Mountain climbing Cathedral Rock Path in Sedona

Staring up the steep and slim purple rocks on Cathedral Rock Path in Sedona, Arizona, I used to be on the fringe of my consolation zone.

Dropping your steadiness on this part may simply lead to a painful, probably deadly fall, as there’s nothing to sluggish your momentum.

Looking up the most difficult section of Cathedral Rock Trail in Sedona, Arizona
Trying up probably the most difficult part of Cathedral Rock Path

We would already climbed increased than Kel had the primary time a 12 months earlier, when she wore operating sneakers that lacked grip on the graceful rock.

Regardless of her advice that I purchase mountain climbing footwear, as she’d since executed, I figured I may get by as I had throughout our hikes in Large Bend Nationwide Park.

I used to be incorrect, and it was greater than evident. I hadn’t thought-about the slick rock we would be traversing, not to mention a vertical scramble with few apparent handholds and plenty of free rock.

The Cathedral Rock Path was among the many hottest hikes in Sedona. How difficult may or not it’s, I would thought?

Not like the Satan’s Bridge hike, I did not even examine it. And now I used to be questioning if I would make it to the highest.

Cathedral Rock Trail map
Cathedral Rock Path map

Attending to Cathedral Rock Path

Following a terrific brunch with pizza and cocktails at Hideaway Home after our dawn hike to Satan’s Bridge, we visited V Bar V Ranch to see petroglyphs earlier than driving towards the Cathedral Rock Trailhead.

One of the best occasions to go to Cathedral Rock within the Coconino Nationwide Forest are dawn and sundown, when the solar is low within the sky and (hopefully) the temperatures are cooler.

However, we did not have the luxurious of time, as we solely had one full day in Sedona and wished to take advantage of it.

Parking and Shuttle

The day earlier than, we would used a bank card to pay $15 for a weekly Crimson Rock Move which lets you use the small parking tons at trailheads. Buying a go is a required. A day go is $5.

Sadly, however predictably, there have been no parking areas accessible within the two Cathedral Rock Trailhead parking tons, so we once more needed to depend on the free Sedona Shuttle to get us there.

The departure level for Cathedral Rock Trailhead is the North SR-179 Park and Experience on Google Maps.

The shuttle departs each quarter-hour from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday by way of Sunday, for the 10-minute drive.

To return, the Sedona Shuttle departs the Cathedral Rock Trailhead each 10 minutes from 7:10 a.m. till 5:12 p.m.

Maintain these occasions in thoughts if you happen to’re aiming to observe the sundown from atop Cathedral Rock, as you will must rely by yourself transportation or plan for an extended hike if you cannot park shut by.

Cathedral Rock Trail
Cathedral Rock Path

The Hike

The Cathedral Rock Path is simply a 1.2-mile roundtrip hike. The problem is within the 741 elevation acquire, together with one steep climb that requires each arms to be free.

It looks like a stroll within the park while you’re beginning out on the base of Cathedral Rock. Maintain a watch out for the path indicators and rock-filled basket cairns main the best way on this first part.

Given the hike’s reputation, you will doubtless see different individuals on their approach up or down, although, so it might be arduous to get misplaced throughout daytime.

Deliver a headlamp to make sure a secure descent if you happen to’re heading up within the late afternoon for sundown.

The solar units on the alternative facet of Cathedral Rock Path, so you start to lose daylight mid-afternoon.

View from Cathedral Rock
Unbelievable views from Cathedral Rock

After solely 10 minutes on the mountain climbing path, we would walked up the mild slopes of purple rock and reached a plateau with spectacular views towards the east and south.

If you already know the place to look towards the east, you possibly can spot the Chapel of the Holy Cross; a church constructed amid the purple rocks within the Nineteen Fifties, which is gorgeous to some and controversial to others.

View south toward Courthouse Butte, as seen hiking Cathedral Rock Trail in Sedona, Arizona
View south towards Courthouse Butte

Trying towards the south, we may see Courthouse Butte and the tippy-top of Bell Rock, which we would hiked across the day earlier than.

I would have been happy with the views if this was so far as we went. Due to this fact, if you happen to’re afraid of heights and what you learn subsequent, I would counsel you not write off Cathedral Rock altogether.

Dave smiles nervously while climbing  (photo by Kelly Lemons)
Dave climbing Cathedral Rock (photograph by Kelly Lemons)

The Steep Half

Missing a technical climbing time period, let’s simply say this subsequent part of Sedona’s Cathedral Rock Path was difficult.

