Great Hikes Gorgeous Views – A Week in Red Rock Country

2014 11 13 Red Rock Country - Chuck Wagon Trail back to Mescal Trailhead

Sedona, Arizona

Let’s go hiking! With a little advance planning we managed to get a timeshare exchange into Sedona Springs Resort the second week of November. Luck was with us and the weather cooperated – beautiful days with temperatures just cool enough to need some layering clothes for our long hikes.
Tip: Make sure you stop at the Red Rock Ranger station – if you’re lucky and Mike Ward is there wait for him! He’ll give you personalized maps and what’s more – the trailheads and routes for the maximum views. If he’s not around, don’t worry… the other people can give you trail info – just make sure you get the individual maps of the trails to take with you on your hikes.

Our first hike turned out to be the longest – hey might as well get the big one done first! This is the hike you HAVE to do in Sedona – up Cathedral Rock.

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock

We followed all of our trail concierge’s recommendations and started this hike at the Templeton trail lot at the end of Verde Valley School Road. Nice scenery changes along Oak Creek and way on up up up to the end of the trail at Cathedral Rock.

It’s a good thing we had that huge comfortable condo to kick back in, great place to rest after fun filled hours on trails – especially after that first hike up Cathedral Rock, all we could manage that night was Chinese carry-in and the spa.

We mixed in a little Native American culture before and after some hikes – the Honanki site after our Chicken Point hike for a look at the petroglyphs and ruins of dwelings, and the Palatki Heritage site for a very interesting guided visit before our Soldier Pass hike.

Honanki ruins and Palatki cave pictographs

Honanki ruins, the trail to the Palatki ruins, Palatki dwellings, and Palatki cave pictographs

Tip: If you have to choose one Native American heritage site, go to Palatki. The guided visit may take 40 minutes to an hour. They limit the number of people so you need a reservation, easy to make with a phone call.

 

Grand Canyon Excursion

Sedona is 2-3 hours from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, it makes a long day and a long drive back but of COURSE it’s worth it to see this awesome natural wonder of the world.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Fry Break taco

Fry Bread Taco at the Cameron Trading Post

Tip: On the way to the Grand Canyon, stop at the Cameron Trading Post and split a Navajo Fry Bread Taco, these are huge and one will be plenty to share.

If you time your drive right, you’ll be around the main visitor center of the Grand Canyon before sunset. Find a spot along with everyone else for some beautiful views of the lighting changes as the setting sun lights the north rim, turning the canyon walls various shades of pink, lavender and blue.

So Many Trails…

Sedona has hundreds of hiking trails, just take your pick from beautiful wooded canyons to high open mesas. A consult with one of the volunteers at the Red Rock Ranger station or Uptown Sedona Visitor center will put you on the right path for the length of time you have and your ability.

Practicalities

Getting There

Sedona is a couple of hours north of Phoenix which makes a good stop after a long drive from San Diego. Break up the Phoenix to Sedona trip by stopping at Montezuma Castle National Monument and Montezuma’s Well.

Hiking in Sedona – Parking Permits

For most hikes in the Red Rock Ranger District you need to display a Red Rock Pass or a National Parks Pass (American the Beautiful Interagency Pass) in the windshield of your car. See the Red Rock Pass Program for where and when the pass is needed. Stop by the Red Rock Ranger Station or the Uptown Sedona Visitors Center to get a pass, helpful info, and maps.

My Trail Heads and Sights Map

Sedona locations


Have you been hiking in Sedona? What’s your favorite hike?

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