Exploring Red Rock Country Around Sedona, Arizona

A painted desert sky near Sedona, Arizona
A painted, desert sky near Sedona, Arizona

Most people travel to Arizona during the winter (as I did last year), but I decided to mix it up a bit and spend the month of June exploring the northern part of the state.

When Bob Wells announced that he was hosting a summer Rubber Tramp Rendezvous near Flagstaff this year I immediately began making plans to attend. Since I would be traveling to Arizona for two weeks anyway, I decided to stretch it into a month-long excursion.

I arrived in Sedona on Memorial Day, planning to spend two weeks doing some mountain biking, hiking, and exploring around this beautiful area. I was just in time for a heat wave. The 90-degree temperatures were manageable in the dry desert, but the forecast for the week to come was as high as 108. That is a little too hot for my liking, especially for camping in the desert. Still, I enjoyed two days and nights of camping west of Sedona with a glorious view of red rock hills all around.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

Chapel of the Holy Cross
Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona

The Chapel of the Holy Cross attracts a lot of visitors. This Roman Catholic chapel is perched on the edge of a sandstone cliff and majestically rises 70 feet toward the sky.

Despite a rush of visitors even first thing in the morning, there was a special feeling in the air inside the chapel. All who entered the chapel while I was there were quiet and reverent. Many sat or knelt to pray, while others quietly lit a candle.

The setting can do nothing but inspire, and indeed many people find the red rock country around Sedona to be spiritual or mystical. The scent of incense lingering in the air inside the chapel also brought back memories of my visits to an Orthodox Church. Whatever the reasons, I found it to be a very moving experience.

Visiting Sedona

The Sedona area is worth visiting if you are near northeast Arizona. The scenery, if not the city, make it worth the trip.

The city itself is not something that I ever care to see again, but I always avoid tourist traps, especially when they are also crowded. Those who like that sort of thing will probably enjoy the city. It is clean, attractive, and has a lot of interesting shops and eateries.

I would definitely like to come back to the area – when the temperatures are safely below 100. There are several developed Forest Service campgrounds along Highway 89A north of Sedona, and many primitive sites in the National Forest west of Sedona toward Cottonwood. Big box stores are available in Cottonwood for those who need a Walmart, Home Depot, or similar.