View Full Version : Sedona AZ in two weeks
I will be spending 3-4 days in Sedona in two weeks and am looking for information and suggestions for landscape photography locations. The family will be in tow (but tucked in bed or at dinner during shoots) so drive to locations with minimal (< 1mile) hike in will be the game this time. My work leans towards abstracted landscapes ('portraits' of large natural formations) and will be color 4x5 this trip. See my pathetic website for a better idea home.earthlink.net/~rsross. Also is their a desert bloom in the works there or is it too early?
Thanks for any help and suggestions,
Try the airport (follow the signs) for early and late photos, a nice high quiet location with lots of potential.
I think that the Westfork Trail is nice. There are some good scenes along the way. Most of the views I remember are within about 3 miles of the starting point, and then you turn back. Still some views within a mile, although you may want to go further. It's along the road from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. You could check with a visitor center for more precise directions. You have to know where to park and how to find the beginning.
There's also a well-known church up on a hill south of the main town. It's very dramatic. I forget the architect.
I drove through the area today and noticed all the trees are either budding or with new leaves. Looks like spring is springing there. Try Schnebly Hill Road also and Dry Creek Road.
Be sure to stop at the visitor center on the way in. You'll need to purchase a "Red Rock Pass" to put on your windshield if you park on Forest Service land in the Sedona/Oak Creek area. They also have maps and other information about the area you may find helpful. A fair amount of info is available on the Chamber site at http://www.visitsedona.com/index.php.
The trick with Sedona is to not stop at any of the "visitor information" places - they are fronts for real estate companies trying to sell time-shares. There is an actual USFS ranger station in town - it's on Ranger Road (cleaver, that) just off 179, very close to where 179 merges with 89.
The rangers can give you actual hiking advice, maps, etc. I found them to be very helpful. Without the maps, it's very difficult to find the trail heads, even if you know the names of the trails. They can also explain the mysteries of the "Red Rock Pass" to you - this the only National Forest that does this, AFAIK.
Some easy hikes where the rocks are close to parking areas include the Bell Rock Pathway, and the trail in front of Cathedral Rocks. There's a trail just north of the middle of town to "seven sacred pools" (I can't remember the trail's name, but the rangers can probably ID it for you) that's not far from a parking area also.
If the family's up for it, the trail to Brin's Mesa offers some awesome views of the rocks and of Sedona itself. It's a pretty long haul though, so you might save that one until the kids can handle it.
Besides trails in and around Sedona, there are a number of interesting sites that look as if they would be good for "car photography" up 89 (Oak Creek Canyon) north of Sedona. The Forest Service has several parking areas, and interesting rock formations look to be in easy reach.
Sedona is a great place for LF photography. And, just because it's all red and green doesn't mean it won't make excellent B&W photographs. Tri-X loves Sedona!
This is a great time of year for a trip to Sedona! I did this trip several years ago and loved it. The West Fork Trail is gorgeous and in my opinion a must-see. However, be forewarned that it also can be wet, as the hike requires you to cross the same stream over and over again. I was fortunate to have had a pair of aqua socks with me on the hike that I kept on the entire time. Most other would-be hikers that day didn't make it a quarter mile down the trail before turning back because of the water. Closer to town, Boynton Canyon was my favorite hike and also the most scenic. You can take a spur trail to indidan cliff dwelling ruins and if you keep straight on the trail you eventually move from the standard red rock/desert topography to a more rain-saturated zone of totally different but very scenic flora. Bell Rock is a scenic and flat hike (i.e., easy for the family) that is close to town. Cathedral Rock is a very popular photography spot but for a good reason, and I got my favorite picture of the trip here at sunset. Another great hike is to climb up the backside of Cathedral Rock in the evening - this is a steep hike but the views are well worth it.
Some great suggestions, thanks folks!
As for the Red Rock Pass, we have a comparable thing in CA called the Adventure Pass. Same stupid program, same hastle.
Anthony J. Kohler
The most common shot of Cathedral Rock (it is reputed to be the most-photographed spot in the state) is from Red Rock Crossing (NOT Red Rock State Park); take Upper Red Rock Loop road (by the high school, west end of town) to Chavez Ranch Road and follow it down to the creek. There is an admission fee, unless you want to come in from the other side, at the end of Verde Valley School Road from the Village of Oak Creek, park in one of the lots (NOT on the roadside; you'll be towed) and walk in. It's almost impossible to find a bad spot to photograph from there. If you are in for rougher travel, when the paved part of Chavez Ranch Road turns right, continue on straight. It's a road that most people never take. There's a spot up there where you seem to be looking down on Cathedral. But you do see some of the houses in Back O' Beyond, at the foot of Cathedral.
If you want some interesting views, head toward Palatki ruins. Take Dry Creek Road (west end of town, but not as far as Upper Red Rock - I live off of Dry Creek) to the end, go left toward Boynton Canyon/Enchantment Resort, and when you reach the second T-intersection, go left again. The road is unpaved, and we have had a lot of rain lately (it was pouring when I got up this morning, though it seems to have stopped now), but there are some Forest Service roads back there that get you views of Cockscomb that you can't get elsewhere. There are better ruins up at Wupatki NE of Flagstaff, off of 89A.
I'd be cautious of Schnebly Hill Road, especially if you don't have 4WD. Not only have we had a lot of rain lately, but the jeep tours use the road regularly and it is not in the best of shape. I've seen ordinary road cars on the upper reaches, but I'd never try it myself.
Spring is just starting here. The trees are showing the green haze of swelling buds, but the cactus haven't started blooming and I don't expect to see even the hedgehogs (the first cactus to flower here) for another month or so, unless the weather takes a really abrupt turn to heat - and even then it'd still take until the end of this month.
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