by: Editor on 3/29/2017
Take advantage of the relatively cool summer temperatures and hike Sycamore Canyon, the second biggest canyon in the state’s Red Rock Country. It’s not as famous as Oak Creek Canyon, and that’s part of its charm. Just as gorgeous, it’s much less crowded and allows for a peaceful and leisurely (or challenging at a fast clip!) hike through over 55,000 acres. You’ll find yourself amidst stunning cliffs, incredible pinnacles and a rare desert riparian environment.
Man Hikes in Grand Canyon.
All the way from the forest-covered rim close to Williams to the desert canyons in Verde Valley, Sycamore is a veritable smorgasbord of delights for outdoor lovers. Mountain lions and black bears roam this area, so stay alert, and stick to the trails. Generally, Sycamore is a safe and family-friendly space if you follow park regulations.
A Night to Remember
When dark falls, you might spot the famous ring-tailed cat, which looks a bit like a raccoon. They’re the official state animal, as selected by a survey of Arizona school children. More common are hermit thrushes and wrens, and Taylor Cabin is a favorite area that hearkens back to the Wild West era. At Parsons Spring Trail, you’ll find a rare and productive habitat.
Head to the Sycamore Rim Trail in Kaibab National Forest to discover incredibly tall trees and private natural pools. It was the first area to be dubbed a Wilderness Area in the 1970s. With a lot of trails and attractions from horseback riding to photography, consider it your secret Sedona getaway.
by: Editor on 10/1/2016
When a hike has “devil” in the title, you know it’s going to be bad in all the right ways! At the end of a steep trail that must be driven, you’re faced with a terrifying looking butte that hovers over the canyons. Start the drive early, otherwise one of the devilish tricks of the trail is battling the Arizona sun in your eyes the entire time. The trek from the parking area to the tip of the trail can be challenging in the heat, but well worth it.Keep in mind that going “all the way” can be terrifying and a little dangerous for those who aren’t used to demanding hikes. It is likely not the best option for those with kids, pets, or anyone who isn’t confident in their hiking abilities. There are no safety rails at the danger zone! However, there are avid hikers who take dogs and even newborns in slings to the very end.
A Hike to Remember
There’s an easy hike “just” to the bridge that’s very family friendly. If you’re renting a vehicle, opting for four wheel drive is a smart move. The roads are rough and difficult at times, which is why some ATV riders love the area. Keep in mind that the parking lot can fill up by about 10 a.m., so early risers are handsomely rewarded with a quiet, cool experience.
Pack a picnic lunch for the ride back or tough out the break area if you can handle the heat. You’ll be rewarded with views like no other, so don’t forget the camera. Most hikers say it’s well “worth it,” which means you definitely have to work for the end results. Are you up for taking on the devil?
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 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!