After a relaxing morning at the motel during our early March 2020 trip to Sedona, AZ, I met Steve for some hiking and he was in the mood for climbing Cathedral Rock. Cathedral rock is a large rock, so named due to spire appearing formations projecting from the underlying rock. This 1.5 mile long trail is a hard trail. You will be walking on rock at a steep incline. We visited here a couple days previously but could not find any parking so we went elsewhere. We were lucky to find a spot immediately this day as someone just pulled out.
So if you like a short strenuous almost straight up trail, then climbing Cathedral Rock in Sedona is for you. I knew my husband would pick this trail sooner or later as it it is definitely his type of things.
The trail started out easy, crossing a dry creek bed and slightly elevating. The trail is fairly well marked but the destination is obvious, straight ahead and up. Very shortly into the hike you will start ascending on an uneven rock. It’s hard to refer to it as a trail as you just keep going up the rock.
Up the Rock
Very beautiful scenery and as you ascend further up, the incline becomes steeper. We were a little more than half way and turned to take pictures.
The rock has such an incline that you can’t really walk straight up and have to walk a bit angled. Those who have been following my blogs will not be surprised that this is where I stopped. I kind of froze and I was done.
This has happened a couple of times, both on steep inclines. Now I know I always say I am not afraid of heights, but this time I can explain! Haha! One minute I was smiling and ready to go, took a step and I felt unbalanced. No dizziness or vertigo, just felt like I was unbalanced. Scared the daylights out of me.
Steve noticed I looked a bit out of sorts and I told him I felt unbalanced. He said I looked fine and told me I probably had an ocular-vestibular dysfunction episode. At this point, I thought to myself, “don’t diagnose me, just get me off this darn rock”. Instead, I sat down, said I was fine and told him to go ahead and get some good pictures, and be careful. He checked me out, made sure I was ok, and then went on his way because I kept insisting.
So, I did the bottom scoot down the rock a bit, when I felt ‘safe’ I stood up and slowly inched my way to a more flat spot. I found a nice rock to sit on and watched Steve until he was out of sight. I then entertained myself with people watching. Not many people made it pass the spot I did, which made me feel better. Of course, I wasn’t too happy with myself, but I have learned you have to listen to your body on these hikes to stay safe. Did I think I was going to fall over? No, but that unbalanced feeling is not something I want on a sharp incline with a potential steep fall. It is so weird as I don’t have that issue when hiking along drop offs.
After what seemed like forever, Steve returned. I even went part way back up to meet him. He had a big grin on his face and said, “that was awesome, but you wouldn’t have liked one of the sections.” He went on to describe a narrow sharp inclined path near the top. So in the long run, I am glad I did not finish. I did enjoy his photos though! I believe the area he was describing is what is called the ‘saddle’ and considered one of Sedona’s Vortex, although I am not sure of that. If anyone knows, let me know!
Would I do this climb again? No way. Even though climbing Cathedral Rock was not my thing in Sedona, I am glad I attempted it and I am glad Steve enjoyed his climb to the top. I did like the scenery and enjoyed what I did do. If we ever go back, I would like to take a different hike around to the back of Cathedral Rock. From what I have heard, you don’t climb on that side!
When planning for this trail, we used the Great Sedona Hikes Guidebook. I liked this book because it gave straight forward information, good directions, accurate description and include a map. This book was easy to follow and contains information on over 100 trails in the area. The only thing I would have liked better is if the photos were in color instead of black and white. Although, there is an icon on each hike that you can scan on your phone that has great color photos of each hike.
I also used Sedona Trails Map while in Sedona. This is a sturdy map that fit nicely in my bag. Easy to follow and definitely worth having.