Jerome, Arizona – A New Year’s Getaway in the Snow!

January 2019 – Most people come to the Arizona desert in January to get out of the snow and ice and enjoy some balmy weather. But when snow and ice blew into central Arizona on New Year’s Eve this week, we jumped at the chance to get out on New Year’s Day to enjoy the fluffy white stuff while it lasted.

Snowy highway I-17 to Jerome AZ-min

We drove north on I-17 to see the snow!

We headed north on I-17 which takes travelers from the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix at about 1,200′ elevation to the ponderosa pine forests of Flagstaff at about 7,500′ elevation in just two hours of highway driving. Not far from the northern boundaries of Phoenix we began seeing patches of snow along the highway.

Snow on the rocks in Arizona-min

The rocks on the side of the highway were all capped in snow.

Snow had collected on the rock formations and in the forests by the side of the highway as we climbed higher and higher in elevation.

Snow in the trees in Arizona-min

Soon we saw woods filled with snow-covered trees.

Our goal had just been to go see some snow, but we soon realized our afternoon New Year’s snow drive needed a destination.

We wanted to see a quaint town full of holiday cheer along with ice and snow, so we cut off from I-70 onto Route 260 and 89A to go to the historic copper mining town of Jerome.

Hotel on the way into Jerome AZ-min

Rounding the first switchback on our way up Mingus Mountain to Jerome.

Jerome is perched halfway up towering Mingus Mountain, and it clings to the hillside with tenacity as it looks out over the valley below. The views are vast, and when we arrived storm clouds and golden sunlight were taking turns shading and lighting the valley.

Light and shadow in the valley view from erome Arizona-min

Light and shadow played hide and seek across the valley.

The town was built along several steep switchbacks in the road that crosses Mingus Mountain, and houses and shops stand at several different levels on the mountain road. A few staircases take shortcuts between each level, leading from one road up to the next.

Old stone stairway Jerome Arizona-min

The town of Jerome is multi-leveled and has lots of stairways.

Jerome is something of a rediscovered ghost town, and there are ghostly themes all over the place. We noticed a skeleton was about to join a family eating outside on a restaurant deck.

Eating on the deck with a skeleton Jerome Arizona-min

Dinner with a view — and a surprise guest!

Another skeleton was climbing the sign at the Haunted Hamburger.

Haunted Hamburger skeleton sign Jerome Arizona-min

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Jerome is a really popular destination in the summertime because it is an easy drive from baking hot Phoenix, and the temps are cool and refreshing because it lies halfway up a tall mountain. But it makes a delightful wintertime destination too, especially around the holidays. Christmas decorations were everywhere.

Icicles and Christmas ornament Jerome Arizona-min

If you don’t feel the Christmas spirit in the warm desert, come to Jerome for real icicles and ornaments.

Spiked peppermint hot chocolate sign Jerome Arizona-min

What could be better than this after a cold walk in Jerome on a wintry day?

Walking the streets of Jerome, we saw beautiful views across the valley. The red rocks of Sedona were nearby, and they lit up in the distance as the sun began to sink lower in the sky.

Red rocks of Sedona Arizona-min

The red rocks of Sedona glowed in the distance.

All the buildings were covered with a layer of snow, which made for a fun change of scenery after weeks in the dusty dry deserts of New Mexico and Arizona.

Valley view from Jerome Arizona-min

The views went on forever and were especially lovely as the sun went down.

We followed the switchbacks to the top of town.

Curvy uphill street Jerome Arizona-min

The streets were quiet, and the town was as quaint as can be!

The Jerome Grand Hotel stood proudly overlooking the valley.

Jerome Grand Hotel Arizona sunset-min

The Jerome Grand Hotel is haunted.

Inside the lobby of the Jerome Grand Hotel we read some of the guests’ hand written ghost stories that have been collected in a notebook. All kinds of things go bump in the night at this hotel, and visitors have some hair raising tales to tell. Just ask the person at the front desk if you can see the guestbook of stories about this haunted hotel!

Jerome Grand Hotel Arizona-min

We read a few of the guests’ ghost stories…sleep with one eye open if you stay here!

The sun set in pastel shades of peach and pink and blue as we walked back down into town.

Streets of Jerome Arizona at sunset-min

We’ve loved Jerome at warmer times of year, but the snow and cold gave it a special kind of intimacy.

Pink and blue sunset Jerome Arizona-min

Pink and blue sunset.

