After many hours of vacation research and looking at tons of pics taken from various
different trails, I was going into Sedona with some pretty high hopes and I have
to say this place delivered. I saw some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen
while I was there and have seriously contemplated moving out there on more than
one occasion. I definitely cannot wait to go back and I hope you enjoy reading
all about my adventures!
My original plan when I arrived in Sedona was to make my first stop be the
Chapel of the Holy Cross. However, when I got there the gate to the parking
lot and church was closed (apparently it closes at 5pm). I was certainly upset and sad I
didn’t make it in time, but decided to not waste the evening and instead
made my way to Cathedral Rock.
Sunset Hike to Cathedral Rock
I drove to the main parking lot for the Cathedral Rock trailhead, but found it to
be entirely full due to a wedding. Dang people wanting to spend the rest of their
lives together. SMH. You literally have your whole lives together while I only have
2 days in Sedona, but sure…take up the whole parking lot. lol jk jk But now I was
really in a pickle. I only had about 2 hours until sunset
and I needed to do this hike since I wasn’t going to have time the next day. I drove up
and down the street hoping, praying someone would leave the parking lot for the
trailhead, but unfortunately this car shark wasn’t getting fed that night. I grabbed
my phone and began to desperately search Google for other potential trailheads
and this is what eventually led me to the Baldwin Trailhead parking lot.
|Trail Name||Round Trip Length||Estimated Hike Time||Elevation Gain|
|Cathedral Rock via Baldwin Trail||3.7 miles||1.5 hours||744 feet|
I got to the trailhead a little after 6pm which meant I only had about an hour to hike
the 2 miles to Cathedral Rock before the sun went down. Impossible? Not when you are as determined
as I was. I jogged through a good bit of the first part of the trail.
(And I don’t mean that figuratively. Hiking backpack and all I was
jogging y’all. 0/10 recommend.) Eventually I
came up behind another person on the trail who I remembered
seeing at the trailhead.
He noticed he had gained a shadow and we actually ended up talking
and hiking the rest of the way together. He even held my hand
helping me up some of the really steep bits. Such a gentleman. (Guarantee that most
of the people at Cathedral Rock thought we were together as we
stood with one another, talking and taking in the views and taking
pics of each other, but oh well. lol)
Once it started to get dark James and I made our way back towards
our trailhead. We were talking about how amazing the views were and I made
the comment “Yeah hard to believe we started from the bottom and now we
here” and that caught the attention of another guy in this group
of people who were also heading back down the rock. He was
like “Yo is someone throwing out Drake lyrics?!” So enter into our group this
guy who’s name I don’t know, but I will call Newport since that is where he was
from, his Uncle Jeff, and his friend (sister? cousin?) I will call Lady St. Louis.
Lol All five of us hiked together for a little while making small talk until it was
time for us to go our separate ways as we were heading to different trailheads.
It was the first time on that trip I actually hiked in a group and it was
actually kind of nice. It even made me feel a little safer if I am being honest.
In fact, when I was hiking with our group of 5 there was a point where I almost
fell (I was going down a steep incline and my foot slipped right out
from underneath me) and both James and Newport heard me stumble and
immediately stopped and turned around to catch me. It was the cutest and
sweetest thing. Lol
James and I made it back to our trailhead about 8pm without
him murdering me in the dark woods and said our goodbyes
never to see or talk to one another again. Lol (My dad, the ultimate talker
and guy who has friends everywhere couldn’t believe I didn’t ask for his
number or how to find him on Facebook. lol)
From the trailhead I drove on to my motel for the night,
Fort Verde Suites, after grabbing some much needed Taco Bell
and then headed off to bed.
If you are looking for a more inexpensive option near Sedona I highly
recommend this motel. It sits about 45 minutes outside the city, but
everything in town is pretty pricey so it was worth the drive for me.
Searching For Secret Caves on Soldiers Pass Trail
The next morning I woke up before the sun and drove from
my motel to the Soldiers Pass Trailhead. I wanted to get there early because
I read that the parking lot for the trailhead has only 14 parking spots and
cars line up outside of the gated entrance (which doesn’t open until
8am and closes at 6pm locking any cars still there inside)
to get one of these cherished spots. I made it to the trailhead about 7:20am
and I was already the 6th car in line. I’m not sure how long the cars in front of
me had been there, but I did notice that the very first car in line had set up a
whole camp complete with chairs and a portable grill where they were cooking
their breakfast. By about 7:30 there were over 14 cars there and you could see
people getting out of their vehicles to count how many cars were in front of
them to make sure they were going to be one of the lucky ones to claim a spot. Craziness.
