Red Rock State Park: Gorgeous Sedona Views Minus the Crowds
Although there are many amazing hiking trails scattered throughout Sedona (Devil’s Bridge, Cathedral Rock, and Fay & Boynton Canyon to name a few), unfortunately, with these fabulous views often comes intense crowds. For a more peaceful experience head over to Red Rock State Park, where you still experience extraordinary views, only with the added bonus of much less tourist congestion.
While most of the tourists head out to the most popular trails like those listed above, you can journey over to Red Rock for a peaceful day of quiet nature filled trails, breathtaking views, and possible wildlife sightings. A variety of easy-moderate trails, peaceful creek and forest views, amazing panoramic red rock overlooks, and the occasional wildlife sighting await your visit to Red Rock.
5 Miles of Jaw Dropping Views
At this gorgeous 286 acre park, you will have your pick amongst 6 different trails (totaling approximately 5 miles), ranging from an easy, short 0.4 mile nature trail to a 1.9 mile, 300 ft climb to Eagle’s Nest, the highest point in the park. Whatever trail you choose, you will be surrounded by gorgeous greenery and beautiful 200 million + year old red rocks! Bring your camera – the views are simply stunning!
Eagle’s Nest trail
If you are limited on time and would consider yourself to be moderately active, head right over to the Eagle’s Nest trail, which offers a decent workout and the best views in the park. The trail is mostly flat, with a few moderate inclines, although it should be easy enough for anyone with a basic level of fitness. The 2 mile distance is perfect for a casual, relaxing weekend/vacation hike. The trail is just long enough to enjoy a full morning activity, yet not exhausting enough to hinder the rest of your day.
Otherworldly world red rock scenery
There are so many wonderful photo opportunities on this trail, and even better, it is extremely easy to get your desired photos without many other people blocking the view. Many of Sedona’s hikes are jam packed, making a visit to quiet Red Rock State Park a refreshing change of pace.
Wildlife you may see during your visit will vary depending on the time of day/year you visit, temperatures, and crowd levels. The most commonly seen species include: bobcats, coyotes, javelina, and mule deer. Blacktail rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and tarantulas are not as common, but keep your eyes peeled as sightings have been reported during the warmer summer months.
If you feel like learning more about the native plants and animals of the preserve with the guidance of a ranger, you have several options in terms of ongoing hikes. Daily guided nature walks take place at 9:00am. On these short 1.5-2 hour walks, you will learn more about the diverse ecosystem of Oak Creek. You’ll also learn more about the history, plants, and animals found in the area. This is a great introduction for those new to the area. On Wednesdays and Saturdays at 7am, bring your binoculars for a guided bird walk. Bird enthusiasts will have the opportunity to learn more about the diversity of species found at Red Rock.
Hot weather hiking tips
If planning your visit during the extremely hot summer months, be sure to keep the following tips in mind! Note that the average daily high from June-August soars into the mid-90’s. However, if you plan your hike during the early morning hours, the temps will be considerably cooler.
*Wear a camelback or fill up several water bottles. You should always drink more water in hot, dry, high altitude climates.
*Wear light clothing, preferably shorts and a tank top style workout clothing to keep yourself cool. Also wear lightweight socks and shoes to keep cool. I also keep an extra water bottle on hand to toss over my head.
*Wear sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from the harsh sun. Use sunscreen on exposed body parts, especially if venturing out in the middle of the day.
*Be aware that what ordinarily seems like a short hike may seem much longer during Sedona’s hot summer season. Don’t overexert yourself and perhaps test out a shorter trail at first to test your ability level. Pick up a trail map in the Visitor’s Center.
*Replenish with a good meal and electrolytes post-hike. Indian Gardens is my favorite breakfast cafe in the area.
*Check the weather forecast and be prepared for the chance of a major storm. During July and August, daily monsoons are very common. The weather can be unpredictable.
Address & Admission Info
Red Rock State Park is located at: 4050 Red Rock Loop Road Sedona, AZ 86336. Hours are 8am-5pm/7 days a week. Last admission is at 4:30pm. Fees are $5 per person.
For more information on the various trails, as well as guided programs, please visit the Red Rock State Park website.