Arizona Part 3: Sedona

Day 1: Arriving in Sedona

I woke up earlier than expected, I had passed out after hiking the Grand Canyon the day before. Today the plan was to explore the Grand Canyon and than drive to Sedona, or so I thought. I laid in bed checking out what part of the Grand Canyon we could explore that day, I probably should have looked at the window first—or at least like the weather App on my phone. Finally after finding all the amazing places that we could explore that day, I looked at the weather…snow, but we are from NY how bad could a little snow really be? We began to carry our stuff out to the car—I kid you not white out conditions, we knew the Grand Canyon was there, but we couldn’t see a thing.

 

We explored some shops, and did some shopping in hopes that the snow would slow down. We drove over to the Bright Angel store, and started to walk around along the grand Canyon—-naturally I fell HARD right on my butt sounds about right being how coordinated I am. It didn’t look like the weather was going to improve, so we decided to head South to Sedona in hopes of finding better weather.

 

Arizona has some truly scenic highways—especially as you get closer to Sedona; everywhere you look are these amazing Red Rock formations. I have never seen anything like this. We pulled into our Hotel at around 4pm; the Best Western Arroyo Roble Hotel and Creekside Villas. The hotel’s location was perfect (which was surprising to me, because I just searched Hotels in Sedona and blindly picked one). It was walking distance to the town and a short drive from all hikes we were doing.  Our initial plan was to take the day easy, and rest but after driving past all the Red Rocks on the way in, how could we not go out and hike one?

Since we were still a little tired from our hike the day before, we had driven for several hours in the snow, and sunset was coming, we decided to hike the Cibola Pass and Jordan Trail loop; a nice short 2-mile loop (that we totally added to and explored the area as we went). Hiking on these trails in Sedona, it is so easy to link trails together and make whatever length hike you want.

We explored the trail in constant awe of the red rocks—nothing like the snowy mountain caps that we were used too. After about two hours of exploring, it started to rain.  We decided it was time to go back to the hotel and get some food. We ended up eating at Agave 89.  They had a nice selection of Gluten Free options! We got there salsa sampler, OMG so delicious! Highly recommend! Plus there street tacos are incredible.

 

DAY 2: Cathedral Rock, Brins Mess to Solider pass, and Devils Bridge

 

The next morning we woke up and got ready to hit the trails, our mission was to hike as many of them as possible.  The plan was to wake up and go for a hike, go back to the hotel for breakfast, and then hike as much as we could until we were just to tired to hike anymore. Our First hike for the day was Cathedral Rock a 1.2 mile out and back trail, with 744 ft elevation gain. Sedona is considered a vortex.  Vortices (the plural) are thought to be swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation, and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy. Many people feel inspired, recharged or uplifted after visiting a vortex.  Although all of Sedona is considered to be a vortex, there are specific sites where it is said that the energy crackles most intensely. The four best known Sedona vortexes are found at Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon—each radiating its own particular energy.

 

The trail up Cathedral rock got a little steep near the end, but otherwise not too bad!

When you go to the top there is a sign that says “End of Trail.”

There are incredible views in both direction. It was a perfect way to start our first full day in Sedona!

After breakfast it was time to Set out for our second hike of the day Solider Pass to Brins Mesa Loop, a 5-mile loop trail that I totally ended up turning into a 6-mile plus hike. After a short walk we got to a rock formation known as the Devils Kitchen, see picture below:

This is a heavily trafficked loop, so we ran in to a lot of fellow hikers. The trail is relatively flat 830 ft of elevation gain across the 5 mile trail. The coolest part of the hike is all of the amazing red rock formations on either side of you. You can’t help but stop and take picture after picture.

We next set out to visit one of the most picturesque hikes in Sedona, Devils Bridge. I am sure that if you have seen any photos of hikes in Sedona, this is probably the one that you have most likely seen. We were worried that this hike would be extremely packed, but because of our late start, we got lucky! Our entire way up we passed so many people on their way down, but when we got to the bridge there was only about 5 people there. We all helped each other take photos. I was worried that standing on the bridge was going to be more nerve wracking than it was, as I have already told you all, I don’t do well with heights.  A thin rock bridge was something that obviously caused me to have some hesitation, but I had get the picture, so …

When you come down the trail from the bridge and you make the initial descent the trail forks, back the way you had come from or to the right. Turn to the right. It gives you an entirely new perspective of the bridge.