As we made our way back to the parking area at the bottom of town we saw lots of Christmas lights on the houses.

Christmas lights Jerome Arizona-min

Christmas lights came on all over town — very pretty!

All the trees in the small town park were decorated with lights, but it was the lights on the ground blinking under the snow that caught our attention.

Christmas lights buried under the snow-min

In the town park Christmas lights blinked under the snow!

Jerome is a cute town and a lovely spot to for a change of pace from the desert, especially during the holidays when it snows!

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Sedona Arizona – Brooding Skies at Sunset in the Red Rocks

March 2016 – During our RV travels to Sedona, Arizona, we were eager to capture a gorgeous sunset over the red rocks. We had seen some lovely sunsets, and we had enjoyed lots of time hiking and biking in the red rocks, so it only made sense that we should be able to get some photos of a magical sunset casting a pink and orange glow across the unique Sedona landscape.

We checked what time sunset was, got all our photography gear together, and headed out at the Golden Hour just before the sun went down.

Golden hour Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

The “Golden Hour” (an hour before sunset) on Bell Rock Pathway in Sedona AZ

We had everything we needed to capture the ethereal light of sunset. We hiked well out onto the Bell Rock Pathway to the big flat boulders in the middle where you get a wonderful 360 degree view of the majestic red rocks all around you.

Bell Rock Pathway Golden Hour Sedona Arizona

Would the brooding sky grace us with a beautiful sunset tonight?

Well, a daytime sky full of clouds doesn’t always translate into an evening sky full of pink and orange colors.

Golden sky Bell Rock Pathway Sedona AZ

Dark gray and pure white clouds striped the sky.

I had found an awesome spot to capture a vividly colorful sky with a craggy old tree framed by the red rocks, but as the minutes ticked by after the sun was gone from the sky, we both finally had to admit that this evening’s sunset was a total dud. Oh well.

Bell Rock Pathway views Sedona Arizona

Despite all the good looking prospects beforehand, the sunset never materialized.

We packed up our gear and went home. As we drove, we bolstered our rather dejected spirits with hopes for a stunning sunset tomorrow. After all, Nature would have to put on a vivid display the next night. There couldn’t be two dud sunsets in a row, could there?

So, after a day of other activites and much anticipation, we packed up our camera gear once again, hopped in the truck, and drove out to the Bell Rock Pathway for the Golden Hour a second time, our spirits high and hopeful.

Photography in Sedona Arizona

Tripods at the ready, we had everything we needed for a great sunset, provided Nature cooperated!

We had expected to see big crowds at the trailheads at sunset, but instead there were just a few vehicles. Some kids in a rental RV were climbing on the roof to get a shot of Bell Rock. They flashed peace signs at me and gave me a thumbs up.

RV motorhome at Bell Rock Sedona Arizona

Some Asian kids with a rental RV get shots of Bell Rock from the roof.

Just behind us, a girl in a beautiful pink gown was posing for a photographer. How fun!!

Photo shoot at Bell Rock Overlook Sedona Arizona

A pink gown and Sedona’s red rocks — what a great combo!

Mark posed for me too, although his outfit wasn’t quite as stunning, and the skies began to go gray above us. We stared at the darkening, mottled sky wondering how this sunset would go. Hmmm.

Bell Rock Pathway dark sky Sedona AZ

Mark models for me before we head out on the
Bell Rock Pathway trail.

Well, maybe a sunset would develop. We hoisted our tripods over our shoulders and trekked out onto Bell Rock Pathway once again.

To get a good sunset, there has to be some kind of small opening in the sky at the horizon where the sun can shine through and light up the clouds as it slips away. We watched with disappointment as the entire horizon filled with dark, dense, gray clouds, obliterating any chances the sun might have had to peek through.

Night sky Sedona Arizona

Very cool clouds, but no sunset.

We had our trusty radios with us, and we kept each other entertained with banter while we waited, even though we were on opposite sides of the huge rocks.

Eventually, the clouds and nighttime won, and the last shafts of light from the sun flashed across the sky. The sky went black, and our spirits went the same way. We couldn’t believe our luck. Two days in a row!

Stubbornly, we stayed put out on the trail until the trail itself was impossible to see, as if by remaining out there we could make the last half hour replay itself, this time with bright color and a vivid sunset.

Cathedral Rock light in the sky Sedona AZ

The sun splashed across the clouds for a split second before darkness fell.

