If you are planning a trip to the Southwest, be sure to visit Red Rock State Park in Arizona. After spending a few days in Flagstaff, AZ in 2011, we spent a day exploring this beautiful state park. We hiked and enjoyed the scenery and marked the park as a place we would love to return to. The following is a brief guide for visitors that we have developed based on our experience and the research we are currently conducting in 2020.
Where is Red Rock State Park?
Red Rock State Park is located in north-central Arizona in the city of Sedona. The largest city near Red Rock State Park is Flagstaff, which is about an hour’s drive north.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: In California, Red Rock Canyon State Park bears the same name. Check out this article if you are looking for information about this Golden State Park.
How do I get to Red Rock State Park?
Flagstaff Pulliam (IATA: FLG) is the closest airport to Red Rock State Park. When you arrive in FLG, you will need to drive south on AZ-89A or I-17 to reach the Sedona area. This trip usually takes an hour if there is no traffic.
If you are driving to Red Rock State Park, you can enter this address into your GPS:
4050 Red Ribbon
Sedona, AZ 86336.
How far is it from Red Rock State Park to Sedona?
Red Rock State Park is technically located in the city of Sedona. Therefore, most people who visit this park stay in the city. From Sedona, it’s only a 20-minute drive to the entrance of Red Rock State Park.
How far is it from Red Rock State Park to Phoenix?
Those visiting Red Rock State Park from another state will likely land at Arizona’s busiest airport: Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (IATA: PHX). Fortunately, the drive from downtown Phoenix to Sedona is about two hours.
The easiest way to reach Red Rock State Park from PHX is via I-17 N to exit 287. From there, take AZ-260 W and turn onto AZ-98 A N/E.
By the way, if you’re planning a long vacation in the Grand Canyon State, check out TripMemos’ AZ Bucket List post.
What to do in Red Rock State Park?
Covering more than 280 acres, Red Rock State Park offers outdoor enthusiasts of all difficulty levels. Whether you want to bike, hike or watch wildlife, there are many ways to enjoy the spectacular sandstone landscape of this park.
Below are some popular activities to do while visiting Red Rock State Park.
Coyotes, deer and spears… Oh, my God! – Red Rock Wildlife Viewing
Red Rock State Park, a protected area, is home to many beautiful wild animals. Whichever path you find yourself on, have your camera ready to take beautiful nature photos.
Coyotes, mule deer, and red deer (also known as stink bugs) are among the most common species year-round. It’s also not uncommon to see a few cute otters playing in Oak Creek, especially near the Kingfisher Bridge.
Birders will be happy to know that Red Rock State Park offers regular tours with local bird experts. These tours are usually held on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the early morning, but contact the park office for exact times.
Speaking of wildlife viewing, it is worth noting that snakes, tarantulas and lizards are quite common during the summer months. Red Rock State Park also has a few cougars, but they rarely show up on the trails.
Which roads are open to cyclists and horse riders?
Visitors who enjoy biking or horseback riding should note that Red Rock State Park only allows these activities on certain trails. The most popular trail is the Lime Kiln Trail, which runs about 15 miles between Red Rock State Park and Dead Horse Ranch Park. It should be no problem to find the start of the route at the park entrance.
Numerous other biking and equestrian trails begin at the eastern entrance to the park. For example, many cyclists like to ride on the approximately 10 km long bike path that crosses the park. Another interesting trail near the eastern entrance of the park is the 5.9-mile Turk Creek Trail.
If you have any other questions about where to bike or ride a bike in Red Rock State Park, click on this link.
Hiking in Red Rock State Park
Red Rock State Park has a well-developed trail system that makes it easy for hikers to plan the ideal intensity and duration of their hikes. Whatever you decide, don’t forget to drink enough and wear sunscreen.
For detailed hiking information on Red Rock State Park, download this official map. Below are some of Red Rock’s excellent hiking trails, perfect for hikers of all abilities. While we were there, we hiked the Kiswa Trail. The trail was beautiful, relatively flat, crossed a few streams and was perfect for kids ages 7 and 9. There was also plenty of shade, which made the June walk pleasant and comfortable.
If you are looking for more challenging trails, the park offers a number of them as well. Here are two of the most popular –
Cathedral Rock Trail
The Cathedral Rock Trail is one of the most popular and challenging hiking trails in Red Rock State Park. Although the total length is only about 1 mile, it has many incredibly steep sections. Yes, the view from the top of this famous sandstone is spectacular, but try this hike only with great caution.
To reach the Cathedral Rock Trailhead, take AZ-179 N and turn left onto Back O’ Beyond Road. There are two parking lots for this trail, but they tend to fill up early in the morning.
