Sunday, February 4, 2024

Bell Rock Sunset Hike, Sedona

Coconino National Forest,
Coconino / Yavapai Counties.,

Hiking Trails:
Bell Rock Trail

Total Time: 1:00 hours
Estimated Distance: 1.9 miles

Pros: Scenic Formation and Views
Cons: Busy area and limited parking
Hike Type: Loop
Level of Difficulty: Difficult but short

Google Maps of Parking:

Hiking Partner:
Yehudah Koblick

The last time I had been in Sedona, many years earlier, I had approached it from the north from the Grand Canyon. I was mesmerized by the Sedona scenery and did a hike in Oak Creek Canyon at that time. However, upon driving through Sedona to south to pick up the highway back to Phoenix, I noticed Bell Rock and decided that I had to come back and climb the rock. 

Well, this was my return trip, and I knew I needed to climb Bell Rock. Bell Rock is one of the most iconic formations in Sedona. It's a giant red sandstone rock/mountain poking out of the surface, right next to another similar though larger formation called Courthouse Butte. The trail up the rock/mountain doesn't quite go to the very top, which is very steep, but it does go up and you can climb up higher beyond. As you get higher, the way up gets steeper and more difficult. I climbed up to the point where I started feeling out of my comfort zone and then turned around and went back down.

We had finished the previous hike to the Mescal Mountain area about an hour before sunset, so figured Bell Rock was a perfect choice for around sunset. We went to park in the Bell Rock parking lot, but found it to be full. Apparently it is almost ALWAYS full. So we drove around across the street to Yavapai Vista Point, where we found plenty more parking. We took the path and crossed Route 179 to the trailhead, and then took the Bell Rock Trail up, enjoying the amazing sunset upon the red rocks of Sedona.

Map of the Route

Sedona Rock Formations, Looking North

Courthouse Butte

Bell Rock

Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte

Yehudah at Bell Rock

Scenery along the Trail

Scrambling up Bell Rock

Great Views

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