Red Rock State Park features several smallish loop hikes ranging in difficulty from an easy wheel-chair accessible walk to the more “genuine hike” along the Eagle’s Nest trail. Eagles Nest is not difficult, but there seems to be more of a diverse, natural feel to it with a higher elevation gain (about 300 feet) and less hikers on the trail.
All of the trails in the park are clearly marked and well maintained. In fact the entire park is pristine and well run from the visitors center (an interesting visit with a wonderfully pleasant and informative staff) to the facilities and the picnic grounds. This would be a great park if you have young kids tagging along and do not want them running off willy-nilly. However, if you are looking for rugged, wilderness hikes where you can explore off-trail, you might want to skip this state park.
We decided to stay for the day even though I was a little disappointed to find that we could not go off trail anywhere in the park. We carried our art supplies figuring that there may be some little pull-off in which to set up, but no. There was no such secluded spot so I had to tell myself that it was good exercise for my arms because even though my art kit is small, it still gets heavy after carrying it for long periods of time.
Hiking anywhere near the breathtakingly beautiful red rocks of Sedona makes for a sublimely perfect day. At any time other than summer that is. Yikes! This area gets way too hot, dusty and dry for me to enjoy in the summer. So time your visit when ever you like but NOT from June to September. So, you ask, “When is the best time to hike Sedona?” The perfect time to visit is spring. Even when the temperature reaches kind-of-almost-too-warm, there is always a nice cool breeze to tickle your senses (and cool you down of course). PLUS, the blooming flowers are so pretty and perfect for taking stunning photos even when you have no photography talent except to be able to use the “pro” setting on your phone camera. LOL- I’m talking about myself, folks.
The main reason for this park seems to be to protect a large riparian area along Oak Creek. We were itching to explore along the rocky, tree lined creek but it is not permitted at this park, so we had to enjoy the scenery and take pictures from a foot bridge crossing the creek.
We chose to hike the Apache Fire trail because we wanted to check out that big red house at the top of the trail. It turns out that it was built by Helen and Jack Frye in 1947. The house and property was left to the state and is in disrepair. Due to safety concerns, it is not open to the public except for viewing through a chain link fence.
Back at the visitor center there is a hummingbird sanctuary complete with lots of feeders, shade and benches for travelers to sit for a peaceful hour or so just watching the birds fly in and out of the area. Even though the temperatures are mild in the spring, this Arizona sun can be blazing. If you are like me, you will probably need a shady place to sit for a moment after a long hike. Truly, I am not a sun baby. I prefer to be covered from head to toe to keep from burning. Which reminds me- on ANY hike in Arizona be sure to take sun screen, plenty of water, a hat and sun glasses. It is always dry here- even when it rains. LOL Just kidding- not!
You can position yourself in any direction and you will bump into spectacular scenery in the red rocks. Perfect for leisurely walks or more strenuous hikes, the hiking and parks around Sedona are popular destinations, but you can still find less crowded areas that will be satisfying to your soul.
Sadly, Red Rock State park is closed until further notice due to the Corona virus. We were lucky to have gone just a couple of weeks before all this stuff hit the fan. For now- we are self quarantined- also until further notice. Be safe my friends.