Now, a fun fact about this trailhead. It sits right in the middle of a very nice neighborhood
and because of this it is illegal for you to park along the street. (So if you aren’t one
of the lucky few to make it into the parking lot do NOT park your car along
the street as you will get tickets or be towed. Instead try the
Jordan Trailhead parking lot or come back to this one around
noon when the morning people are leaving.) I actually parked my truck right
in front of a sign that said “No Parking” on it while I was waiting for the
gate to open. (Really wish I would have
taken a picture! lol) However, I wasn’t going to move my truck unless the cops
came and made me (which actually does happen sometimes) or I was towed. I
was going to hike that trail! Luckily though I didn’t have to worry about that and
once the gate opened I made my way into the tiny parking lot. I grabbed
my hiking gear and I set out on the trail in search of the secret cave everyone knows about. lol
|Trail Name||Round Trip Length||Estimated Hike Time||Elevation Gain|
|Soldiers Pass Trail||4.8 miles||2.5 hours||450 feet|
Before I reached the cave I made a quick stop at the 7 Sacred Pools which
are natural potholes that have been carved into the sandstone. Depending
on what time of year you visit you can see these either filled with water or dry.
The trail was nice and easy to follow, however, while I was looking for
the path to the cave I took a wrong turn (go figure) and found myself
out exploring the red rocks alone.
Eventually I made it back to the main trail and down the actual path to the cave.
The cave was totally worth the hike and early morning in my opinion. It was
so neat to see and explore and just hang out in even though there were
quite a few people there. One thing to note is that getting up into the cave
where I took the pictures below (and coming back down) is not the easiest
task, but I made it and so did a lot of older people
so it is doable just be careful!
Once my time in the cave was over I continued on the Soldiers Pass
Trail a little ways more taking in all the views and then turned around and
headed back to the truck.
Remember how I said earlier the trailhead parking lot was tiny? Yeah well that
was one thing my 2500 Ford was not and trying to get out of that parking lot
was absolutely terrible even with my backup camera. I think I made a 1000
point turn and had 3 guys trying to help direct me out. It was not
fun and also slightly embarrassing, but eventually I did make it out and made my way
to the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
I made it to the Chapel of the Holy Cross and was met with another insane
parking situation (this time because of the large amount of people), but managed
to find a spot near the top of the spiral driveway.
I walked through the crowds and up into the absolutely gorgeous church
built into the side of the rock.
There is no entrance fee into the church, but there is a donation box
and gift shop in the basement if you want to contribute. Also they do
have church services here. How crazy would it be to go to church here?! I think
I would be too distracted by the decor to pay attention to what the
preacher is saying. Lol
After spending some time sitting in the chapel I walked back out to the
truck, ate my last Lunchable, and then made my way over to Mystical Bazaar
for my first ever tarot reading. (I had called them the day before after
leaving Winslow to schedule my appointment.)
Now, as a Catholic, I have been told that tarot cards and things like
that are not to be messed with. However, Sedona is all about energies and
crystals and all that spiritual jazz so I figured if I wanted to have a real Sedona
experience this needed to be included on the trip.
I walked into the crystal shop and told the ladies I was there for my tarot reading.
Not long after that my reader, Yerevan, came into the shop area and led me
back into this little low lit room that looked exactly how you would expect
a reading room to look like. In her soft, calm voice she asked me how long
of a reading I was wanting and I decided to go with a 20 minute one.
She looked at me and asked what I was wanting to learn today and I honestly
had no idea what to say. I had never done one of these before. I didn’t know
I was supposed to come with questions and things prepared! Oh man was
the prepper in me was freaking out! But Yerevan was very understanding when
I told her this was my first time and she began my reading allowing the
cards to speak on various different topics from relationships, to career, and
just life in general. I’m not going to go into everything that she told me, but
we continually returned to how the rest of the year was going to be
all about self-empowerment, improving my entrepreneurial ventures, and
transforming myself into an overall stronger, better woman.
(Did this all really happen in 2021? Wellll….to some extent, but
all of them still have a long ways to go.)
Overall, I’m still not entirely sold on believing in tarot, but it was a pretty amazing
experience and I would definitely do it again, but with my own questions to
ask about specifically.
