the country, a Scientific Vortex Tour takes place year-round, including the Major National Retreat in July, with complete instruction on tapping into the spiritual/meditative power of vortexes. There are 2.5 hour tours offered every Monday in the Coconino National Forest with guided reflections.
Customize a Vortex Briefing for Groups, or mini-retreats and extra sessions are also available for smaller groups of four or less(?). Vortexes are energy locations that are “enhanced” and prime for meditation, prayer, and mind/body healing. Although often compared to a magnetic and electric force, that’s not at the core of vortexes. Their real explanation is on the outskirts of today’s known science.
One of the most comprehensive recent coverage on vortexes can be found on the Nova program on PBS, which claims that vortexes have energy flows in the deeper dimensions. Some believe this allows your “soul to soar” more easily, allowing for more inspiration and easier stress reduction. Many have found relaxation and peace while visiting the vortexes.
Sedona is unique because all major vortexes are located in a relatively small geographical area. Overlapping into the metro of the city, it’s easier to see how a visitor’s spiritual life intersects with their everyday experience.
by: Editor on 4/4/2016
Meet fellow bird lovers at 9am every Wednesday and Saturday during the month of April. Located at the Visitor Center of the Arizona Red Rock State Park, a naturalist guide will take you on a walk suitable for birders of all levels. Binoculars are recommended. If you prefer a DIY approach, start from the Hummingbird Patio and don’t forget the Visitor Center’s roof! Most birds can be spotted in the riparian area near Oak Creek. All walks are included with park entrance fees.
Daily guided nature walks are also available starting at 10am. Meet with a volunteer as you’re taken on a journey throughout the park. Learn about various life zones, wildlife, geology, archaeology, and the history of the park.
Meet Mother Nature
Inside the Visitor Center is a theater, where displays and exhibitions are in constant rotation. Information on the flora and fauna of the area, an interactive Sedona map, and the House of Apache Fire’s computer program information booth is here. “The Natural Wonders of Sedona” narrated by John Conway is featured many times throughout the day.
There are also special events throughout the month but may be posted on short notice. From Native American drumming to meditative walks, check with the State Parks system to see what will spring up in April!
by: Editor on 3/26/2016
Outdoor adventurers come from around the world just to discover the incredible hiking in and near Sedona. Airport Loop Trail might not have the best name, but it’s an enjoyable trail that offers a prime view at Overlook Point. The elevation shift is mild, the parking lot is clearly marked, and there’s enough trail to allow for a lengthy hike if that’s your MO.
At Bell Rock Pathway, hikers enjoy Bell Rock (of course) as an easy to spot final destination (and a great space to break for lunch). The eastern part of Twin Buttes can also be seen from this trail, as well as a little wooden bridge that’s prime for a photo opportunity.
Take a Hike!
Doe Mountain Trail takes you up the west side of a sloping mountain and is best tackled in the morning so you can enjoy shade both up and down the trail. Just 0.7 miles long and with an elevation change of 400 feet, this is a trail that most ages and abilities can manage. At the very top there’s a steep stepping stone section, so proper footwear is a must.
Also check out the Crescent Moon Picnic area, Dry Creek Vista, and dozens of more trails surrounding the Sedona area!