Sedona Hidden Gems
By Lauren Wong
Some less known, yet still beautiful, spots to hit in Sedona.
Cathedral Rock Trail:
I know just about everyone has heard of Cathedral Rock, it’s one of the most photographed/iconic sites in the state. I’ve seen it plenty of times driving up and around the mountains on the way to whichever destination I had in mind for that day.
However, I have never actually hiked this 1.2 mile out-and-back trail. The viewpoint was absolutely breathtaking. Even though this trail is only a bit over a mile, it’s rated challenging (which it most definitely is).
We took lots of breaks on the way up. Make sure you bring enough water and leave your hands free if possible. The hike gets pretty steep and you’ll need your hands for climbing. It was not ideal with a massive camera and camera bag, but, after getting to the top and seeing the views I know I would’ve been so sad if I didn’t bring mine.
I’d consider this a hidden gem because so many of us know about Cathedral Rock, but not many have actually hiked up it. Also, because while on the hike it’s easy to let yourself give up once you see how high you’ve climbed, how tired you are, and all that’s ahead of you is up. Don’t. It’s literally that final step as your head pops up above the mountain and you see the “end of trail,” sign that the scenery turns from something beautiful, to something indescribable. I don’t know if it was the time of day, and the way the sun was shining at that particular moment, (or maybe the vortex) but this awe-inspiring, calm feeling just washed over my entire body.
Chapel of the Holy Cross:
Imagine going to church while physically sitting nestled in the mountains. Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a local rancher and sculptor, was the one with the idea. Inspired by the construction of the Empire State Building in 1932, she first attempted to build a church in Budapest with Lloyd Wright, but because of World War II, plans changed, and the construction was brought back here where she lived. Together Richard Hein, the project architect and August K. Strotz, the designer (both from the firm of Anshen & Allen), created Staude’s vision and the church opened up in 1956.
You see McDonalds literally everywhere you go, but can you say you’ve seen one with turquoise arches? We all know the big, bright, golden arch when we see it, (every quarter mile down the highway) but the one in Sedona is special.
Because of Sedona’s red rock aesthetic, the city has guidelines in place to protect its natural beauty. When the restaurant first opened up at this location in 1993, the city officials decided that having this massive yellow arch would take away from its picturesque surroundings. It’s said that they believed the yellow would clash too much with the red rocks.
I passed up Midgley Bridge on the way to Slide Rock State Park and decided to turn around to check it out. This enormous bridge expands over the creek, yet blends in so well with the environment that at first glance you can’t really take in how big it is. We hiked down the Vista Huckaby Trail to get some shade under the bridge and look down at how high up we were.
If you decide to hike the whole trail it should take you down to the creek. It’s a moderately challenging, 5.7 mile out-and-back trail.
The Seven Sacred Pools and Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole:
To hit these two spots you’ll hike along Soldier Pass Trail. It’s considered an easy, 1.1 mile out-and-back route. First, you’ll spot the massive sinkhole on the way to the pools. The ground just drops off, no guardrail in site. Shortly after, you’ll find these little pockets of water that pool within the canyon crevices. Keep in mind that if it hasn’t rained in a while, the pools may not be filled.
Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village:
Designed to replicate a traditional Mexican village, Tlaquepaque brings art galleries full of just about everything. From handcrafted jewelry to sculptors and mosaic fountains, there’s a little bit of everything here. This outdoor village gives locals a chance to showcase their talent, and visitors, something to bring home in memory of their time in Sedona.