RED ROCK CROSSING
Red Rock Crossing
Red Rock Crossing State Park is iconic Sedona. Flat stretches of inviting red rock, grasses, and shade trees line idyllic sections of the creek. Ancient trees offer abundant shade for picnics and a string of inviting swimming holes offer relief from the hot summer sun. Striking views of nearby Cathedral Rock are a photographer’s dream, especially in late afternoon when the sunset lights up the rock. The park is crowded in the summer. Come early or near sunset to enjoy a quiet walk or a meditative sojourn in a little piece of heaven.
After you park, you have a few options. You can wander across from the first parking area, where you’ll see several sidewalks leading across a grassy lawn and down to the creek. Here you’ll find huge wide open flat red rock areas where you can swim, sunbathe, or just relax.
After you cross the creek, you can make your way upstream on a red rock trail that is fairly flat, meanders in and out of the forest, andwithin fifteen minutes, takes you to some of the best swimming holes in Sedona.
Your second option is to park in the last parking area. Take a rest stop, spend some time under the massive tree, then walk along the sidewalk that leads you to the lovely, tree-lined trail bordering the creek. The clover in the grassy area feels wonderful on bare feet but watch out for gopher holes!
The trail meanders in and out of the the forest bordering the creek, offering both shade and sun, as well as several red-rock lined pools. Stop for a picnic, explore the diversity of plant life along the creek, or continue onward for a beautiful emerald pool just past trail’s end. There are a myriad of incredible photo spots along this path, especially at sunset.
You’ll stop at a spot that locals call “Buddha Beach.” Each year people pile rocks in delicately balanced sculptural towers. Late winter floods sometimes make the trail impassable and wash away all the towers. No matter… Someone always builds new ones. Buddha Beach is a brilliant reminder to experience life’s joy in the present. Maybe you’ll leave your mark here too.
One of the most popular (also busy) swimming holes is located at the end of the trail that originates at the last parking area. Deep, wide,and with plenty of areas to sun, you are not likely to find privacy here… but you can float, swim, or enjoy a good splash! The water is chilly unless it is over a hundred!
Sunset at Red Rock Crossing is peaceful. Birds twitter happily, the creek murmurs, and on most days a crowd of photographers set up their tripods getting ready for that perfect shot of Cathedral Rock glowing crimson and reflecting in a peaceful stream. Wander along any of the trails and you’ll see them.
From Phoenix, take I-17 north to Hwy 179 (exit 298). Turn left onto 179 and follow it past the Village of Oak Creek to the Sedona (Burger King) “Y”. Turn left at the “Y” onto West 89A. Take this past most of the town until you are heading towards Cottonwood. When you see Lower Red Rock Loop Road, turn left onto it and follow it for 8.5 miles until you see the entrance to Red Rock State Park. Pay the tolls, get a map, and enjoy!
Things to bring:
I usually wear hiking boots with my “creek shorts” with a swimsuit underneath. I bring my backpack loaded with a towel, sunscreen, water shoes, a picnic lunch, snacks, bottled water, a camera, books, etc. Bring anything you think you’ll need to enjoy a wonderful day by the creek.
Check with the US Forest Service for pass and fee information before your trip. A Red Rock Pass is required for parking in most locations.