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Monday, December 13, 2010

BELL ROCK TRAIL

BELL ROCK TRAIL Sedona/Oak Creek Located on the north side of Red Rock Country’s most prominent geological landmark, Bell Rock Trail is comprised of two trails – lower and upper--that climb the lower ledges of the massive, bell-shaped red sandstone heap. Bell Rock is also one of Sedona’s vortex sites—places where earth energies are highly concentrated. This means different things to different people---so, I’ll refrain from trying to explain it. Good signs and basket cairns (big wire drums full of rocks) spaced among the cypress and juniper trees mark the routes. One potentially confusing aspect of keeping on track is the naming of the trails in the area. Note that there’s a Bell Rock TRAIL and a Bell Rock PATHWAY. The “pathway” is NOT the route described here. Also, the Upper Trail is signed “U Bell Rock Trail”. A mild climb leads to several exposed sandstone platforms for unobstructed views of the Oak Creek area. For even better views, take the Upper trail, but only if you’re sure-footed and don’t mind a bit of scrambling. As for those “other” unofficial paths that deface the Bell---please respect the fragile terrain and do not venture out on them. They destroy vegetation, erode the rocks and make for a great way to get injured. Be nice and stay on designated routes only. LENGTH: Lower trail: 0.5 mile one-way, Upper trail: 0.2 mile one-way RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 4,350-4,450 (4,500 for the upper trail) BEST SEASONS: September - May FACILITIES: restroom, informational signage FEE: a Red Rock Pass (or equivalent) is required to park and is available at the Oak Creek Ranger station and most local convenience stores. $5 for the day pass. http://www.redrockcountry.org/passes-and-permits/index.shtml, (928) 282-4119 GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to exit 298 (Sedona/Oak Creek). Veer left (west) and follow SR 179 to milepost 308. The trailhead will be on the right just past the milepost. INFORMATION: Red Rock Ranger District: (928) 282-4119

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