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Inspirational views both north and south of Sedona

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By Wayne Lazarus on June 1st, 2010

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

The roads in and out of Sedona offer stunning scenery in very short drives. State route 179 which leads from I-17 north of Phoenix (exist #298) to Sedona is also known as the Red Rock All American Road. It is Arizona’s first All-American Road (as designated by the U. S. Department of Transportation.) In its brief seven and a half miles, there are terrific opportunities for photography, hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities. There’s a good chance you’ll see wildlife, including elk and eagles. The peaks ahead have names like Courthouse Butte, Cathedral Rock (said to be the most photographed in Arizona) and Castle Rock.covershot

The road leads through the Coconino National Forest. NOTE: you’ll need a parking pass in the forest, available at self-service machines throughout or at commercial vendors. Take a break in the village of Oak Creek Canyon, which offers outlet shopping and restaurants. North of the village, you’ll come upon Bell Rock, a place renowned for its vortices, or sources of “earth energy.”

89a_rocksandwaterThere is plenty to see and do in Sedona itself — golf, art, museums and restaurants. But you’ll want to get out and take in even more of this area’s breath-taking landscapes. Head north on US 89A (also known as the Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Road) towards Flagstaff. This is another short road, only 23 miles. But you can spend hours here just admiring the views, much less participating in the fishing, hiking or otherwise exploring.

This drive was named by Rand McNally as one of its Top Five Scenic Drives in America. Especially notable are Oak Creek Vista, Grasshopper Point, Slide Rock State Park and Red Rock/Secret Mountain Wilderness Area.  The springs that feed Oak Creek here are said to have healing powers. Whether there is healing here or not, you will certainly be moved by the canyons, peaks and colors in this land.

Photos: Heather Wright Schlichting. Used with permission.

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