The intrusive considered slipping, falling, and bouncing off the rocks on my approach down rapidly entered my thoughts as I stared upwards.

We had been there lengthy sufficient to observe some hikers descend, most utilizing each their arms to regular themselves on the rocks.

One man was sporting gloves which I noticed makes plenty of sense when it’s a must to use your arms on rocks that’ve been absorbing the solar all morning.

An older girl (maybe in her 50s) inspired us, saying this brief climb was probably the most difficult half and that “if I can do it, so are you able to!”

Kel went first to her credit score and scrambled up the purple rocks like a champ. I adopted quickly after, coronary heart pounding. At one level, I took a break so she may snap a photograph of me smiling nervously.

I used to be pissed off by the shortage of grip on my new operating sneakers. Additionally, whereas I would introduced loads of water in a 20-ounce steel bottle, it was cumbersome.

I hadn’t realized I would want each arms to be free for the Cathedral Rock hike and was compelled to awkwardly carry my steel bottle within the pocket of my Prana shorts; fortunately, it match.

View of Sedona from the top of the steepest section of the trail
View from the highest of the steepest part of the path

Inspired by my girlfriend’s ascent, I slowly made my approach up the vertical part till I reached its high. The views had been much like what we would skilled on the plateau under.

My coronary heart continued to pound, and my ideas turned as to whether the descent can be extra difficult than the ascent.

I used to be drained from a protracted day and fearful a few potential slip on the best way down.

Regardless of the data that the arduous half was over and the remainder of the hike up Cathedral Rock was extra manageable, I felt I would gone so far as attainable.

Reminiscences of exhaustion on day three of my Annapurna Sanctuary trek in Nepal 14 years in the past nonetheless have an effect on me.

So does the time a Swiss man I used to be doing the Indrahar Move trek with in Northern India tripped and virtually fell off a precipice above 13,000 ft (4,000 meters).

Not that mountain climbing in Sedona is as excessive as multi-day treks within the Himalayas. However these experiences nonetheless are likely to set off my nervousness.

View toward the top of Cathedral Rock
View towards the highest of Cathedral Rock

Kel continued to hike increased towards the towering rock formations, however determined to not go to the very high as a result of period of time it’d’ve taken (about half-hour roundtrip).

Looking back, persevering with along with her would’ve taken my thoughts off the steep slopes. As an alternative, I sat down and loved the view the place I used to be till she returned.

Since we did not attain the tip of the path, I’ve included a number of photographs from others under.

View west from the top of Cathedral Rock (photo by Nico)
View west atop Cathedral Rock (photograph by Nico)

Man on a narrow ledge (photo by Tommy Tang)
Man on a ledge (photograph by Tommy Tang)

Going Down

Once we reunited, Kel started down the steep part of Cathedral Rock Path. The easiest way down it’s to make use of each arms to regular your self.

To my nice shock, it felt simpler to maneuver down this part than to climb up it.

I did not have the identical pounding coronary heart and wasn’t as depending on discovering appropriate handholds as earlier than. And, worst case, I knew I may all the time slide down on my butt.

Kel's descent
Kel descending

Once we reached the underside of the steepest part, we paused for a photograph. I used to be feeling grateful to have made it again down with out incident.

Right here, we ran right into a pair of hikers with a small canine, who stated they’d want to return and drop their canine off earlier than returning to make the climb.

As we hiked again to the parking space to catch the Sedona Shuttle, we handed extra hikers beginning out.

Some requested about what lay forward, and we did our greatest to encourage them as others had executed for us.

Associated: Sizzling Springs Canyon Path in Large Bend

Kel smiles after descending the most challenging part of Cathedral Rock Trail
Kel at Cathedral Rock

Closing Ideas on Cathedral Rock

I study one thing new from each hike, particularly those that do not go as deliberate, whether or not due to the climate, my anxieties, or another issue.

My key takeaway for Cathedral Rock in Sedona is to deliver correct mountain climbing boots. They do not must have present full ankle help, however they need to have a grippy tread.

Since some scrambling is required for this reasonable hike, it is higher to deliver a small backpack for water, snacks, digicam, and so forth.

I had one however left it in our rental automobile, considering I may carry the water bottle because it was a brief path.

Put on gloves to guard from rock faces that’ve heated up within the solar; in addition they present further grip when transferring up/down steep sections.

Lastly, if you happen to’re daring sufficient to soak up the attractive views of Cathedral Rock at sundown, deliver an LED headlamp. You do not need to be scrambling down the path at midnight.

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