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Monday, December 13, 2010

BOYNTON CANYON VISTA TRAIL

BOYNTON CANYON VISTA Red Rock Secret Canyon Wilderness, Sedona Judging from the crowds, this has got to be the most popular vortex site(places on earth known for their high energy/spiritual powers) in Sedona. That’s probably because it’s easy to get to, not too tough to hike and offers the best views. Although vortex aficionados often disagree about the exact physical locations of these hot spots, there seems to be some consensus that the Boynton Canyon vortex lives on the saddle between two rock formations known as Kachina Woman and Boynton Spire. Guess where the Vista trail leads---yup, the saddle. Whether you regard the power of vortexes as a profoundly spiritual thing or a crock of baloney, it’s impossible to hike to the saddle and not appreciate the breathtaking beauty that unfolds on the way up. For a longer hike in the area, descend from the Vista Trail and continue up the Boynton Canyon Trail (see separate blog entry) for an unforgettable venture into a slim red rock gorge that slowly converges on the trail until the surrounding cliffs appear to collide in a massive wall of stone. LENGTH: 0.75 mile one-way RATING: easy ELEVATION: 4,500 – 4,800 feet BEST SEASONS: September - May FACILITIES: restroom, informational signage FEES: a Red Rock Pass (or equivalent) is required. $5 daily fee. Passes are available at the oak Creek ranger station and most local convenience stores. 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 through the town of Oak Creek to the junction of 179 and Highway 89A in Sedona. Go through the traffic circle, head west (left toward Cottonwood) and continue 3.2 miles to Dry Creek Road. Turn right and follow Dry Creek Road 3 miles to the Long Canyon Road intersection. Go left to stay on FR 152C and continue 1.5 miles to a “T” intersection turn right and go a short distance to the trailhead on the right. INFORMATION: Red Rock Ranger District: (928) 282-4119

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

BELL ROCK PATHWAY

BELL ROCK PATHWAY Coconino National Forest, near Sedona For a casual stroll among Sedona’s gorgeous red rock formations that never strays far from civilization, try this wide, sunny trail. Although most of the trail is within earshot of busy Highway 179, a very scenic segment bends away from the commotion and skirts the edge of Munds Mountain Wilderness for peaceful vistas and up-close views of Courthouse Butte and the world-famous Frank Lloyd-Wright masterpiece, Chapel of the Holy Cross. LENGTH: 3.7 miles one-way RATING: easy ELEVATION: 4,050 – 4,370 feet BEST SEASONS: September - May 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: NORTH TRAILHEAD: From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to exit 298 (Sedona/Oak Creek). Veer left (west) and follow SR 179 to just before milepost 310 and turn right into the parking area. This is the “Little Horse” Trailhead. Follow the signs that lead to the trail heading south. SOUTH TRAILHEAD: From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to exit 298 (Sedona/Oak Creek). Veer left (west) and follow SR 179 to just past milepost 307 and turn right into the parking area. INFORMATION: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/recreation/red_rock/bell-rock-pathway.shtml (928) 282-4119