After my reading I experienced another first and got my aura photographed!
With this I was also given a 23 page report detailing my aura (energy that surrounds
me) and my seven chakras (these are kind of like different layers of your aura and
are the different colored areas on my picture) explaining what everything in the
photo means. According to the report I have a red-orange
aura which means I am competitive (yes), energetic (in the right setting), excited
(depends on the context lol), passionate (definitely), and strong willed (oh for sure.)
That night before I went to bed I sat and read through the entire report
and I just found it so insanely interesting to read and was surprised that
from just that one picture they were able to create a report with such
accurate information. I was impressed.
Here are a few pictures of different parts of my report:
Since this trip was also about focusing on self love I decided to
complete one of the activities in my Scorpio Self-Care book
before leaving Mystical Bazaar and bought a piece of tiger eye jewelry.
Heavenly Sights At Devil’s Bridge
After Mystical Bazaar I was off on another hiking adventure to the popular Devil’s Bridge.
I pulled up to the Dry Creek Trailhead in the late afternoon and y’all it was jam packed.
I ended up having to park back along Long Canyon Road and hike in from there which
added at least a half mile or so. ( Definitely a spot you want to get to
earlier in the day rather than later.)
|Trail Name||Round Trip Length||Estimated Hike Time||Elevation Change|
|Devil’s Bridge||1.8 miles (5.8 miles via the way I went)||1.5-3 hours||400ft|
Aside from the last little bit (there is a very steep rock “staircase” section to climb
to reach the top of the bridge) the trail was pretty mild with lots of flat land and
the worst obstacle being an unpaved road filled with bright reddish orange sand
covered in dimples and tire tracks caused by other explorers. (Do watch out for 4x4s as
this is the same route they use to get to the main Devil’s Bridge trailhead parking lot.)
Once I reached the bridge it was time to do some waiting which was actually
totally okay with me because like I said that final little bit of the hike was a booty burner
with its steep climb. The one thing I found to be really unique about Devil’s Bridge
that I haven’t seen at most of the other popular destinations was the presence
of an orderly line of people waiting to take their picture out on the bridge. Oh it was magical
for a little introvert like me who would have been stuck standing there
all day long being nice and letting other people go first. Lol
While I was waiting my turn staring at the bridge and watching other people
walk out there to take their photos I could hear some of the people around me
start freaking out about going onto the bridge. From where we all were standing
the bridge looked suuuuper narrow and the more you stared at it the less it seemed
like a great idea to walk out onto it.
However, I am going to tell you right now that that is nothing more
than an optical illusion and the bridge is much wider than it appears. Trust me.
Unless you are afraid of heights there is no reason to freak out. Just watch
where you are walking and you will be a-okay.
When I was on deck for my moment in the spotlight I handed my phone
to the people standing in line behind me and walked to the edge of the
bridge waiting for the people currently out there to finish with their pictures.
(This was another thing I loved about Devil’s Bridge, everyone was so efficient!)
Then, finally, it was my turn. I was so scared I was going to trip and embarrass
myself in front of all the people (not trip and fall to my death. No, who cares about that
when humiliation is on the line? lol).
After I threw out a few different poses I walked off the bridge and then
hiked my way back to the truck. (I am planning on writing a article specifically
on hiking Devil’s Bridge so if you want more information on the trail be on
the lookout for that to arrive here soon!)
Hiked Out and Hotel Bound
This day was jam packed with hiking out in the sun so by the time I reached
the truck I was just absolutely exhausted. I drove back to my motel, cleaned
up a little bit, and listening to my growling tummy drove down the street to La Casita for dinner. I ordered the El Macho Burrito and y’all it was HUGE.
I finished the whole burrito plus my chips and salsa
(hiking really makes you work up an appetite! lol) and
it was absolutely delicious. Highly recommend you stop here if you find
yourself in Camp Verde. I drove back to the hotel and fell asleep the minute my
head hit the pillow.
Goodbye For Now Sedona
The next morning I was on the road by 6:30am and on my way to Joshua
Tree National Park so that is all for my recap of Sedona! I loved it in
Sedona (aside from all the traffic and non ideal parking situations) and
I am so excited to return one day because there are still soooo many hikes
I have on my to-hike list. Shoot, maybe I just need to move to Sedona! Lol
Thanks for reading! Have you ever been to Sedona? If so what hikes/things
to do do you recommend? Let me know in the comments!