An easy introductory hike to the red rock country of Sedona, AZ. The twin sights of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte make this a hike of constant views. For us folks brought up in greener pastures, the red rock, green juniper and pine trees and spiky cactus and agave are always a treat for the eyes. Add blue skies and it’s picture-perfect hiking.
Our plan was to do the loop around Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte but we only had enough daylight to visit Bell Rock.
The high mountains and glaciers are not the only places to see alpenglow: for a few minutes after sunset, the rocks glowed bright with some of the most amazing light I’ve ever experienced. And then just as quickly, everything darkened and we picked our way back to the car.
There is a profusion of trails in the area, but it is straightforward to keep on the right path. It’s dusty and dry, though I imagine that a shower of rain would turn some patches to sticky mud. Some of the trails are shared with mountain bikers, though. The only place where the trail became indistinct was up on the slick rock of Bell Rock itself. We only followed the baskets of rocks part way up before cutting over on along a bench to pick up the downhill portion.
Note that you need either the Federal Lands pass or the Red Rock pass to park at the trailhead. Visit the tourist information centre in Sedona to get one.
Distance: 5 km
Elevation gain: 75 m
Photos on Flickr