We were very quiet in the trailer that night as we sorted through our photos. Would we give it a try again tomorrow? The third time’s a charm… but then, bad things come in threes. Oh goodness.

The thing was that these nights were COLD. We each wore three jackets when we hiked out onto the trail, and the wind always found its way through our clothes, even when we snugged our hats and hoods around our ears while waiting for the sun to do its magic.

Cold nighttime photography Sedona Arizona

Staying warm at sunset in Sedona in early Mark takes a lot of layers!!

On the third day there were puffy little idyllic happy clouds in the sky all day long. Huge platoons of them marched across the sky, and they promised us they’d still be marching come nightfall so we could photograph glorious shades of magenta and orange suspended over the red rocks.

But no.

Cathedral Rock stormy sky Sedona Arizona

Clouds streak over Cathedral Rock.

By sunset the clouds had banded together into massive blankets of gray that streaked across the sky.

Wild Skies at Cathedral Rock Sedona Arizona

The streaks over Cathedral Rock take on a wild look.

They swam from horizon to horizon, and even when the sun was able to cast its warming glow for a split second, the clouds hung heavy and dark.

Views from the Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

Sun lights the sky for a fleeting moment.

Mark got creative, though, and caught them in the act of coming directly towards him over the cliffs in the distance.

Bell Rock Pathway night views Sedona AZ

A spray of clouds.

But the color just wasn’t happening. The gods of the Sedona skies had decided not to give us any orange or pink brilliance for the third night in a row.

Suddenly, just as we were giving up hope and talking about packing it up so we could go home and get warm, we turned around and saw fire lighting the sky beneath the dramatic clouds hanging over Cathedral Rock.

Cathedral Rock at sunset Sedona Arizona

The sky is on fire at the base of Cathedral Rock.

“Holy cow. Do you see THAT?” I called on the radio.

“YES!” Mark answered. And we both leaped into action.

Sunset Cathedral Rock Sedona Arizona

Wow!

At last we had our colorful sunset skies over the red rocks in Sedona.

If you are traveling in your RV to Arizona’s red rock country in Sedona, try to get out on a hike during the golden hour for sunset. Even if you don’t get a wildly colorful sky, you will still see a lot of beauty. And who knows, at the very last moment the sun might do something magical!

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Each of the three nights we ventured onto Bell Rock Pathway from a different access point. The three trailhead parking lots can be found on Google Maps at this link.

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The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek (Bell Trail Hike), Sedona, AZ

March 2016 – We really enjoyed mountain biking the Bell Rock Pathway during our RV travels to Sedona, Arizona, and one day we got chatting with young neighbors in an RV nearby about where the good mountain biking and hiking spots were around Sedona. They knew the area really well and asked if we’d ever been to The Crack at Wet Beaver.

Mark raised an eyebrow.

“No, no, not that!” They said. “It’s a really cool gorge on Wet Beaver Creek. It’s a great hike, and if you take your bathing suits you can swim there!”

Bell Trail Hike to Wet Beaver Creek The Crack Sedona Arizona

“The Crack” at Wet Beaver Creek

The next morning dawned sunny and warm, so we took off on the Bell Trail to hike into the Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness to find this infamous Crack.

Beginning Bell Trail Hike Sedona AZ

The beginning of the Bell Trail hike into the Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness goes through open grassland.

The Bell Trail is named for Charles Bell who built the trail in 1932 for moving cattle, and a sign at the trailhead indicates it is still used for that purpose today. It is about 3.5 miles from the trailhead to The Crack. The trail goes deeper into the Wilderness, but we figured 7 miles out and back was plenty for one day.

At the beginning, we hiked through open grasslands and under a canopy of trees alongside Wet Beaver Creek. After about two miles, we came across a red rock cliff soaring into the sky with a tree on top.

Hiking the Bell Trail Hike Sedona AZ

A red rock cliff with a tree on top juts into the sky

For the next mile or so we walked through gorgeous red rock scenery as the trail hung onto the edges of bright orange hillsides and zig-zagged under exotic red rock formations.

Hiking Bell Trail Sedona Arizona

How’s that for a cool trail?!

We were hiking in the morning, and the sun felt good on our skin, but later in the day this desert landscape would become very hot.

Bell Trail Hike Sedona Arizona

Desert plants, like ocotillo cactus and prickly pear, abound.

We could hear the sound of rushing water ahead of us, and soon we saw the creek splashing noisily over river rocks to our right. What a nice spot for a picnic!

