Editor note: In current conditions, we are not advocating traveling for pleasure. That said, we can certainly start dreaming about the where we want to visit when we are able to move freely about the country again. And if you are already there, hiking in Sedona might be a healthy diversion.
Before we became full-timers, we rented a R-pod to test life on the road and traveled to Sedona, AZ a place that I had always wanted to visit. I knew it was renown for its beautiful vistas, iconic rock formations and great hikes. And I was also curious about the energetic power and electromagnetic vortexes, reported to exist there. Since many of the vortexes were located among the rocky terrain and hills, we prepared to hike in Sedona to experience the beauty and the energy.
Before we start, let’s make sure you understand what I mean by hike. When I say I am hiking in Sedona or any place, I mean I put on special shoes suited for the terrain, carry at least 24 ounces of water, bring a snack and plan to be on the trail for no more than four hours. I am a not hardcore hikers, needing compasses to navigate our route and a backpack of supplies. A hike for me is really just a walk on a trail marked with signs and maybe an incline that causes me to stop along the way to catch my breath. This means I do easy hikes so if I can do it, nearly anyone can.
We arrived in Sedona after two weeks on the road and stayed at the Rancho Sedona RV Park. It is a beautiful campground with lovely shady spots, a nice bathhouse and laundry room. If you go, ask for a slot along the river. Just off Bear Wallow Lane, it is very convenient to downtown Sedona and several shops so also makes it easy to explore Sedona. Those with bicycles and strong legs could even bike to a lot of the area.
Our first destination was Airport Mesa, which is not only one of the key vortex spots in Sedona, but also a great spot for sunrises. Normally, I don’t do sunrise – it comes entirely too early! But I was excited about being in Sedona and the vortexes, so I got up to tag along with Barry who was planning to photograph the sunrise. It was still dark when we arrived so we parked at the foot of the scenic overlook and followed the signs for Airport Lookout, assuming it was our destination. After a half-mile climb up an easy but very vertical trail, we found ourselves in a large parking lot for the Airport Lookout. Sadly, we could have just driven up to get a lovely view of the city down below and we were facing the wrong way for sunrise. Oh, well, we got some good morning exercise to wake up! Note – we did drive back here in the evening for sunset and it was beautiful but every cold up there once the sun went down!
We hiked back down the trail back to where we left the jeep and where the rocks faced to the east. On second thought, maybe we do need that compass! While Barry set up his camera, I found a scenic spot to meditate and find the vortex energy. While I didn’t experience any sudden swoosh or swirling vibration, I did feel a strong sense of calm. I choose to believe this was the vortex energy and not the fact that I would normally still be asleep at that time of day.
The rocks of Sedona seem to be living beings with their own energy and changing facades. As the light changes through the day, the rocks seem to vary in color and morph in shape. Remember when you were a kid and watched the clouds to find shapes like rabbits and dogs? The rocks of Sedona allow the same kind of magic. This is clearly a common phenomenon in Sedona, as many of the formations have names, even smaller ones, and legends to go along with them.
One well-known and well-named rock is Cathedral Rock. Here the vortex is said to have female or yin energy, thus more soothing or calming. I definitely felt the calming vibration as the majesty and beauty of the surrounding scenery encourages inner peace. The entire area is gorgeous and popular with hikers and tourists with many lookout points and trails for hikes. You can take the Baldwin Loop, which takes you around the backside of Cathedral Rock and includes a steep climb near the top. There are also some easier trails that take you around and away from the Rock. While you won’t reach the top, you will get a breath-taking view of Cathedral Rock.
Our last “big” hike (and by that I mean it included a steep climb up) was on the Yavapia trail to a get a view of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte in the setting sun. We got there right at the “golden hour.” This is the time, about an hour before sunset, when the setting light of the sun adds a beautiful glow to the world. The rocks were spectacularly lit and the vortex here is said to have stimulating and healing energy. While we were not on the actual Rock, the hike did seem easier despite being uphill and over rocks so perhaps I was feeling its energy. I again settled into a meditation while Barry caught the sunset images. As the sun set and the light on Bell Rock changed, I noticed the images on the rock seem to morph. At one point, the sun lit up the opening at the side of the Rock and I clearly saw a Native American woman, wearing a bear headdress, with her mouth wide open, laughing. Later, she faded away, leaving a bear.
Sedona has a number of other hiking opportunities including some much harder climbs for those who enjoy long treks or steep inclines. You can also enjoy easy hikes to some of the most popular views. We were surprised when we set out for the iconic view of the back of Cathedral Rock with Oak Creek in view. Knowing it is a beautiful spot at sunset, we arrived early, believing we had a long hike to get the best view. Once we arrived in the park, we were surprised that the parking lot was just a few yards from the best viewpoint.
And if you are not really a hiker, you can find some great walks in Sedona. One of my favorites was the day we spent at Tlaquepague, a section of town that was built and curated specifically as an artists’ haven. Resembling a Mexican village, it includes beautiful architecture and fountains in its many squares. Here you can wander for a day and enjoy unique galleries, shops and restaurants.
Sedona is an incredible experience and a unique city with incredible scenery. Even if you are not a hiker, I suspect these vistas and rocks will convince you to come out and play.