Western Trips

Western Trips

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sedona's Cathedral Rock Hike / Red Rock Crossing

While thousands of people visit Sedona Arizona's Red Rock Crossing annually, it's amazing how many people have not. This by far is one of the top attractions in Sedona. Set among rich red rocks and brush-speckled ridges, Red Rock Crossing is a colorful must-see during your stay in Sedona. It's really a part of Sedona Arizona you don't want to miss experiencing. At Red Rock Crossing you'll find one of the most recognizable images of Sedona known all around the world, Cathedral Rock.

sedona hiking
View of Oak creek along the hiking trail
To reach Red Rock Crossing take Highway 89A west to the Upper Red Rock Loop Road and head south. From this point look for the signs. Red Rock Crossing is open daily sunrise to sunset.

For starters, this is probably one of the most photographed places in the Southwest. Red Rock Crossing  is located about seven miles southwest of downtown Sedona.

Because of it's popularity, Red Rock Crossing can become crowded at times but if you come early in the morning or on a weekday, it's possible to enjoy the world class beauty of Red Rock Crossing minus the crowds.

The elevation in this area is about 4,000 feet. Red Rock Crossing is as popular as it is beautiful with it's red rock backdrop. People come here to fish, swim, and wade in the creek, as well as to picnic and photograph the scenery.

Crescent Moon Ranch Hike at Red Rock Crossing

The Crescent Moon Ranch hike at Red Rock Crossing is a relatively easy hike. The one way distance is three-quarters of a mile and a round trip usually takes about one hour. The trail is flat and runs along the meandering Oak Creek. This trail is perfect for beginners and anyone looking for an easy yet very scenic hike. The trail is excellent for a family outing.and there is a good amount of parking available at Red Rock Crossing at Crescent Moon Ranch.

sedona hiking trails
Wooded section of Crescent Moon Ranch Trail
Along the hiking trail you'll come across dozens of rock cairns that look like a miniature Stonehenge. These are stacked rocks erected by believers to take advantage of the vortex found there for meditating and chanting.

You can hike on either side of Oak Creek on wooded trails. The trail on the south side of the creek will lead you all the way to the top of Cathedral Rock, offering breathtaking views. The trail to the top of Cathedral Rock is not one for people with a fear of heights.

Climbing Cathedral Rock

 The climb up Cathedral Rock is entirely different than the flat trail along the creek. The climb is steep and may not be appropriate for children. You can easily hike to it, just not up it. If you do decide to climb up it look for the white lines to help guide you to the easiest route. The path is clearly marked by both white paint stripes on the ground and piles of rock in chicken wire cages. There are plenty of places to just stop and rest for a few minutes if you choose and simply enjoy the view while you catch your breath. The views from the top are worth the climb.

Crescent Moon Ranch 

Crescent Moon Ranch was a working ranch that was donated to the National Forest Service in the mid 1900's. 

Crescent Moon Ranch is an exceptional year-round place to stay in beautiful Sedona. The central Arizona facility is a rustic, historic ranch house adjacent to Oak Creek and near the base of the towering Cathedral Rock.

crescent moon ranch trail sedona
Rock cairns
For those who wish to take in the scenery at Red Rock Crossing for more than just a day trip, check out the ranch house at Crescent Moon Ranch. There is an old ranch house at Crescent Moon Ranch that is available for both day and overnight use

The National Forest Service describes the facilities as follows...

Please remember that this is a rustic historic ranch house and not a modern hotel. It is a cabin in the forest and very old. It was built by ranchers of the original homestead and made available for public use by the US Forest Service. Your careful stay and light hand so as to not cause any further wear on the premises is most appreciated.

With three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large great room, two kitchens and an enclosed sun porch, there is plenty of room. Maximum capacity for the house is 10 people for overnight use (one queen bed/2 double beds/ 1 bunk bed with a full size bed and a twin bed and one futon in the living room). The house may be rented for day use as well. Day use capacity is 25 people (ideal for weddings and other day gatherings). Electricity and running water are provided. The old ranch house reservations are handled by the National Park Service.

See the Western Trips articles on the links below...

Visit Sedona's Architectural Wonder / The Chapel of the Holy Cross

Visit the Ancient Arizona Montezuma Castle

Visit the Desert Botanical Garden / Phoenix

sedona red rocks
Red rock views from the hiking trail
For more details of the accommodations, what to bring with you and rates see website...http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=72113&actid=101

Another website with detailed information is...http://www.recreation.gov/camping/crescent-moon-ranch

For more information about Crescent Moon Picnic Area or Crescent Moon Ranch Cabin you can also contact the Red Rock Ranger District, 928-282-4119.

Sedona is one of the top destinations in Arizona. Sedona attractions offer some of the most scenic hiking in North America, tremendous photo opportunities, unique shopping and dining, back road jeep tours, historic sites, architectural wonders and mysterious vortexes. If you've already visited Sedona chances are you've already been back. If you haven't visited this area of Arizona make certain you do. You won't be disappointed.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Western Trips)

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