Bell Trail Hike to Wet Beaver Creek Sedona Arizona

We stopped for lunch in a quiet spot where the water rushed over river rocks.

The whole area was filled with leafless deciduous trees that must bring true magic to the landscape in the fall. And what a great spot to do some flowing water photography!

Bell Trail Wet Beaver Creek Sedona Arizona

Wet Beaver Creek polishes the rocks in its path.

We hiked just a little futher on and suddenly the landscape opened up to massive shelves of boulders stepping down to sheer cliffs that plunged into the water below. This was The Crack!

View Wet Beaver Creek The Crack Sedona Arizona

“The Crack” is like a red rock quarry with huge flat slabs of sandstone and water far below.

Our friends had described crystal clear water that was a lovely shade of blue, but the creek was running fast from the snow melt and had swelled so much that lots of debris had been stirred up as the water tumbled down from the mountains. The water was murky and filled with foam from the crashing waterfalls upstream.

This made for some neat slo-mo photos!

Swirls Wet Beaver Creek The Crack Sedona Arizona

The fast moving water from the snow melt created cool foam swirls

The Crack is a stunning spot that is so unexpected in the dry dusty desert.

Hike to Wet Beaver Creek The Crack Sedona AZ

The canyon walls were steep and the surface of the water was foamy!

The huge flat boulders are really inviting, and we scrambled around on them for quite a while.

Wet Beaver Creek The Crack Sedona AZ

I just love that tree growing out of the crack in the rocks.

Photography at Wet Beaver Creek The Crack

This little oasis was such a surprise after the dusty, dry hike to get here.

We had the place to ourselves. Other than the distant sound of rushing water, it was quiet and still.

Hike to Wet Beaver Creek The Crack Sedona Arizona

We had the place to ourselves…for the moment!

I ventured out onto a cool looking precipice hanging out over the water and Mark got my photo.

Diving platform Wet Beaver Creek The Crack Sedona Arizona

Little did I know that this is a favorite diving platform!

Suddenly, we heard voices coming down the trail. Two young couples appeared and set up beach towels right on that same rock precipice I’d been standing on and then stripped down to their bathing suits to get a tan.

“Are you going to jump in?” One girl in a bikini asked me.

I looked down at the murky water doubtfully. Diving into the its depths had not been on my agenda today!

Sunbathing Wet Beaver Creak The Crack Sedona Arizona

Sunbathers stretch out on the diving rock.

Then, I watched in amazement as she made her way down to a lower rock and jumped in. Brrr!! Then the other girl did the same.

“The water’s great!” They yelled out to me.

Well, I was happier taking photos of them than swimming, so I let them have all the fun in the water while I stayed warm and dry on shore.

They debated jumping off the rock precipice where they’d laid their beach towels, but because they couldn’t see the bottom — which they said you usually can — they decided not to. You never know what kind of submerged log might be lurking just below the surface.

Flying leap Wet Beaver Creek The Crack Sedona AZ

The water was too murky to dive from the upper rock, but this intrepid gal jumped in from lower down.

The bathing beauties climbed out of the water using a rope that someone had secured in the rock, and they settled in on their beach towels for a while.

We left them and began to make our way back along Bell Trail. The trail had gotten really busy, and we were amazed that the silence of the early morning was completely gone now, shattered by the continual voices and footsteps of other hikers making their way to The Crack on this warm Friday afternoon.

A snort and a whinny up ahead alerted us to horseback riders coming down the trail. What a neat sighting at the end of a very enjoyable hike.

Horseback riding Bell Trail Sedona Arizona

A pair of horseback riders greeted us on the trail going back.

If you spend some time in Sedona, whether you travel there by RV or some other means, a hike on Bell Trail to The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek is a really nice change of pace. More info and links below.

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Sedona, Arizona – Great Beer, Coffee, Red Rocks & Psychics!

March 2016 – When we brought our RV to Sedona, Arizona, even though we had been there many times before, we still hung our heads out the windows of the truck saying, “omg omg omg OMG!!!” We’d forgotten just how stunning the towering red rocks cliffs are.

RV travel to Sedona Arizona red rock country

Driving into town, we were totally awed by the red rock scenery.

We were utterly mesmerized as the road carved beautiful sweeping turns through these monoliths. We just drove around for a while, taking it all in, and marveling at the views out the windows.

