On Wednesday morning we hitched up the Jeep and headed north on I-10 toward Phoenix. The signs on the interstate say I-10 East or I-10 West but between Tucson and Phoenix the road is running north/south. In Phoenix we picked up I-17 and drove north to Cottonwood, about 15 miles southwest of Sedona, home of the famous red rocks. We are parked for a week in Dead Horse State Park, just two miles from Cottonwood.
Our first morning in the area we headed northeast to visit Sedona. A few miles before the town we turned on to Red Rock Loop Road. As we rounded a corner the view was one of those “take your breath away” moments.
This is a residential area with some of the houses built right up against the rocks.
As we rounded another bend in the road, we were treated to a view of Cathedral Rock in the distance.
Our map showed a trail leading up to Cathedral Vista, a great viewing point for Cathedral Rock, so we parked the Jeep and headed up the path.
The path was a bit undefined and in places we just walked up a dry stream bed.
As we approached the top the climbing became more challenging.
But once at the top we were treated to some fantastic views.
For the return trip we skipped the trail and just made our way down the rocks.
At times we experienced many near death moments, but we were up to the challenge and made it safely down to the bottom.
Returning to the Jeep we headed into Sedona to check out the local visitor’s center. The volunteer we spoke with had many suggestions for hiking and “Jeeping.” One road high on her list was the Schnebly Hill Road, just a short drive from the visitor’s center. The road is a five mile ride up through scenic canyons to a vista at the top. It begins on pavement but quickly turns into a very rocky dirt path.
While we didn’t need to use four wheel drive, the ride was extremely bumpy. But around every corner a beautiful view made the ride worthwhile.
We love the removable panels on the roof of the Jeep. At times the rock formations were right over our heads, but with the roof panels off we didn’t miss a thing.
On the road in both directions we passed people taking the famous “Pink Jeep” tour.
After an hour’s ride, we reached the Schnebly Vista. The view was outstanding, even though it was late in the day and the sun was not at the best angle. We think the view would be much better early in the morning, but we don’t see a ride up the mountain at dawn in our future.
After spending a brief time at the vista, we headed back down. Going in the reverse direction provided totally different perspectives to many of the views.
Wow, what a day! And there are many, many hikes and drives just like these in the Red Rock area. Maybe a week’s stay will not be sufficient. If not, we’ll just stay for a few more days. It’s a tough life, but somebody has to live it!