We were so ready to leave Las Vegas last week.
We had a great time exploring the area and hiking but the noise and commotion in the city was really starting to get to us. In order to go anywhere we needed to drive out of Las Vegas and fight the horrible traffic. A 5 mile drive to a store takes about 30 minutes with the lights and traffic. The resort has no amenities. There is a pool, but it was damaged last spring and has not been repaired yet. There is no wifi (free or for purchase) in the park. We literally had to leave the campground each day for any entertainment, so we were very thankful that there was tons of adventure nearby. We would return to this park, but would probably not stay for a full 3-weeks again.
Our move last week was about 300 miles away to a small town in Arizona called Cottonwood. It is in an area called the Verde Valley and is situated at around 3000 feet. The weather here is cooler but we are enjoying the crispness to the air. This park is almost the exact opposite of the one we were at in Las Vegas.
The park is huge and situated way off the road so it is extremely quiet. There is a full schedule of events here as well as Pickleball courts
a heated swimming pool
We have done less hiking and spent a bit more time here at the park enjoying the facilities. Cottonwood is located about 1/2 hour from Sedona and about the same from Jerome. It is about a 45 minute drive to Prescott.
John and I took up Pickle ball in the spring last year and we have been looking forward to playing on this trip. There is a large group of campers here who meet every morning at 0900 to play for the next 2-3 hours. Our hikes have turned into afternoon/sunset hikes so we can pickle ball on morning.
This is our second trip to Sedona so we’ve already done some hiking here. I love Sedona hiking, the trails are so accessible and there are lots of hikes of just 3-5 miles, perfect for a sunset hike. These trails are just right for Gizmo.
Our first hike here was the Baldwin Loop. This is a 2.7 mile loop trail that brings you around an unnamed red rock butte. The highlight of the hike are the excellent views of Cathedral Rock. We took a short side trip on the Templeton Trail down to Oak Creek.
We wanted to see “Buddha Beach”. Buddha Beach is an area where visitors have built elaborate rock cairns, called buddhas out of the river rocks. Our guidebook said you might be lucky to see hundreds of these cairns, there were only a few visible on the day we hiked. They are knocked down frequently when the river surges and then are rebuilt.
Our second hike was to Scheurman mountain and was recommended to us by a fellow pickle ball player. This was a great sunset hike.
The parking for this hike is located right behind the Sedona High School. The start of the hike brings you behind the high school where you will see a field full of huge solar panels. There are enough solar panels here to supply 125 homes with power. This is a short hike, 0.5 miles to the top and then you turn left and hike another 0.25 miles out to the southern outlook. There are great views of the airport, cathedral rock and the surrounding area.
Our last hike this week was to Fay Canyon, it was a warmer day and we did not want to be out in the open hiking in the sun. This is a great hike to get good views and to keep cool in the canyon. The official trail ends at some huge red rocks, but you can see others have climbed up through these to get a view out across the canyon.
We did this and the views back were great. The hike is 2.2 miles round trip. We added on about 0.7 miles miles by taking in 2 short side trips, to see an arch and an interesting rock formation. Our first short side trip was about .3-.4 miles back from trails end on the left. We followed a “herd path” up to get a view of a rock that looked like Thor’s Hammer in Bryce.
Our second side trip was a small path on the left about .6 miles from the trails end. This path leads up to a natural arch/bridge. This is an unofficial trail with lots of side paths, stick to the left as you near the top. This is a narrow path with lots of prickly pear cactus lining it, so be careful.
There is supposedly a strong vortex under the arch, but we forgot to check this out during our trip. Visitors here have built a red rock fort off to the side of the arch.
We took one day to explore Jerome. Jerome is an old copper mining town built into the side of Cleopatra hill. It is located at over 5000 feet of elevation and looks down on the Verde Valley and across to Sedona.
It is now an eclectic artist’s community with lots of small shops and restaurants. We had a great day shopping here and walking up through the streets. John and I do not eat out, but we heard a lot of great reviews about the Haunted Hamburger, especially it’s Monday evening specials of $2 Margaritas and $5 build your own quesadilla.
Of course no trip to a tourist destination like Sedona would be complete without a day walking the Main street and shopping in all the local shops (yes, lots of t-shirt shops). We topped off this day with a trip up to The Chapel of the Holy Cross. This Roman Catholic church is built into the red rocks high above Sedona.
There is supposedly a Vortex here as well. I know when I walked into the church I had an overwhelming spiritual feeling come over me, John did not. The views from the property are amazing.