Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sedona & Oak Creek Canyon

We were still a little tired on Tuesday, so we decided to do some "sedentary hiking" in the Red Rock Country around Sedona. We define sedentary hiking as driving around in the van viewing beautiful scenery and occasionally stopping for photos. I don't have any pictures of the girls "hiking" today since they didn't get out of the van much.

There are lots of beautiful rock formations around Sedona, but it appears the best photos are found by those who climb the rocks for good vantage points and wait for sunrise or sunset when the rocks are purported to glow with color. We didn't do that. Do you see the little hiking trail in the foreground of this picture? It beckoned, but we ignored it.

Like other parts of Arizona, pictures don't really do the landscape justice. As we traveled about, I decided a movie shot out the van window might come closest to capturing the variety and magnitude, but I doubt many of you would be interested in viewing three hours of driving around the desert.

One thing is for certain: I haven't seen roads like this in Illinois. But then, in the end, you've seen one red rock, you've seen them all.

My brother from Phoenix had told me about Oak Creek Canyon, and how he joins friends there for the weekend to take a break from life in Phoenix. We were halfway through it before I realized this was the same place he was talking about. It seems to be unique for Arizona, and a nice change from the high desert or pine forests we've seen so far -- there were actually deciduous trees with leaves on them! This view is from the rim at the north end of the canyon, and if you look closely you can see the highway running along Oak Creek. This 10-12 mile drive reminded me of similar roads we've driven in Montana and Tennessee, except the cliffs were a bit more steep here, and the red rocks were evident even in this canyon. A pretty drive, but hard to photograph sufficiently.

This shot shows the road from the rim to the creek, including a minor traffic jam near the top. Google maps only shows four true hairpin turns on this section, but when you're driving it, it feels like you are constantly making sharp turns. Good idea for this section of road: Bonine. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Were the roads very fun to drive on? I really enjoy the roads in CO and TN, with all their twists, curves and abrupt elevation changes.... (despite how hard it was on our vehicle) IL doesn't have many of those lol

  2. Emil -- it was a pleasant road to drive on, but if you're looking for a thrill I'd recommend a sports car or motorcycle over a minivan. Actually, my favorite way to cruise this road would be by bicycle, both downhill and uphill.