Red Rock Crossing trail is one of my favorite hiking places in Sedona, Arizona. It’s also the location where photographers go to get the iconic photos of the Cathedral Rock with the stream in front of it.
The beautiful 1.8 mile trail is located in the Red Rock State Park, just outside the town of Sedona, Arizona. The Park is a beautiful combination of high-country scenery and rugged charm, with lots of hiking trails for every skill level and the best place to visit in autumn, if you want to enjoy fall in Sedona.
Finding the Red Rock Crossing trail is a little tricky. You actually have to pass the State Park’s entrance and visitor center and continue on the highway.
We visited this place some years ago, but couldn’t remember its exact name or location, so the next time we went we decided to print out the exact location: Red Rock Crossing Rd, Sedona, AZ 86017.
Red Rock Crossing trail is located 7 mile southwest of Sedona and about 37 miles south of Flagstaff. The park sits at an elevation of 4,000 feet.
If you are coming from Sedona on US 89A, turn south on FR 216, just outside town (Upper Red Rock Loop Road). Drive about 1.5 miles and follow the signs to Red Rock Crossing. The roads are all paved, so you won’t have any problems driving here.
What to Expect at the Red Rock Crossing
Red Rock Crossing trail is set alongside the waters of Oak Creek, in a very picturesque area. After parking your car, you can wander across the grassy lawn and down to the creek. Here you’ll find huge wide open flat red rock areas where you can swim, sunbathe, or just relax.
After you cross the creek, you can make your way upstream on the Red Rock Crossing trail. The path which is fairly flat, twists in and out of the forest, passing by beautiful scenery and swimming holes. During the hot summer months, the holes make perfect places to stop to cool off in the water.
Another option is to walk along the sidewalk that leads you to the lovely, tree-lined trail bordering the creek. You’ll pass an old water wheel, and enjoy beautiful views of Cathedral Rock.
This is a very easy trail that meander along the creek enjoying the shade of the trees around. It’s a pleasant alternative to hiking the Red Rock Crossing train in late summer, when it’s very hot.
The Vortex at the Red Rock Crossing
The place where Oak Creek runs next to Cathedral Rock is home to a strong Vortex and therefore is considered a sacred area. The Cathedral Rock itself is revered by Native Americans as a home of gods and birthplace of the first man and woman.
Regardless of how one feels about vortexes, there are many beautiful spots in this area where you can enjoy the scenery and perhaps even take in the so called vortex energy.
How to Photograph the Cathedral Rock from the Red Rock Crossing
If you are trying to get the best photographs of the Cathedral Rock, you should walk this trail. The shallow stream turns past the base of this iconic rock formation, reflecting it like a mirror.
To get the best reflection of the Rock you have to cross the stream. In some places, the bottom drops 25-30 inches, forming nice pools.
Red Rock Crossing is one of the most pristine areas in the Park and a very popular spot for both visitors and locals. Besides being a great picnicking, fishing and water-play area, it is also an iconic location for wedding or landscape photography.
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I am still waiting for the day that my US tourist visa will get approved! I’ve been denied a lot of times so I haven’t visited USA yet! I heard so much about the great outdoors of Arizona and I’ll definitely include this once the visa is set! Thanks for this, Anda!
How sad! I hope you’ll get your US visa soon to visit beautiful Arizona.
Red Rock Crossing trail really looks worth hiking place in Arizona, for getting beautiful photos of Cathedral Rock. The waters of Oak Creek really looks stunning. I never knew The Cathedral Rock was regarded as a home of gods and birthplace of the first man and woman by Native Americans .
Ahh we was going to visit red rock last year and didn’t have the time! this is a reminder as to how much we wanted to visit! i think we will definitely have to book another trip to the US and visit here! stunning post! i cant wait to visit
Linda (LD Holland)
We visited Arizona for the first time. And simply loved it. We know we will want to return. So it is great to read about places to see on our return visit. A hike in the Red Rock State Park sounds perfect. Glad to know there are trails for every level. That view of Cathedral Rock is stunning. We will definitely take the Red Rock Crossing to get stunning shots like you got.
Looks a lot like the national parks in Utah that you keep visiting.
The Cathedral rock looks amazing. It seems Arizona has a number of lovely trails. I have been reading about them in the last few days. The reflection of the rocks on the stream also looks beautiful!
Love Arizona and especially this area, next to Sedona.
The Red Rock Crossing is truly picturesque. I wonder if it is a by-product of volcanic eruption, or maybe a dead volcano? It is a unique attraction for everyone, no wonder it is a favorite spot of many travel photographers.
Yep, I agree.
The Cathedral rock and lovely ambiance took my breath away, such an amazing formation. I dont have plan to visit Arizona but now i’ll include it to my list.
Is that a watermill in the 2nd pic? Was there a water body here? The land looks so dry and rugged…
Thanks for giving us the exact location so when we visit we wouldn’t get lost trying to find the entrance!
The views of Cathedral rock is stunning. Ofcourse as you say, a perfect shot would be with its reflection on the waterbody!
I love your tips on how to photograph the Cathedral Rock from the Red Rock Crossing. This is why I love travelling because it opens your eyes to the details around the Vortex which is sacred to the Native Americas.
Thank you Bolupe.
Beautiful photos! Thanks for posting these. I really do hope I’ll get to go to Arizona some time.
The nature of Arizona is really remarkable! I think it’s on the must-see list of almost every European heading to US! 🙂
Thanks Isabella, Arizona is indeed a very picturesque region, indeed.
Thank you, Samiya. Arizona has a lot to offer.
That does look like an amazing place. Fantastic colour in the photos!
SO gorgeous! I love the photos, were they taken late in the afternoon? The light seems perfect!
Thank you, Vlad. Yes, I took them just about an hour before the sunset.
Marissa | Little Things Travel Blog
What a beautiful place! I hope to do plenty of usa road trips in summer 2015 and this is on my list 🙂
Arizona is very beautiful, Marissa. If you plan to visit you should check with me. I know a lot of great places there.
This looks so gorgeous, when I go back to the US this is on my list!