A Complete Guide: Cathedral Rock, Sedona

The Cathedral rock sandstone butte is situated along the Sedona skyline. This beautiful feature is one of the most photographed in the state of Arizona.

The Cathedral rock sandstone butte is situated along the Sedona skyline. This beautiful feature is one of the most photographed in the state of Arizona. In between the Cathedral, rocks are a short and steep trail, also known as Court House Rock. Read on as we demystify the Cathedral rock.

Cathedral Rock

Location

The Cathedral rock is located in Yavapai County, Arizona. To be precise, the Cathedral rock sits on 34°49’12” N and 111°47’36” W coordinates. Using online maps to locate this popular trail is the easiest way out. It is also important to note this Cathedral rock sits deep inside Coconino National Forest. This is south of Flagstaff, 38 miles away.

See Also: 15 Best Hiking Trails in Arizona

Directions

Where route 89A meets route 179 should be your starting point. From there, take route 179. Upon traveling for 3.5 miles, you will get to Back O’ Beyond road. Go another 0.6 miles taking the right direction. After 0.6 miles, take the left direction where you will find the Cathedral Rock’s parking (map link).

Difficulty

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Every hiking enthusiast wants to know how easy it is to get to the summit of a mountain. They are concerned about the amount of energy and time they will use to ascend a trail in relation to the distance covered. You should also be concerned. So, how difficult is it to hike the Cathedral rock? 

The Cathedral rock is rated difficult. That means you will face challenges along the trail. Be sure to come across rugged terrains, steep paths, and rocky surfaces demanding jumps and big stepovers.

You must be wondering how a short steep trail can be difficult. Well, the 744 feet elevation trail has challenging rock formations along its path. The short hiking trail is also steep, therefore posing a challenge to hikers. For that reason, you need to wear the right hiking gear. The focus should be on the right shoes. This is important to mitigate any potential accidents.

Distance

The Cathedral rock has a 1.2 mile-long trail. Getting to the summit of this rock will require you to ascend 744 feet high. This will take slightly less than an hour to get done with this hike. Once at the top, it will take you another one hour to descend. Therefore, you will spend at least two hours to get to the top and back. You may take more time depending on how much time you spend at the top of this rock (map link).

You should keep in mind the 1.2 miles distance may increase to 1.4 miles depending on the route you take. Upwards, the 744 feet elevation may drop to 645 feet. The variance in the distance all depends on how you decide to do your hike. Other factors like the routes you take and the turns you choose make the difference.

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Hiking Tips

The first hiking trip is feeding right for the hike. When going for a hike, you should not just eat any food. This is an intense and energy-consuming activity. Therefore, eating too much junk or too little food may have consequences. You will lose a lot of energy during the hike. Eating the right food will protect you from extreme exhaustion. You will have enough energy to cover the 1.2-mile journey. Ensure you tailor your diet according to your hike.

On the same point of food, you may be required to carry snacks with you. Any time you feel like your energy levels are dropping, bite something to restore it. The snacks should be easy to digest. Dried fruits, biscuits, energy drinks, and nuts, among others, are good options to consider. Every time you go hiking, keep a log of the foods you ate and how they worked. This is important so that you know which works best for you.

Other important things to do include sipping water regularly, stretching and taking rest breaks, switching your sweatshirt, and ensuring you do not litter the surroundings.

Is that all? No, not at all. There are many more hiking tips to keep in mind. For a hike to be successful, you need to plan. This involves researching and finding out the trail’s finer details. Details include knowing which weather to expect, what the trail conditions are like, and what to expect. This means you need to rely on the weather forecasts. During planning, also ensure you get prepared. Preparations include selecting the right hiking equipment and trying to foresee what could go wrong, and if anything goes wrong, what you would do.

It is also a good idea not to hike alone. Remember, anything could go wrong any minute, and you will need a partner to help you out. This is a security measure and a way to make your hike full of fun at the same time.

During your hike, ensure you do not go off-trail. Not staying on the trail may mean invading dangerous territories. Without your notice, you may be entering hazardous zones. As a result, perhaps you may get attacked by wild animals. This may put your life, that of your partner and the animals in danger. To avoid all that, better stay on the trail.

Warnings are there to protect us from danger. Therefore, you cannot afford to ignore any single sign. If a sign says that a particular trail is out of bounds, please abide. It is for your own good. Closed trials are poorly maintained and a danger zone. Going there puts your life in great danger.

Hiking is a great adventure that needs to be remembered. For that reason, do not forget to carry your camera and phone along with you. The purpose of this is to take as many selfies and pictures as possible. You may choose to share them on your social media platforms or just keep them for future memories.