If you’re looking for a less intense (but no less scenic) hike, head to Eagle’s Nest in Red Rock State Park. This moderately challenging trail of about 1.5 miles is wide enough for families and offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.
There are several ways to get from the Miller Visitor Center to Eagle’s Nest, but Black Hawk Crossing is a convenient route.
When is the best time to visit Red Rock State Park?
Tourism at Red Rock State Park usually peaks in the spring, due to the beauty of the wildflowers. Spring also offers some of the best weather with daytime temperatures between 60° F and 80° F and little precipitation. If you are planning a visit at this time of year, make sure you book your hotel room well in advance.
The second most popular time to visit Red Rock State Park is in the fall. Like spring, temperatures are generally around 70° F, making this time of year ideal for outdoor activities. However, the risk of precipitation is greater during the autumn months.
In fact, the official monsoon season in Arizona lasts from June to September. Please read this safety information, compiled by the State DOT, if you are traveling during these months.
If you visit Red Rock State Park in the summer, be prepared for the intense heat. Although Sedona is not as hot as cities in southern Arizona, the maximum daytime temperature still averages 90° F.
Finally, winter is the least popular time to visit Red Rock State Park. Even though the monsoon season is over, the cooler daytime temperatures (30°F to 60°F) generally deter tourists. On the positive side, it’s easy to find cheap airline tickets and hotel rooms this season.
What time does Red Rock State Park open?
No matter what time of year you visit Red Rock State Park, it should be open from 8am to 5pm. However, the opening hours will be extended to take into account the summer traffic.
From early June through the Sunday before Labor Day, Red Rock State Park can be visited from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Remember that you cannot enter this park less than 30 minutes before the official closing time.
Compared to the park as a whole, Miller Center attendance is down slightly. From June to the Sunday before Labour Day, you can visit the Visitor Centre from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, between Labor Day and the first weekend in May, the Miller Visitor Center is only open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
It is interesting to note that Red Rock State Park is open every day except Christmas. On Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, however, the opening hours are shorter (8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.).
How much does it cost to enter Red Rock State Park?
Anyone over the age of 14 must pay $7 admission to Red Rock State Park. Children ages 7-13 pay $4 each, but younger children are free.
How much time do you need in Red Rock State Park?
If you only want to explore the sights of Red Rock State Park, most travelers recommend setting aside 2-3 hours. With tourism becoming a major industry in Sedona, you can easily spend a few days exploring the city’s many museums, shops and restaurants.
Can we bring dogs to Red Rock State Park?
Dogs are not allowed anywhere in Red Rock State Park. Since the park is technically a protected area, conservationists don’t want pets disturbing the natural ecosystem.
Is the stone of the cathedral a vortex?
In geology, a vortex is a specific area on the Earth’s surface where a lot of electromagnetic energy is released. No wonder so many people visit these places to get good vibes!
There are four whirlpools in Sedona, the most famous being Cathedral Rock. If you are in the right place, you can draw mystical energy from this famous vortex.
The most popular way to experience this whirlpool is to hike the moderate Templeton Trail to Red Rock Crossing. It’s not as strong as the Saddle Trail climb, but it’s much easier for beginning hikers.
Accommodations near Red Rock State Park
Due to its convenient location near Red Rock State Park, Sedona has become a popular vacation destination in recent years. There are dozens of hotels in this beautiful city, for all price ranges. Here are three of the top rated hotels to keep in mind when looking for a place to stay in Red Rock.
Sky Ranch Lodge
Located just north of Holy Cross Chapel, the two-star Sky Ranch Lodge is an ideal hotel for families or couples looking for a budget room. Sky Ranch Lodge features an outdoor pool, hot tub and free parking.
Click on this link from Booking.com for more information.
Greentree Inn Sedona
The GardenTree Inn Sedona is located about 6 miles north of Red Rock State Park and is conveniently located near many restaurants on State Route 89A. The hotel offers free parking, an outdoor pool and a daily breakfast buffet.
For more information, click on this link Booking.com.
Arabella Hotel Sedona
Tourists who don’t mind paying a little more for a 3-star experience may be interested in what the Arabell Hotel Sedona has to offer. Conveniently located just north of Red Rocks Church, this beautiful hotel offers guests two pools, a dog park and an exclusive bike spa where you can have your bike cleaned, repaired and inflated.
If you want to know more, visit this Booking.com page.
As always: If you know the park or have any questions about it, please leave a comment!
frequently asked questions
What to do in Red Rock State Park?
How long is the hike to Slide Rock?
Slide Rock, Things to Do, Trails.
Can you make your own trip to Sedona?
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