Cathedral Rock & Red Rock Crossing

Picture of Cathedral Rock in Sedona AZ
© Mike Koopsen


Rising majestically toward the sky from a red sandstone base, the spires of Cathedral Rock inspire wonder and awe in every visitor. Your first view from the trailhead belies the geographic beauty of this monument, as the delicate spires are hidden from view. However the short walk to the base of the rock will quickly tantalize your visual senses as the red and white layers of the sandstone unfold before you and the magnitude of this Cathedral becomes apparent.

The natural beauty of Cathedral Rock has been drawing spiritual visitors for decades and Cathedral Rock is considered one of the strongest Vortexes in Sedona. You don’t have to be looking for channeled energy to enjoy the wonder of Cathedral Rock, however even moderate hikers can experience the joy of hiking this geological attraction.

Hiking Cathedral Rock

Hiking Cathedral Rock does require determination however. Although the round trip is a scant 1.5 miles, the first half of the actual monument is quite steep. Over time hikers have etched steps into the base, making it easier to reach the saddle points. These saddle points rest at the base of each of the spires, and provide panoramic views of the valley beyond. At the first saddle point the most difficult part of the climb is behind you and visitors are rewarded with stunning vistas on three sides. Monuments and mountains in the distance are visible and the landscape includes the colorful spires of blooming century plants, with the native agaves growing abundantly along the base of the rocks.

From the apex of the second saddle point adventurous hikers find themselves looking directly up at the first spires, surrounded by massive pillars at the center of Cathedral Rock. Moving on to the third saddle point puts hikers in view of the most delicate of the spires, a cluster of three rising sandstone towers that change color with the moving of the sun. From a muted orange in the dawn of sunrise to a brilliant red throughout the waning hours of the afternoon sunset, Cathedral Rock puts on a magnificent display of natural beauty.

Looking for a more challenging hike? On your way to Cathedral Rock the Templeton Trail cuts across the Cathedral trailhead near the base of Cathedral. This trail to the right cuts along Oak Creek to Red Rock Crossing. You’ll pass through a stunning deciduous forest and depending on the time of year you visit, the views range from lush and green with rustling leaves to stark and beautiful in its simplicity. This trail adds four miles round trip to your hike, but once you reach Red Rock Crossing, the views of Cathedral Rock to your back are stunning and well worth the trip!

Picture of Crescent Moon Park from Cathedral Rock View of Crescent Moon Park From Cathedral Rock

Directions To Cathedral Rock

Located just south of Sedona, take Highway 179 south from the 89A / 179 split. Travel 3.4 miles and on the first roundabout, make a right on Back O’ Beyond Road. Travel 0.6 miles to the parking lot on your left. The trail head is at the south end of the parking lot.

Cathedral Rock Video

More Information


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Red Rocks of Sedona & Urban Hiking Trails

| Airport Mesa | Bell Rock | Cathedral Rock | Chapel of the Holy Cross |
| Coffee Pot Rock | Courthouse Rock |

This page was last modified on 28 November 2011 at 22:03

Cathedral Rock and Red Rock Crossing Hiking

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