With over 80 hiking trails in and around the Sedona / Village of Oak Creek area, it has become an obsession to hike as many as possible.
We have walked about a couple places in the past when we’ve been here in the past but this time seemed different. We decided that we needed to be better equipped (something more appropriate than sandles and a 12oz bottle of water), so we brought a Camelback water pack, got some appropriate footwear, a funny looking hat, some hiking sticks, sun screen, and of course the obligatory trail mix to make the trek comfortable, stay nourished and hydrated in the process – I guess these things are important.
So where to start? A couple years back we stumbled across a trail head for Cathedral Rock. Not knowing that much about “hiking” other than put on your sneakers and start walking, we made the trek up (and up and up and …) until we reached the summit where we immediately pulled out a smoke and puffed away.
Now it’s like we are on a mission. We have a list of the 80+ hiking trails in the area, how they are rated, length, elevation change and everything we possibly need to know about the individual hikes themselves. So where to start? Back at the beginning of course – with Cathedral Rock.
Well, let’s not start easy and work our way up by any means. Cathedral Rock is more of a rock climb than a hike with elevation gain of some 600 feet. The first .25 miles is pretty much standard hiking trail emerging on a broad ledge with spectacular views. You are ascending steeply over bald rock, with a shallow crevice to navigate your way up to a small knob at the top. Continue up a moderately steep trail to the top of a wide saddle between two spires. For the more adventurous (like us), there is an additional climb on an unmarked trail providing a display of two more spires between sheer rock faces.
Words don’t do it justice – pictures help. See the Hiking gallery at http://www.homeinsedona.net/image-gallery/hiking/.
The next adventure was Brewer Trail. A short walk down the road to the trail head and up an easy climb on a well marked trail to some incredible overlooks of Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Butte, and the Village.
Brewer Trail merges with Coconino trail, both of which are relatively easy walks. This started out as a good idea to give our legs a break from the strenuous climb up Cathedral the day before but certainly didn’t end up that way. We would like to apologize to the Forest Service for our complete and utter inability to stay on the trail and ascend to elevations that clearly were not marked on the trail map. Seems that higher is the goal.
An easy walk around Brewer Trail and Coconino trail turned out to be a couple hour adventure resulting in some awesome photo opportunities! Look for the Brewer Trail pictures in the Hiking gallery as well.
The last hike of the week was to Devils Bridge. This hike just about eclipsed Cathedral Rock in that it was a little lengthier but the top of the bridge was so amazing.
The worst part of this hike was getting to the trail head. A 1.3 mile walk down a “road” that wasn’t suitable for passenger vehicles (no, we decided not to give this one a shot like we did Shnebly Hill several years ago in the rental car). We made the trek down the “road” and found the trail head.
The trail meanders some .75 miles where you reach a fork in the trail. The lower trail brings you around to the area beneath Devils Bridge and the upper trail is the money trail! There is an amazing steep natural rock stairway leading to the top of the trail then all of the sudden you get slapped in the face with this amazing view of Devils Bridge. You don’t know its coming and you can’t see it from anywhere else along the way so it comes as a complete surprise.
The top of the “bridge” is about 10-12 feet wide making for some shaky legs if you are not into that sort of thing. The drop off the side would prove perilous, making the adventure all that more exciting!
See the pics of us standing on top of Devil’s Bridge and the rest of the pictures from our hike on that trail in the Hiking Gallery.