Another tip to remember is that you will not be alone along the hiking trail. This demands you to be mindful of others. If you smoke or drink, please wait for another day. If you are hiking with your dog by your side, kindly have him/her put on a leash. This is to avoid inconveniencing others on a hike.

Things to be Aware Of

You must be wondering what the best time to climb the Cathedral rock is. Well, the best time to go hiking at the Cathedral rock is during spring through fall. That time you will get the best experience you can ever imagine. Regarding difficulty, you will be required to use your hands and knees to climb some parts.

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Another thing to be aware of is the potential dangers the Cathedral rock poses. There are boulders present, making it risky to bring children here. To be safe, please let not children less than 10 years accompany you.

Also, carry along gloves and avoid white clothes. The reason is the red rocks will stain your clothes. In addition to that, be keen when climbing because the trail may get too steep.

This should not be surprising. There are snakes along the trail. You may or may not meet them. The good news is, they will not harm you unless you rattle them. So, in case you meet these reptiles, don’t bother them and move on. That way, no one will get harmed.

Fire bans also exist in the Cathedral rocks. There has been a fire ban from September 2019, and it will go up to March 2020. According to the rules of the park, a fire ban prohibits campfire, barbecues, stores, and any solid fuel. 

Solid fuel includes charcoal, hexamine, heat beads, briquettes, and wood, among others. But, don’t worry about that because with every restriction exists a leeway. In this case, gas and electric barbeques are allowed but with conditions.

The conditions include clearing the ground around the barbeque of flammable materials. Another rule is that there must be an adult to supervise the activity. The third requirement is ensuring sufficient water supply around the barbeque area. The least amount of water required is a bucket full of water.

Activities

The first activity you may engage in is camping. Many do camping here, but you must ensure you see the management just in case there is a new regulation in place. Sometimes the park’s management prohibits campfire. Therefore, before setting up anything, ensure you have the necessary approvals.

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Another activity you may be involved in is walking. The trail is well laid out for walking. For pet owners, this is a perfect opportunity to bond with your beloved animals.

The Cathedral rock has beautiful views and landmarks to glance at. This is a great place to keep your eyes busy and happy. You may also take pictures of the scenic views.

Another fantastic activity to get involved in is birdwatching. Cathedral Rock is home to a variety of birds. There are many different types of flying mammals to stare at here. Some are chirping like parrots, while others are silent but beautiful.

Now, this is the best activity to do in this park. Just like many people having picnics here, so should you. There are many picnic spots available in the Cathedral rock. It is fun and full of enjoyment. The serenity in the place creates a perfect place to have a meal and spend quality time with your loved ones. The Crescent Moon is an ideal example of a picnic spot. Be sure to visit this place and many more picnic spots available in this park. The memories you will make cannot be made up.

What you can see

Cathedral rock has countless things to see. First of all, there are beautiful red rocks to look at. Their formation and structure will surely impress you.

Another good thing you will see is the beautiful plantations. The green trees with overlapping branches and leaves are a beauty to watch. What else can you see? Cathedral rock hosts different breeds of birds. You will be amazed to see how there exist many unique bird kinds. You will be wowed how God was creative with his creation. This park has excellent scenic spots and features. Some can be mentioned, but others can only be viewed. That is why you have to visit this place to experience the nice views.

Places to eat

Having a taste of a place’s local cuisine is the best way to feel at home. Tamaliza is an excellent restaurant to eat from. Another good option is the Casa Sedona restaurant. The eatery has tasty foods prepared by the best chefs around with unique recipes.

Hideaway House is another right place to eat from while in the Cathedral zone. Other good hotels include; Gerardo’s Italian kitchen, Pago’s pizzeria, and Italian cuisine, Silver Saddle Fine Dining Room, Cowboy club grille and Spirits, among others.

Places to Stay

Cathedral rock has so much to do and see. For that reason, one or two days may not be enough to finish doing everything. On that note, it is necessary to get a place nearby to spend your nights. This will make it easier for you on your second, third, and subsequent visits to the Cathedral rock.

Here is a list of places you can stay in or close to the Cathedral rock. Cathedral Rock Lodge and Retreat Center, Hilton Sedona, Sedona Suite, and SunCliff Sedona are some of the best places to stay.

Neary Hiking Trails

Cathedral rock has other hiking trails joining it or closes by. Munds Wagon trail is one of them. Others include the Slim Shady trail, Hiline trail, Baldwin loop, Easy Breezy, and Bell Rock Pathway, among others. This only means you may never finish hiking while in Arizona. The trails are countless, making it more challenging and fun at the same time.

Conclusions

The Cathedral is one of the most popular trails in Arizona. For many hiking enthusiasts, this is a great option to go climbing. The fun you experience here and the memories you will create cannot be found anywhere else. It is a beautiful trail.

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