It’s funny how things work out sometimes. A random entry into a lottery for ‘The Wave’ hiking permit gave me an opportunity to visit and hike in Sedona, Arizona. Honestly, I knew very little about Sedona (basically nothing) and had it not been on the way to Page, Arizona I probably would have never gone there. Luckily that was not the case as Sedona is naturally beautiful and hiking mecca.
Getting To Sedona
Getting to Sedona is rather simple. Flying into Phoenix is easy and you can usually find reasonably priced flights. From Phoenix, you will have to rent a car and drive 2 hours due north. The ride is very enjoyable as you’ll drive through cacti filled deserts, some reaching what seemed like 20 feet in height. After about an hour of driving through the desert you’ll gradually start to climb upwards as you exit the desert below and enter a more mountainous region. You’ll only make one road change on the entire journey and that is Exit 298 for 179 N. As soon as you get onto 179 N you’ll start seeing what Sedona is all about. Sedona is known for the vivid red rock formations that litter the landscape. When you think of wild west movies Sedona is your quintessential backdrop. In fact, many movies have been filmed there.
Hiking In Sedona
When we arrived in Sedona we stopped to get some water and snacks and to figure out where we should go hiking. This proved to be the most difficult part of our trip. There are so many trails to choose from we had a hard time deciding. You could easily spend a week or two hiking in Sedona and still not get to them all. Ultimately, we ended up picking a trail called Cathedral Rock. Only .7 miles, it’s not a particularly long route but it does rise rather quickly and there are some scrambling sections to navigate. It turned out to be both challenging and rewarding. Once you reach the top, the view is pretty impressive and we were treated by a man playing a wooden pan flute (see below).
A Detour On The Way Back Down
At the top of Cathedral Rock you could see a creek in the distance where people were swimming. This looked extremely inviting given that it was about 90 degrees out. We decided to go check it out but before this happened we needed to figure out how to get down there. The smart decision would have been to hike back down the same way we came up and loop around Cathedral Rock. Alternatively, there was a more direct route down the backside of the trail. By direct route, I mean just make a trail up as we go.
If you knew my buddy and I you’d already know that we went with the direct route. This turned out to be an adventure in and of itself. Not only was it extremely steep but we have to maneuver through cacti and washouts. Of course hindsight is 20/20 and for anyone that may be thinking of the direct route in the future, I highly recommend the long way.
But we made it down and after a short argument on which way to the creek (I was right) we found the creek and spent some time swimming. It was a perfect end to a great hike and we were able to cool off with Cathedral Rock in the background.
It may have been an accident that I went to Sedona in the first place but rest assured it was a welcomed accident to say the least. Sedona is definitely one of prettiest places I’ve ever been and it offers hours and days worth of hiking and outdoor activities. If you ever find yourself in Arizona don’t miss an opportunity to stop and visit Sedona.