If it’s your first visit to Sedona, and you’d like a good overview of what Red Rock Country is all about, choose the Bell Rock Pathway Trail. This moderate two-hour hike encircles Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte and is perfect to satisfy the hiking urge.
During this moderate two-hour hike, you’ll see several areas Ilchi Lee spoke about in The Call of Sedona and enjoy panoramic views of some well-known rock formations. It begins easily at the marked trail head in the parking lot and travels north, parallel to Highway 179. The road forks at the 0.6-mile (1.0 km) point. Go to the left, traveling west, to circle the base of Bell Rock.
Soon the trail grows a bit more scenic as it curves away from the highway, and you find yourself atop red rock ledges with views you’ll want to capture with your camera for the folks back home. As the trail continues north, it moves toward the Highway again. As you travel toward the Twin Buttes formations, you’ll be able to see the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross from here.
You have come to the end of Bell Rock Pathway Trail when you reach the trailhead for Little Horse Trail. Check your map to explore other trails you can access from the Bell Rock Pathway, including Courthouse Butte Loop Trail, Little Horse Trail, Big Park Loop Trail, and of course, Bell Rock.
How to Get to Bell Rock Pathway Trail: Beginning at the roundabout in Highway 179 known as the “Y” near Uptown Sedona, travel south on Highway 179 for approximately 6.2 miles (9.9 km) to mile post 307.4, just south of Bell Rock, which can’t be missed as you approach. Turn left into the entrance of the Bell Rock Pathway parking area. Note: if you end up in the Village of Oak Creek, you’ve gone just a bit too far.
- Open year round. Good all-weather hike.
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate, pleasant hike
- Usage: Moderate
- Elevation gain: 300 feet
- Length: Approximately 3.7 mi each way
- Facilities: Yes, at trailhead
- Dogs allowed on a leash.
- Hiking shoes or boots and hats are recommended.
- This trail is recommended for older children.
- Always take plenty of water, especially in warmer weather, and possibly a snack, but please remember, “Leave no trace” and take what you brought along home with you.
- Take your camera and binoculars to capture the views.
- Parking: Lot available. Red Rock Pass or fee required.
- Don’t hike alone and let others know where you’re headed—just in case!
By Lynn A. Trombetta