Places:  Devil’s Bridge in Sedona.

Had a fantasric hike in Sedona, Arizona yesterday with my wife.

Hiking Desert Trail Sedona Arizona

I will say that this moderate+ trail was well worth the effort (and the beat – it soared to 104F).  You do have areas where a little “mountain goat” is needed, so plan accordingly.  As always, you can never bring enough water.  This is a popular trail and it always amazes me to see folks with one little water bottle.  There was actually a 911 call for a lost man who wandered off after feeling ill.  Altitude and heat are a dangerous combination!

But for the trail itself – fantastic!

Photos speak for themselves 

Hiking Sedona Arizona Devil's Bridge Rusty Ward

Hiking Sedona Arizona Devil's Bridge Rusty Ward

Hiking Sedona Arizona Devil's Bridge Rusty Ward

Hiking Sedona Arizona Devil's Bridge Rusty Ward Old Man

And don’t forget the payoff (this is why you are here):

Hiking Sedona Arizona Devil's Bridge Rusty Ward
“Old Man on the Devil’s Bridge”
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Places: Courthouse Butte Trail in Sedona

I was able to have a beautiful little hike with my daughter this weekend.  We had never been on the Courthouse Butte Trail, and I have to say it it may have instantly become one of my new “favorites” (I have a lot of “favorites” – no shortage in Arizona!).

I easily took a few dozen photos that were instant “keepers”.  You almost cannot take a bad photo in Sedona – and even they still don’t do it justice!

For me this is the perfect “short” hike.  Roughly 5 miles, it takes you, ironically, completely around the Courthouse Butte with great views of Bell Rock and the surrounding area.  A bonus this time was that the century plants were starting to bloom.

Well worth it, and it might be one the “must” trails to take our visitors when the come to town.  Make sure to get there early as the parking will fill up.  And don’t forget the water – it is still the desert!  Most folks head right to Bell Rock, but save that until the end.  Until the next trail…..

Places: Return to Horseshoe Bend

Darn you Arizona!  There is so much to see, but you leave us little options but to visit all of your fantastic landmarks multiple times to get a more complete experience.  And what a wonderful problem to have.

A recent trip through Page, Arizona was carefully planned to take in a couple of places at a different time of day (and season) then the last time I was there.  Along with Lower Antelope Canyon, one I had to see again was Horseshoe Bend.  This time at Sunset.

Horseshoe Bend Sunset. Hiking Arizona. Page

Sunset provided a much different experience than the early morning of last summer.

Horseshoe Bend. Hiking Arizona Old Man Hiking

But do not forget that the “wall” that provides the viewing plateau is very underrated and quite impressive on its own.

Horseshoe Bend. Hiking in Arizona. Page. Colorado RiverHorseshoe Bend. Hiking in Arizona. Page. Colorado River

You’ll notice that the 1000 ft. drop to the bottom offers “no guardrails” and many folks often put them themselves precariously close to the edge.

Horseshoe Bend is not the only view of the Colorado River.  Take a quick stop just outside of town for a scenic view of Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River.

Other Places to consider:

Monument Valley

Lower Antelope Canyon

 

 

Places:  Walnut Canyon

This past weekend gave me another chance to visit Walnut Canyon near Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Be ready to take some stairs (and there is a lot) as you walk your way down (and you do have to go back up) to trek the Island Loop pathway.  The well preserved Native American dwellings ooze history and spark the imagination. 


And there is enough scenery to test out the camera

Grand Canyon, Arizona Winter in the Snow

Grand Canyon in Winter. It speaks for itself!

I have put off writing about the Grand Canyon because I can’t imagine what I could add that hasn’t been said before.  But the last two weeks of January left a lot of snow across northern Arizona.  I have been there multiple times, but one of the things I felt I needed to see, was the Grand Canyon with snow.

Grand Canyon, Arizona Winter in the Snow

Not everyone plans to see it in the winter.  And not every year gets enough snow, and with temperatures starting to spike, I managed to finally make it (two planned trips were cancelled at the last minute).

The snow still remained on the north side of the South Rim.  And it was well worth the 3 1/2 hour drive.

Slide Rock State Park. Great Red Rock Scenery!

Slip into Slide Rock!

Of all of the places that I’ve been to in Arizona, Slide Rock State Park may be at the top of my list.  It is a place I return to whenever I get the chance.  Located north of the town of Sedona, Slide Rock combines almost everything I’m looking for – fantastic red rock scenery, a chance to hike around while climbing over boulders, swimming if you dare (shrinkage alert!),  or just grab a hard spot to sit and relax watching the river (running water gets more mesmerizing the longer you live in the desert).

 

Whenever we have visitors, this is a must stop.  It is “Arizona Family Friendly” – meaning you can fall, but it likely won’t kill you, unless you are doing something really stupid!  In fact, the only time I did decide to go swimming, it was not my intention.  I fell crossing to the other side and in I went.  After the “fall”, I took full advantage of already being wet and did the whole experience – sliding down the water chute and had a blast!

Hiking Sedona Arizona

There is no pathway, so expect some level of skill and health the further you go up the river.  I highly recommend this!  Less people seem to want to do this, and it really is beautiful.

 

It is also home to my favorite boulder,  which looks totally out place.

Slide Rock gets very busy on the weekends, especially in the summer.  Be warned that coming back into Sedona can be a slow and frustrating experience.  You can choose to head north to Flagstaff instead if you make this a stop on the way out of town.

If you can, plan to see it during the week and off-season if you do not want to swim.  The best time I ever went, we were the only ones there and selfishly had it to ourselves.

 

 

It’s “Cliche”, but My Favorite Personal Views from 2016

2016 was a very blessed year for me in Arizona.  So many places, so many breathtaking views.  This is a collection of some of my favorite pictures (OK, one is from La Jolla and another from Santa Monica – sometimes you have to have your toes in a different kind of sand).   The Southwest is truly an amazing place to live (or visit) if you enjoy hiking or just seeing the sights.

I’m looking forward to a great 2017 with many new adventures (and repeating some old ones)!