We decided to call it a day and explore the town of Sedona.  Since Sedona is vortex, the town is filled with crystal shops and psychics. They also have some really cool galleries. Since it was winter a lot of these shops close fairly early, so we stopped for some dinner and called it a night.

 

Day 3: Doe Mountain and Bear Mountain

On day 3, we got a little bit of a later start. We drove over to Bear Mountain to tackle that, but when we got there we realized that Doe mountain was right across the street. So why not just do both?  We started with Doe Mountain, a 1.6-mile trail with 538 ft of elevation gain. Sedona has these tour guides called the Pink Jeeps. This is one of the hikes they will take you to. It is a fairly easy hike with switch backs, but the views are so amazing for minimal effort.

Now on to Bear Mountain. This was one of the more challenging hikes we did in Sedona, but also my favorite … 2,000 feet of elevation gain in about 4.3 miles.  The trail has 3 false summits, before you finally reach the actual summit.  We were unaware of this when we made it to the top of the first summit. Thankfully, we ran into a fellow hiker who was nice enough to let us know.

The entire trail up there were incredible views on both sides.

The 3 days of hiking before, plus the Grand Canyon were starting to catch up with me and I was totally feeling this hike. My head was pounding, there was probably also some dehydration kicking in as well—As I constantly remind, drinking water is EXTREMELY important.  When we finally got to the final summit the views were spectacular.

From the summit, you can see in the distance, the high peak of Arizona, Mt Humphreys. We were actually planning on climbing this mountain on this trip, but after reviewing the weather (many feet of fresh snow) and evaluating the risks (higher chance of avalanches), we had decided that it would be the best option to save Humphrey for a future trip to Arizona. After seeing the snow-capped mountain from Bear, we realized we made the right decision. When going on a trip, it is common that you have to changing you hiking plans; weather is unpredictable. It may be disappointing but it is important to step back and be able to make the best decision. Your safety is most important, the mountain isn’t going anywhere.

Day 4: Bell Rock and Munds Wagon Road to Merry-Go-Round Rock

Another early morning hike … I could get use to this. I honestly wish I lived closer to the mountains so that I could wake up and just drive ten mins to a hike. We started our day by climbing Bell Rock, this is one of the Vortex. It is a big formation that is literally in the shape of a bell.  We walked around the entire mountain before finding a path that goes up ¾ of the way. It had some nice scrambles on the way up.  We stopped to take some photos and ran into a fellow hiker.  She informed us that you were supposed to set an intention at this vortex and a plan that you want to achieve….I stopped and set mine, lets see what the rest of the year brings. 😉

After breakfast we decided to do Munds Wagon Road to Merry-Go-Round Rock a 6.4 mile hike, 1,299 ft of elevation gain. The hike starts pretty level for the first 2 miles. The trail is next to the dirt road that the jeep tours travel. Once you get to the Merry-Go-Round Rock there are tons of views.

We did not realize at first that you could get to the top of the Merry-Go-Round rock structure, since on most of these hikes you can’t really summit.  We realized that there was a jeep tour at the top of Merry-Go-Round. We walked around until we found a dirt road. It took some figuring out and some wandering, but we found our way to the top, and man was it worth it.

After a little rest, we decided to go to Airport mesa to watch the sunset. This was an unsuccessful trip, I recommend going an hour or two before, the area fills up quick. By the time we got there it was beyond packed.

 

Day 5: Little Horse to Broken Arrow to Submarine Rock

 

For our last day we strung together several hikes that had been recommended by people in town. We started with Little Horse to Broken Arrow. An easy picturesque hike.

 

 

When we got to Broken Arrow, we realized that we weren’t far from Submarine Rock-we saw a lot of people over there, so figured why not add it on? While walking this trail you can see jeeps on the steep red rocks-I have heard of off roading, but this was another level. I have never seen anything like this!

 

Submarine rock is an incredible rock structure with amazing views.

It was time for us to say goodbye to Sedona after 5 amazing days, and what better way to end the trip than with prickly pear ice cream.

 

The next day we would be leaving Arizona and my first big hiking trip would be coming to an end. I have to say that it was one of the most incredible trips of my life, I can not wait for next trip! Keep following to see where the future takes me!

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