RV road trip and scenic drive Sedona Arizona

Anywhere you drive in Sedona, the landscapes are breathtaking.

RV adventure in Sedona Arizona and scenic drives

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White flowering trees were in bloom all around town too. What a great combination these made with those incredible cliffs behind!

Sedona Arizona red rocks and flowers

White flowering trees were in bloom.

Sedona Arizona rock cliffs and white flowers

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Sedona is a funny mix of dramatic natural landscapes, upscale trendy shops, and outdoor pursuits, all overlaid with a mystical, New Age flair. The Hyatt Regency has a fancy resort hotel in the middle of it all, while the main drag is dotted with psychic readers, mountain bike shops, art galleries, hiking stores, elegant bistros and souvenir shops.

Restaurants Galleries Shops Sedona Arizona

For many, Sedona is all about shopping, artsy stuff, and eating great food.

It is a vacation playground for people from “The Valley of the Sun” (Phoenix) about 100 miles away. Bustling shops selling homemade ice cream cones are lined up against a breathtaking backdrop of bright orange cliffs where tourists go on joy ride jeep tours into the rugged pink and orange desert landscapes.

Uptown Sedona Arizona

Gorgeous natural landscapes beckon just outside of town.

And every few minutes a snazzy sports car or vintage car rolls by.

Sports car in Sedona Arizona town center

Some folks travel here in style.

Fancy vintage car in Sedona Arizona

Exotic car sightings are the norm in Sedona.

It’s a fabulous town to stroll around, and we love the sculptures that grace the sidewalks.

Horse statue Sedona Arizona

Sedona is an artsy town with creative sculptures decorating the sidewalks.

Sedona Arizona T-shirts

No problem finding a souvenir t-shirt in this town!

The town was founded in 1902, and camera buffs have been stopping in at Rollie’s Camera Shop for camera gear and supplies since it opened in 1961. We dropped by three times to visit our friend Tom Kelly who works there and also sells his beautiful photographs.

How funny it was when a pair of tourists came into the shop to buy film. “Fuji Film or Kodachrome?” Tom asked them. They took the Fuji Film, but gosh, I never thought I’d hear those words again!

Rollies Camera Sedona Arizona

The back door of Rollies Camera where photographers have bought gear since 1961.

Of course, part of vacationing in a place like Sedona is relaxing with a glass of wine or a good microbrew beer after the sun has crested its peak in the sky. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, though, and partiers occasionally wind up regretting last night’s wild party the next morning. We passed a hilarious sign showing a fish that…well… drinks like a fish…

Murphy's Country Store Sedona Arizona

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And where do you find the biggest selection of beer — at the best prices — in this oh-so-trendy and pricey town? At the Chevron station in the Village of Oak Creek!

Really!!

They have shelves and shelves of unusual microbrew beers, all at very modest prices, and best of all, you can build your own six pack. On Thursdays they knock even more off the price of the build-your-own-six-packs. So, if you plan your week out right, Thursday is the day to go stock up on beer.

At Chevron!

Chevron Station Village of Oak Creek Sedona Arizona

This place has the best selection of craft beer (and at the best prices) in town!

Why does a gas station have the best beer selection in a fancy dancy town like Sedona? Because it’s run by a very cool guy. Tony Pugliano is a young, entrepreneurial mountain biker who owns not just this Chevron but a 76 station over in Cottonwood too. His gas station in Cottonwood is even better. It has craft beers on tap!!

Now that’s the way to bring customers in and make them happy at your gas station!

We met Tony two years ago when we brought our RV to Sedona, and this year, while stopping at the Sedona Bike and Bean bike shop to get a part for Mark’s mountain bike, who walked in but Tony! He was picking up some parts for his bike too.

Sedona Bike and Bean Sedona Arizona

Mark recognized Tony at Sedona Bike & Bean right away. What a perfect place to run into each other!

While we chatted, I got a latte. And why not? This bike shop is the Sedona Bike and Bean, afterall. When you walk in the front door of the shop, the first thing you notice — before the bikes, and bike jerseys and bike repair stands — is the huge coffee bar where you can order any kind of fancy coffee drink you can imagine.

That’s the way Sedona is. It is a haven for lovers of gourmet coffee, great beer, and the outdoors. If you are clairvoyant and/or rich, you’ll fit right in too!

Gypsy Jenny's Sedona Arizona

Sedona is a great place for reflections — in store windows and introspectively too!

