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Matt Marine

Matt Marine is an Arizona resident who loves exploring Arizona's wonderful outdoor adventures. To find out more about Matt, click the link below.

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I’m Sara! I’m 21, a senior in college, and a journalism major.  I love to read, write, travel, and listen to music.  I’m always on to my next adventure.


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Trails and roads listed within this site may be closed at any time by the Forest Service, private property owners or other governmental agencies. It is your responsibility to verify state of trail prior to attempting to run it.

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Name: Cathedral Rock Author's Rating:
Author: Matt Marine Avg. User Rating: Not rated yet
Type: Hike Difficulty: (challenging)
Time: 1 - 3 hours Region: NW Arizona
Length: 2 miles (out and back) Elevation gain/loss/change: +1076 / -1076 ft / + 0 ft (out and back)
Type: Out and back Avg Elevation: 4500 ft
Best time to go: fall, spring, winter Fees: Requires Red Rock Pass. These can be purchased at any Ranger station, kiosks, Circle K's and many other stores in Sedona or Oak Creek.
Fitness rating: Medium - High Educational Merit: Low
Danger/fear rating: Medium Scenic Beauty: High
Hours of Operation: Area is only open certain hours - verify before going Last updated: April, 2010
Short Description: A short, but strenuous trail with awesome views of Sedona’s famous red rock.
Geocaches: Tons of cool geocaches around. Here's just a few. Spirit of Sedona; Coyote's Vortex; Top O' Cathedral Rock (almost); Creekside
References / Contact Information: Wild Sedona; Hike Arizona
Points of interest: Cathedral Rock vortex
Special Considerations: Popular trail, can be crowded at times. Requires Red Rock Pass. These can be purchased at any Ranger station, kiosks, Circle K's and many other stores in Sedona or Oak Creek.
How to get there: The trailhead is on Back-O’Beyond Road (0.6 miles from highway 179). Click here for directions from Tucson (Waypoint 001).

Trail Description

This is a popular trail in Sedona, Arizona. It’s a strenuous climb to the saddle among Cathedral Rock’s two spires, but it’s well worth it. The climb is half the fun and the view at the top is incredible!

General Information and History

Although this trail is short, with about a 1000 foot elevation gain in about three-quarters of a mile makes it tough. Portions of the trail require using your hands to scramble up rock faces that have been notched out for foot holds.

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The Trail

From the trailhead, climb down the steps and cross the wash and begin heading up to Cathedral Rock. This part of the trail is moderately steep, and if this is giving you difficulty, then this might not be the trail for you.

After about 0.25 miles, the trail intersects Templeton Trail (Waypoint 002) on a wide, flat ledge that offers nice views. Keep going almost straight up the side of the rock. Follow the cairns that are spaced every few hundred feet or less). On your way up over the rock, you’ll notice a few spots were the forest service has chiseled out foot holds.

Soon you’ll come around to the saddle between Cathedral Rock’s spires. A short distance from the top of the saddle, the trail splits. To the right is a “vortex”, to the left, the saddle. What is a vortex, you ask? For a long time, Sedona has been known as a spiritual center and many New Age spiritual believers have migrated there. A vortex is a geographic point which channels this energy. Click here for more details. Even if you don’t believe this stuff, the vortex in Sedona can be at some of the most beautiful places in the state and should be visited for their beauty alone.

Now that you’ve reached the top of your hike, enjoy the awesome views and take a rest before heading back down. Retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Not only did you have a nice workout, but you got to enjoy some gorgeous scenery and a vortex to boot!

Have fun and be safe!

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