the wandering chick
Arizona's Red Rock Country
Sedona, situated between Phoenix and Flagstaff, calls itself Red Rock Country. It's pretty obvious why as you stand anywhere in the cozy little upscale town and gaze upward. You're surrounded by the sights of Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, Capitol Butte and Cathedral Rock.
The surrounding pictures are of the red rock formations surrounding the Chapel of the Holy Cross which is built into the rock. The chapel sits near the tree line at the base of the butte. The two vertical rocks to the right (in the pictures above and below) are called the Two Nuns. In the two pictures below you can also see what is called "Madona and Child." It is the shortest vertical rock formation just left of center.
The interior of the Catholic church, which is open to the public and one of Sedona's most popular destinations, is modern and well-done without losing its reverence. The views from the church grounds are spectacular.
Left: Courthouse Butte
Below: Bell Rock
The residential sections of Sedona are very smartly nestled into the moutains, with natural earth colors and local rock used for building and landscaping.
Above: Coffee Pot Rock
Below: Chimney Rock
Above: Taken from Boynton Pass Road
Below: Cathedral Rock
Above: Another view of Cathedral Rock
Right, above: The hazy colors of ornamental grasses seem to fit well into Sedona's landscape.
Right, below: A small wind stirs up the red Arizona sand
Along with its hiking and biking trails, Sedona is well-known for its off-road jeep tours. THE tour company that all the others wanna be is the Pink Jeep Tours. You wouldn't want to be caught dead in any other color jeep but pink, though there are several others out there.
The Pink Jeeps actually do have exclusive rights to some of the steeper boulders among the red rocks, and taking an adventure ride with them will have you wide-eyed and in awe of their capabilities.
Below are some shots I took on what they call their two-hour Broken Arrow Tour which goes to Submarine Rock, Chicken Point and up against the back of Chapel Butte.
This is Chicken Point. It gets its name from tours long ago when the jeeps were allowed to circle the piece of rock that's centered, putting the jeep certainly on the edge of the rock. Some of the drivers would chicken out. Today, of course, the law and liability prohibit the tour companies from taking the risk.
The Courthouse Butte Loop is a wonderful 4-mile hike that travels around Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. The rest of the shots were taken from that hike, on the Bell Rock Pathway.
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The Fay Canyon Trail is an easy two-mile hike off Boynton Pass Road. An additional hike can be made off the trail to the right to see the arch pictured above. The trail to the arch may be difficult to find, but it's possible that someone has set cairns to mark the beginning of the uphill path.
Above: along the Fay Canyon Trail
Below Left: at the end of the Fay Canyon Trail
Tlaquepaque Shopping Village is a fun spot to spend an afternoon in Sedona. Its unique specialty shops, galleries and restaurants are snuggled into the vine-covered stucco village tastefully graced with fountains, statues, arched entryways and leaning Sycamore trees. Get lost in the many corners and courtyards as you make your way through the shops.
Tlaquepaque, which means 'the best of everything,' has been a Sedona landmark since the 1970s. The surrounding shots were taken there.
The chapel on the grounds of the Tlaquepaque is for weddings. They even promise to ring the bells after the wedding in celebration.
Despite the snow and rain that central Arizona has received, there was still not enough to get a good reflection of Cathedral Rock from Oak Creek. We had to settle for puddles.
Oak Creek Canyon is a 12-mile gorge, formed mostly by Oak Creek, that runs between Flagstaff and Sedona. This and the following pictures were taken near Slide Rock State Park, which is at the southern end of the gorge. The canyon is a very popular and scenic part of Arizona, said to be equivalent, albiet on a much smaller scale, to the Grand Canyon.
This red rock formation can be clearly seen from uptown Sedona. The smaller formation on the right is fondly known as Snoopy in his usual prone position. The larger rock is called Lucy, according to the local Chamber of Commerce, because of the little knob on the flat part. Supposedly, it's a Lucy look-alike.
Highway 89A between Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon has stunning views of the red rock for which Sedona is so well known.