Another fun place to go for a beer is at the Oak Creek Brewery. The brew master was busy making one of our all time favorite beers when we stopped by, their Nut Brown Ale.

Oak Creek Brewing Company Sedona Arizona

The Nut Brown Ale is as fresh as it can be at the Oak Creek Brewery in Sedona.

When we cruised out of Sedona to the west, we found even more stunning scenery.

Red rock scenery in West Sedona Arizona

Even under cloudy skies, the scenic drives in West Sedona are jaw-droppers.

Pink Jeep West Sedona Arizona

Pink Jeep Tours are everywhere. What a fun way to get into the more rugged areas out of town.

The red rocks and towering mountains just don’t quit!

West Sedona Arizona scenic drives in the red rocks

Sedona is in the heart of Arizona’s red rock country!

Sedona is an awesome place for RVers to settle in for a week or two.

Truck and fifth wheel trailer RV at sunset

Mark catches a pink sunset over our truck.

If you have a hankering for an RV roadtrip to red rock country, Sedona is one gorgeous spot, and the climate is ideal in spring and fall! There are more tips and links and info about Sedona below.

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Bell Rock Pathway, Sedona AZ – Hiking & Biking the Red Rocks

February 2016 – We packed up our RV in Tucson, Arizona, when the daytimes highs began to creep over 90 degrees, and hightailed it back through Phoenix and on up to Sedona where the 4,000′ elevation makes the climate about 10 degrees cooler than down in the Sonoran Desert regions of the state.

We hadn’t been in the red rocks in over two years, and when we first caught sight of the towering red cliffs and rock formations that envelop the town of Sedona, we were almost breathless with excitement. We couldn’t wait to hit the trails, and one of the best places to immerse yourself in red rock scenery is right in the heart of it all on the Bell Rock Pathway.

Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Mountain Biking

Within a few moments of getting on the Bell Rock Pathway, hikers and bikers are immersed
in the best of Sedona’s red rock scenery

We were joined by special friends, and we set off on our mountain bikes.

Ready to ride bikes on Bell Rock Pathway Sedona AZ

Our friends Rich and Mark join us to ride the red rocks!

Bell Rock Pathway is one of the most popular hiking and biking trails in the area, and it is inundated with bus loads of tourists every day. But we were on the trail fairly early on a weekday morning, and there were just a few hikers here and there.

Hiking and biking Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

Bell Rock Pathway is shared by walkers, joggers and mountain bikers,
but there’s plenty of room for everyone.

The magic of the Bel Rock Pathway is that you don’t have to go very far to be totally wowed by the scenery. In fact, we always find we get swept up in the stunning scenery right in the parking lot, and many of the bus loads of tourists never make it past the asphalt!

Bell Rock Pathway Mountain biker and jogger Sedona AZ

What a place to go for a run — or a bike ride!

Bell Rock Pathway is beloved by walkers, joggers, and mountain bikers, and the path is wide and relatively smooth and extraordinarily scenic.

Jogger and biker Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

The views are great in every direction!

The Bell Rock Pathway parallels the main road, and there are three parking lots that give you access to the two ends as well as the middle of the trail. We started at the southern end, and the trail climbed steadily for about a mile. But the jaw-dropping vistas were worth every huff and puff as we went along.

Mountain bike Bell Rock Pathway Oak Creek Arizona

As soon as we got a little distance from the parking lot we had the trail to ourselves.

Bell Rock Pathway is a very easy mountain biking trail and is ideal for beginners. Yet there are just enough little challenges here and there to keep more advanced riders on their toes. The views become more and more spectacular with every pedal stroke.

Mountain bike Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

I couldn’t stop taking pics of Mark as he rode ahead of me!

After the first mile, the terrain goes up and down and sweeps around twists and turns qutie a bit. And then suddenly it opens up to this fantastic area of wide, flat rocks.

Bikers Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

After a mile or so the path opened onto wide flat rocks with outstanding views all around us.

Standing in the middle of this wide open area, there are eye-popping views every way you turn. It literally doesn’t matter which direction you look, you are surrounded by majestic, towering red rock formations.

Flat rocks MTB Bell Rock Pathway Arizona

These flat rocks are an ideal spot to take a breather and look around!

And then the trail takes off again, descending through wide turns.

Mountain bikers on Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

The middle portion of the trail sweeps through turns and rolls up and down small hills.

