In Sedona, there is a view that triumph all others.
Now, you would ask how is that possible in an area where unusual rock formations, red buttes and terracotta mountains abound. It seems like you need additional oxygen since starring at any direction leaves you gasping.
To be honest, even the slightest drive around Sedona will fill your ‘this place is incredible’ quota for months (maybe for years). However, like it happens with many notorious places, there is a particular view that has become the ‘emblem’ or the ‘archetype’ of Sedona.
I am referring to the sight of Cathedral Rock and its reflection over Oak Creek. Photographers love to take a picture of this spectacle of nature during sunset or sunrise. Look at the picture below to see what I am referring to (maybe it looks familiar).
As you can imagine, I had a great interest in finding the right spot to photograph my own version of the scene. I mean, you find this photo in most magazines, brochures and maps promoting Sedona. The guys at the visitor’s center encourage me profusely to see Cathedral Rock changing colors under the hiding sun.
I didn’t need a lot of convincing. Two hours before sunset, I was in route towards the spot where the magic happens every evening.
There are two ways to get to this view. The first option is to use the Verde Valley School Road (accessed thru Hwy 179). The second option is to go to the Crescent Moon Ranch Park (accessed thru Hwy 89A). Since the second option has an entrance fee, I opted for the first option.
I read the trail was easy to access and a short walk. The drive thru the Verde Valley School Road affords great views of Castle Rock.
At one point, the paved road ended and we had to drive a bumpy road before reaching the dusty parking lot. Cathedral Rock came quickly into sight and I felt positive about the hike. I was a bit confused because I didn’t know where to start. We decided to follow others.
We started to circle around the rock. There was a flat area covered with short grass from where the rock appeared like floating in a sea of green. We took pictures and my husband said: “I think this is it.”
I told him we had to keep going since we had to get to the water. We found the trail again and after a few minutes we made it to the creek.
My goal was to reach a point called Red Rock Crossing. This is a narrow part of the Oak Creek that can be crossed by foot (there are some stones that make the crossing easier). This is one point from where the famous photograph is taken.
But, the area of the creek we reached had no views of Cathedral Rock. It was obvious we were in the incorrect spot.
We continued walking and started to gain height. I realized we were climbing towards the top of the rock. I gave up and admitted I didn’t know where I was going. I felt disappointed but kept going because I saw this (see below).
It was my first time seeing the colors of fall. As I continued moving up, I was able to see more colors and the red rocks in the background.
To the other side, we had a big chunk of Red Rock Country at our feet. It was a different view of the places we visited during the day.
Tired from an entire day of sightseeing, we decided to go back. I found the spot where we took the incorrect turn and got (kinda) lost. We took several steps towards the correct trail but second guessed our intentions since there was very little daylight left.
At least, I was happy with everything I saw during the day and the view of the yellow, red, orange and green trees. The search for the Red Rock Crossing was destined to continue the next day (spoiler alert: that didn’t go well either).
Recommendation: Ask for exact directions (and names) before attempting a hike in the area (it doesn’t matter how easy it sounds). A good map is a must.
Have you been lost on a hiking trail? Have you found the Red Rock Crossing?
Ready to pin? Let’s do this!