It has been a busy week back in Arizona! Before we were even here a week, but we had visited Sedona, took in a hike in Red Rock State Park, went to a new church, visited Montezuma’s Castle (ancient ruins) and Montezuma’s Well, visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and went to Slide Rock State Park with new friends to slide down the natural rock slides in the freezing creek (which was welcomed on a 95 degree day).
We had passed through this area on our way west before, but didn’t have enough time to really explore the area. On that trip, we had explored the charming small old Cottonwood downtown area of shops and restaurants, and had seen Tuzigoot National Monument. In Cottonwood, we have eaten at Crema, and the Red Rooster Cafe, and enjoyed them both. Crema is a little higher priced, and probably my favorite of the two. We were so happy to have a couple of weeks this time to stay again at the Verde Valley RV Resort in Cottonwood, AZ to explore the surrounding areas.
Montezuma’s Castle National Monument is a cliff dwelling site where you can see Montezuma’s Castle as it has been preserved well. You can no longer walk inside, to keep that preservation up, but I bet that was an amazing thing to get to do, and we look forward to visiting other cliff dwelling sites in the future. Visiting this site was peaceful as not too many people were there on the weekday school day that we visited.
A 10 minute drive down the road, and a short uphill hike took us to Montezuma’s Well where there is another small cliff dwelling built above a natural well that is still being fed from an unknown source. There are no fish in the well, but many leeches. Eww. We took care not to fall in there! You can walk around the rim of this well, and then head down a small hill into an oasis of sorts, where the outlet of the well and a small creek runs around the rocks and trees back there. It was about 15 degrees cooler in this little oasis area, and it was so pretty down there that we had to sit on the benches and soak it all in for a few minutes. This little area is not to be missed when you visit the well!
Another day, we headed towards Sedona, and took a detour into Red Rocks State Park. We could see some of the rock formations in Sedona from here, and we took a nice nature walk where we saw some deer and walked over some bridges over a creek. We liked the visitors center activities at this park, but from what we saw on our limited visit, I wouldn’t say it is a must stop since there is a $7 per adult admission fee, and there is so much else to do in the area.
We finally arrived in Sedona, and were looking for somewhere to eat. We settled on the Hudson, which has one of the best views in town, and the food was delicious as well. If it isn’t too hot, we definitely recommend sitting on the patio where the views are the best!
We then headed to Creekside Coffee Shop, which has a wine tasting room in it as well. It was a cute little coffee shop with a nice seating area and patio where you can take in some views as well.
On another trip into Sedona, we at at Oaxaco Mexican Restaurant, where we once again enjoyed the views on the patio! The food was good, but the same prices as the Hudson, which had felt nicer.
We were meeting some friends at Slide Rock State Park this day where we heard you can slide down rocks. The weather was a hot 95 degrees, so we were ready to get into the creek! I had read online that in the off season admission to this park is $10 a car, but in May on our visit, it was $20 a car. Worth it in my opinion, as it was a really fun and memorable experience. I would imagine that it is a lot busier there in the summer months, but there were still a good amount of people there, and the water was much colder than we thought it would be. After the initial shock of riding down the rocks in the cold water, where you just have to scream because it is so cold, you get somewhat used to it. The cool off also lasts the whole day, so it is a great place to come on a warm day. In hindsight, with all of our state park visits in Arizona, we definitely should have gotten the $75 year Arizona State Parks pass. This state just has so many great ones, and we probably would have headed back to Slide Rock State Park again because we liked it so much!
After our time at this park, we headed to the Black Cow for some yummy ice cream with our newfound friends who were staying at the same campground as us. We really enjoyed our week together, and the kids loved having new friends to hang out with most nights this week. We were also heading to the same RV park for our next stop, so it was nice to not have to say goodbye!
On the day of mine and David’s 9th Anniversary, trip took us through town, where we stopped at Tlaquepaque, which is a super charming area where you can eat, and shop. It definitely felt like we were in another country, with all of the beautiful flowers, fountains, and shops tucked around every corner.
We then drove to the famed and beautiful Chapel of the Holy Cross, which is built on a hillside, and overlooks some amazing scenery! Admission to the chapel is free, and though there weren’t a lot of parking spots for how many people were visiting, there were enough and some that were close to the chapel. It was an extraordinary experience to step into the chapel and see the crucifixion with the views behind it!
From there we had brunch in the Oak Creek area at the Red Rock Cafe, where I had some amazing banana bread french toast! We walked around the corner to the Fire Creek Coffee Roastery, and enjoyed some nice iced teas and bought some coffee!
On yet another days visit to Sedona, we woke up early to try to beat the heat, and head out on an “easy” hike with the kids. We were going to just hike part of the easy rated Broken Arrow Trail, but we veered off onto the Twisted Buttes Trail which took us a bit further, up some hills, and to some nice lookouts on the High On the Hog Trail, which looped us back around to the Broken Arrow Trail. We took in some really nice views on this trail that wore us down, and lifted our spirits at the same time. Have I mentioned the “healing vortexes” they speak of in Sedona that are supposed to bring healing and lift your spirits?! I guess there are 5 of them in different spots. We didn’t experience one, though they say there is one at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, but just being in this beautiful area definitely gives you a lift, and I know I felt really good after our 2 mile hike! We bribed the kids with smoothies to complete the hike without complaining, and they did amazing. They said the smoothies were worth the 2 hour hike 🙂
We loved the small town feel, yet so much to do, and such beautiful scenery of Sedona. As we usually say about those places we love…we will be back!
If you have been to Sedona before, what were your favorite areas, hikes, sights, and restaurants?