Bell Rock Pathway is a trunk route that has lots of little off-shoots, and all of those other trails are more difficult. We simply rode it to the end, about 3.5 miles from our strating point, and turned around to retrace our route.

Mountain biking Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

The Bell Rock Pathway is about 3.5 miles long one way.

The beauty of this hiking and biking trail is that the views on the way back are completely different than the views on the way out, and the lighting on the rock faces changes constantly.

Bell Rock Pathway Mountain Biking Sedona AZ

Weeeee! Bell Rock Pathway is easy and fun.

Riding behind Mark, I couldn’t stop clicking the camera, framing him inside of one magnificent view after another. Holding the camera up and riding one handed is a little dicey, though, and always makes for a rather exilharating ride!

Mountain Bikers Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

The return trip has all new views for us!

Mountain biker Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

Bell Rock Pathway is worth doing over and over again — it’s easy and it is stunning!

We enjoyed our bike ride on the Bell Rock Pathway so much that we came back to do it again a few days later.

Mountain bike Bell Rock Pathway Sedona Arizona

One very happy camper!

Mountain bike on Bell Rock Pathway Sedona AZ

We enjoyed riding our bikes on the Bell Rock Pathway, but most of the people out there were walking…

For RV travelers in search of a good way to get out into the Red Rocks without doing a strenuous hike or challenging bike ride, the Bell Rock Pathway is an ideal trail.

RV camping under the stars in Sedona Arizona

At the end of the day we all put our feet up under the stars…

Feeling a little rusty bike-wise? It might be time to get back on it again! Two years ago our 76 year old friend Marcel showed us that mountain biking is the Fountain of Youth (blog post here). Now 78, he’s still shredding the gnar out there, and all winter long he’s been mountain biking in Arizona!

More info and links for Sedona’s Bell Rock Pathway below.

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More info about the Bell Rock Pathway:

There are three trail head parking lots, and each one requires a parking pass, either the Red Rock pass or a Federal Interagency Pass (the old “National Park Pass” or Senior Pass). And be sure to get there early, especially on a beautiful sunny weekend.

Other posts from our RV travels featuring hikes and bike rides in red rock country:

Fun things to see and do while RVing in Sedona

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Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing – Sedona AZ

Sedona Arizona views around town are spectacular

Every road in Sedona is a stunner!

October, 2014 – After a brief stay in the mysterious and intriguing Navajo lands of northeastern Arizona, we headed south to Sedona.

We had spent several weeks here in the spring, but this is a place that deserves lots of return visits, so we were delighted to stop in town once again.

The spectacular views are utterly breathtaking, no matter how many times you have driven past them, and I couldn’t stop myself from getting some pics out the truck window — again!

 

Bronze sculpture of a painter in Sedona Arizona

A bronze sculpture of a painter recreating the scene while a little girl takes his pic.

The town of Sedona is a fun combination of funky, artsy, mystical and outdoorsy. On the artsy side, a large brass sculpture of an artist creating a painting on an easel stands in the middle of town.

The artist is painting the stunning mountains that line the horizon across the street while a little girl snaps a photo of him.

Skeletons outside a shop in Sedona Arizona

Two skeletons sit chatting outside a boutique shop.

On the funky side, two skeletons were sitting on chairs out in front of a boutique shop. They were gabbing away, as happy as could be. One of them waved “hi” to us as we walked past.

Another bronze sculpture depicts Sacagawea, the young Shoshone Indian woman who guided Lewis and Clark on their exploratory expedition of 1804-1806.

 

Bronze sculpture of Indian Sacajawea with her baby in Sedona AZ

A bronze sculpture of Sacajawea and her baby.

In the sculpture, she is carrying an infant in a papoose on her back.

Sedona is much loved for its mysterious and mystical side too.

There are vortexes in the area where people get in touch with their spirituality, sometimes experiencing unusual connections and awakenings

What we noticed, however, were the intense sunsets, a hallmark across all of Arizona.

Late one afternoon, the sky lit up in glorious shades of pink and purple.

Pink and purple sunset in Sedona Arizona

We see our first Arizona sunset after a season away.

During our previous visit we had seen some gorgeous photos of Cathedral Rock taken at Red Rock Crossing where Oak Creek reflects the brilliant red rock formation in its pools.

Cathedral Rock in Sedona Arizona

Cathedral Rock – without the reflecting pools!

