After grabbing a map at the visitor’s center, we decided to make our first “official” stop of the day the easiest.
A few miles south of Uptown Sedona, we used one of the notorious roundabouts to connect to the aptly named Chapel Road.
Let me tell you, as soon as you enter the city limits, the red rocks are everywhere. We already marveled at their colors and shapes while strolling throughout town (I mean it is impossible not to stop when you see them for the first time).
But, the drive east, thru Chapel Road, was actually taking us towards the base of the rocks, towards a point where some of them rise from the valley floor.
As the name of the road implies, we were headed towards the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a slender structure built into the buttes and considered one of the man-made wonders of Arizona.
We started by parking at the lower lot where the views of the actual chapel are phenomenal. The structure appears to float along with the red cliffs. It is not easy to understand how the entire constructions process took place.
Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a local rancher, was inspired to build a church after admiring the grandeur of the Empire State Building. She scouted several locations in Europe but World War II frustrated her plans and took her to her native land.
The design and execution of the project were in the hands of architects Richard Hein and August Strotz. A lot of people believe the chapel was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I believe they have this idea because Mrs. Brunswig considered him for her initial plans in Europe. The chapel was finished in 1956.
There is another parking lot located closer to the chapel entrance (short drive from the lower lot). From up there, there are views of Sedona in all directions.
West (notice the famous Cathedral Rock)
South (Bell Rock and other formations)
It was difficult to stop looking in all directions trying to imagine what the shape of the rocks resembles.
You can enter the chapel and spend some time there. The space is small but the views are expansive. A friend told me that the time to be there is during sunset. The architects designed the place on an angle that diffracts the dying sun rays in a special way.
There is a gift store at the bottom floor. In there I noticed pictures, of The Eagle, the protector of the chapel and of the entire city. Once I got out of the building, I searched for him. Do you see him?
Here is a close up.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross has won many prizes such as the Award of Honor by the American Institute of Architects. The property has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Landmark of the City of Sedona.
- This place can be visited free of charge.
- To access Chapel Road, drive south of Road 179. Signs will alert you where to turn.
- There is a parking lot at the bottom of the property and another located at a higher altitude (closer to the chapel entrance). There are a small number of parking spaces at the chapel entrance level but they are reserved for the disabled.
- Volunteers can take the disabled or people with walking problems to the chapel entrance (to the top, assuming the upper parking lot is full).
- Drive carefully. Remember there are people taking pictures all around.
- The restrooms are located at the lower parking lot.
Would you visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross?
Ready to pin? Let’s do this!