by: Editor on 1/10/2017
Arizona, and especially the Sedona area, is world-famous for the “red rocks,” but how did they get that hue? Made of red sandstone formations, they can look like they glow a bright red and orange thanks to the sun’s rays. It’s no surprise that they’re a favorite backdrop for a number of activities from photography and hiking to spiritual retreats and, of course, outdoor weddings and photos.
The city of Sedona also has some unique history. The city was named for Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly, wife of the city’s first postmaster circa 1910. She was known for her hard work ethic and hospitality. However, her name was made up by her mother simply because “it sounded pretty.”
The sandstone red rocks are full of hematite, also known as rust, which stains the stones along Schnebly Hill especially deep. Much of the Sedona rock terrain is very steep because the top layer of the “strata” is made up of limestone and basalt—these materials are harder than the actual sandstone underneath.
When water runs along the edge of the terrain, the lower layers are eaten away to create the stunning cliffs Arizona is famous for. Eventually, big slabs break off and form canyons. Where the slabs have fallen away, you can see the raw material underneath before the process begins all over again.
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 8/10/2016
The Starlight Ride is a seasonal tradition for many, leaving during the late afternoon on select Saturdays June through September. You will be whisked away on the local train across the riparian canyon through a stunning sunset and into the moonlight. The August event takes place on the 20th and admission starts at $59.95. From 5:30-9:30 p.m., you’ll be covered under a blanket of stars as you’re guided through the Verde Canyon to see the gorgeous vista in a way few Sedona visitors get to enjoy.
It’s a romantic getaway that takes you to the turn-around point at Perkinsville during just the right time to give you a glimpse into the nightlife of Sedona. Celestial bodies provide the perfect backdrop to once-in-a-lifetime sightings, such as bald eagles flying into the horizon, all while the Verde River flows below you, reflecting the unbelievable sunset hues.
The Romance of a Train
These Saturday night train tours are a popular choice for date night, but they’re also great for families. It’s also a great alternative, or complement, to a hike through the canyon, and the on-site menu, like the Prickly Pear Margarita, goes perfectly with the scenery. See the unspoiled beauty of the canyon up close in an intimate setting where you can kick back, relax and take it all in.
Tickets do sell out, so book yours early here.
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 1/9/2016
You can go with a reputable tour company or create your own—there’s plenty to see and do in Sedona! Make sure you check out Cathedral Rock, a beautiful climb and/or great view. It’s ranked as the number one sightseeing destination on Trip Advisor and is a great place to start out your tour of Arizona’s stunning natural beauty. The Red Rock Scenic Byway is another option, letting you take in the beauty from the comfort of your car.
Chapel of the Holy Cross is a gorgeous chapel tucked into the Red Rock Mountains. It’s a testament to how the beauty of manmade destinations and Mother Earth can sometimes work harmoniously. Bell Rock is another favorite hot spot, offering distinct landmark features (and it’s great for photo opportunities!).
Check It Out!
Oak Creek Canyon offers stunning views and is a top choice for picnics year-round. Broken Arrow Trail is an off-roading vehicle hot spot, so if you plan to rent an ATV or four-wheeler, make sure to choose a company that offers trail rides at this spot. The West Fork Oak Creek Trail is another top choice, but with hiking and biking trails too.
Sedona star gazing is a must, whether you DIY or choose a tour company to guide your way. From Airport Mesa to Doe Mountain Trail, Sedona is an outdoor lover’s dream come true.