Hiking along Oak Creek at Red Rock Crossing in Sedona Arizona

The hike along Oak Creek

There are two ways to get to this spot, either by going through Red Rock State Park or by driving down Verde Valley School Road to the end.

We chose the latter method and followed the trail through some woods and across a large flat grassy meadow where Cathedral Rock loomed at the far end, brightly lit by the afternoon sun.

Then the trail ducked into the woods again, roughly following Oak Creek.

Hiking along the base of Cathedral Rock at Oak Creek Arizona

A glimpse of the base of Cathedral Rock

At last the view opened up a little, and we could see beautiful red rock spires near the water’s edge.

It was a warm day, and we came across a group of people sun tanning on beach towels and wading in the water in swimsuits.

Besides getting a little exercise hiking, though, we were on a mission to see Cathedral Rock reflected in the watery pools, not to sun bathe. Unfortunately, we soon found out we were at the wrong end of the trail. So we turned around and headed back.

Passing the turn-off to our truck on the left, suddenly huge flat slabs of red rocks fanned out in front of us.

Kneeling in reverence at Cathedral Rock in Sedona Arizona

Mark kneels in reverence at Cathedral Rock — or is he checking the settings on his camera?

Recent rains had filled the crevices with water, making wonderful still, shallow pools that reflected Cathedral Rock in the afternoon sun — in bits and pieces.

The best way to get the reflections was to get really low or even lie on our sides and shoot across the water.

I walked across some dry rocks into the stream a ways and looked back to see Mark bending over his camera in a perfect image of solemnity and reverential worship at the foot of Cathedral Rock!

I had to laugh as I took his picture, and then I lost my balance and plunked one foot in the water, right up to my ankle.

Oops. Never laugh at someone enjoying a particularly spiritual moment, whether it’s with the Divine Essence or with their Nikon, especially in Sedona!

Cathedral Rock reflects in the pools of water at Red Rock Crossing in Sedona Arizona

Cathedral Rock is reflected in shallow pools by Red Rock Crossing.

Cathedral Rock in Sedona AZ is a perfect place for a portrait!

Sedona is for Lovers

Our stay in Sedona was just a few days this time, but we were so happy to be able to stop by once again and take in a few more of the exceptional sights there.

Here is some info about Red Rock Crossing:

Related Posts:

Trailer Life Magazine’s December 2014 issue features our article Arizona’s Red Rock Country, and you can read it here.

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Montezuma’s Castle & Schnebly Hill – Sedona Heights!

Montezuma's Castle National Monument

“Montezuma’s Castle” – were the Aztecs in Arizona??!!

May, 2014 – We have driven past those tantalizing signs on I-17 in Arizona a hundred times:
“Montezuma’s Castle” & “Montezuma’s Well.”

But we have always been in a rush either to get up to Flagstaff or down to Phoenix.

Did those signs refer to the 16th century Aztec king, Montezuma?

If so, what the heck had he been doing way up here in Arizona when his real castle was down by Mexico City?

If not, then why did these places bear his name? Continue reading

Sedona Reflections on the West Fork Trail

West Fork hike Sedona AZ

Beautiful reflections on the West Fork Trail

May, 2014 – Sedona, Arizona, is an outdoor lover’s paradise.  Not only were we thrilled (and challenged) by the wonderful mountain biking in the area, but the hiking was incredible too.

The only problem we had was figuring out which hikes to do! Continue reading

Sedona – Mountain biking in the red rocks!

Mountain bikes at Bell Rock Oak Creek AZ

Ready to Ride!!

May, 2014 – Sedona, Arizona, is a mountain biking mecca, and our friend Marcel, whom we met during our winter stay in Phoenix, and who inspired us to take up this sport, was eager to get us out on the trails.

The mountain biking in Sedona is scenic, dramatic and thrilling — but we soon found out that it is far from easy!

There is only one trail in the main system of in-town trails — the Bell Rock Pathway — that is truly for beginners, and we happily rode up and down that 3.5 mile path many times. Continue reading

Oh, Sedona – Scenic drives in the red rocks!!

Sedona Arizona sign

We have arrived!

May, 2014 – Driving north from Roosevelt Lake in the Phoenix area is a climb, no matter which road you take.

As we drove north on I-17, the rising elevation quickly took us out of the Sonoran desert landscapes.

The air cooled and the saguaro cactus gave way to scrubby evergreens.

In no time, we were in the heart of Arizona’s red rock country in Sedona.

Oh my.  Sedona is breathtaking!! Continue reading