Living on the West Coast has its perks. Like having the ability to make reasonable road trips out to some of the most beautiful sites in America. To celebrate Franco and I’s 8 year anniversary (yes you read that right, we’re actually high school sweethearts) we decided to head out to explore the new age mecca that is Sedona, and all it had to offer.
It took us about 7 hours or so to get to Sedona. Traffic leaving LA wasn’t terrible and the views were pretty cool along the way. I was so taken back by the amount of cacti in the state of Arizona. They’re everywhere and soooo big! I’m not sure what they feed those things, but it’s seriously ridiculous how gorgeous and strong the cacti are there.
We stayed close to the beginning of the Red Rock Scenic Byway which, by the way, is one of the most beautiful drives ever. Our hotel was really close to Bell Rock and walking distance to little cafes, crystal shops, and more. If you’re down to get rugged there are lots of places to setup camp and get your camp on. We went with the intentions of hiking as much as possible every day so coming back to a real bed and clean sheets was exactly what we needed.
Since we were only there for the weekend and left on a Friday we basically had 2 nights/1 day to get as much Sedona in as possible. Our main priority was to hike and take in views so we did a lot of that. We stopped at a couple of cute odds and ends gift shops but mainly just hiked the trip away.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
The Chapel of the Holy Cross’ architecture has always intrigued me. It’s situated on a cliffside and is pretty visible from the scenic byway. Once a Catholic church, it’s now regarded as a universal church open to all. They don’t hold services there anymore but you can view the church and check out the gift shop during operating hours. I was surprised by how much smaller it was than I imagined it to be but was happy to stop by and check it off the list. It’s a beautiful church and a popular tourist attraction. Definitely a must see if you’re in the area.
The first night we got there around 3pm, visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and then went to take on our first hike of the trip: Cathedral Rock. We didn’t really know much about the background of the hike but we knew it was a top rated trail so we figured we’d check it out. Cathedral Hike is easily one of the best hikes I’ve ever been on. The views were gorgeous, it was a bit challenging, and you really felt like you got the whole Sedona experience. On the way up to the top of the trail, you’re surrounded by warped juniper trees and red rocks. Sedona is said to be home to four main vortexes and the Cathedral Rock trail takes you through one of them. The Sedona vortexes are largely part of why the city is renowned as a new age epicenter. But, back to the hike. At some points we had to get on all fours to get up the trail. The view at the top was super beautiful and you could walk alongside the edge of the rock. It was our first and favorite hike of the whole trip.
We were super excited to take on the Devil’s Bridge hike because of the cool photo op at the end of the trail, a red rock bridge situated amongst the mountains. If you don’t have an ATV or 4×4, there’s a trail to get to the trail. That in itself felt longer than the actual trail. We completed this hike super fast because of time restrictions with a jeep tour we were doing later and it was actually pretty easy. This trail is definitely one of the more popular trails though. If you’re not into congested hiking, this one may not be for you during peak hours. When we got to the bridge we took a couple of photos and got back down pretty quickly. The bridge is definitely wider than it looks in the photo, but still just as intimidating when you’re standing on top of it. I definitely recommend this hike as a cool experience for all levels.
Soldier Pass Trail
When you visit you’ll see a tonnnn of jeep tour people everywhere. We ended up doing one to the Soldier Pass Trail to see the Seven Sacred Pools (seven pools that always have water in them no matter what the conditions were) and had an awesome time. There’s something about almost falling out of the side of a jeep on some beautiful red rocks that just does it for ya. Anyways, if you’re ever in Sedona hop onto a jeep tour, don’t eat a full meal before you get on, and try to get Mike from Red Rock Jeep Tours because he was awesome.
Last but not least, we did the hike from hell. Our jeep tour guide told us to check out the Airport Loop scenic viewpoint at sunset. We took his recommendation and decided to start walking on the Airport Loop trail to another viewpoint. Everything was going great until we had to come back. It was 40 minutes before sunset and we were going to complete the loop which, from the way the sign read, was only going to be another .6 miles back. Well the other part of the loop is actually 3.6 miles on a rocky boring path and we found ourselves power walking back to civilization at 8 o’clock at night in pitch black. I never wanted to be off a trail so bad in my life. The moral of the story is, never start an unknown hike at sunset. This is the second time we’ve learned this lesson and every time is just too damn stressful. Stay off the hikes at sunset kids.