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Best trails in Sedona area (GC too) for fear of heights

Chicago, IL
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Best trails in Sedona area (GC too) for fear of heights

Thanks for all your great advice in the past. Here's another question for my March 2008 Sedona/GC trip:

I am very afraid of heights. Which of the walking trails and sights are the best for me? Which are worst? I don't want my family to miss anything on acount of me so they'll go on ahead of me on certain things (particularly Walnut Canyon - just looking at those 240 stairs and unrailed trails make me nervous).

Any advice is appreciated.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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1. Re: Best trails in Sedona area (GC too) for fear of heights

You can walk along the rim of the GC and still see the distant views of the canyon without staring straight down into the depths. You may want to stay away from the edge of the overlooks, but you can stand back and still see views.

Wupatki and Sunset Crater Nat Mon should not be a problem either.

I haven't hiked in Sedona, so can't help you on that.

San Diego...
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2. Re: Best trails in Sedona area (GC too) for fear of heights

Hi again Heidi!

Hiking in Sedona should not be a problem for you as far as vertigo or fear of heights is concerned. There are many awesome trails here that wind their way around base of the highest points, so your views are looking up, not down.

One of the good ones for you to try is called "The Bell Rock & Courthouse Butte Loop." You and your family can hike around the base of both rock formations and the views are stunning. Then, once you've all checked-out the base area, the more height-friendly in your group can venture up to the top of Bell Rock, if they desire, where the views only improve. While they are up there, you can stay near the base, if you prefer, yet, both of you will still be able to see one another, so you can take pics of one another and enjoy the experience without feeling separated.

Another EXCELLENT hike here for you would be "West Fork Trail", it is almost always rated the #1 hike in Sedona. This hike is stunning, it follows a gentle stream that meanders along the base of brilliantly colored sandstone cliffs that rise above you on either side, creating a lush, intimate and even romantic environment! In fact, people often say "take someone you love on this hike, you won't regret it!" :-) The trail is relatively flat the entire way, there are no cliffs to look over, you are looking up and around you the entire time and enjoying the beautiful stream at your feet. And your feet will get wet here and there, so be sure to bring hiking shoes that are waterproof.

Yet another great hike is "Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing "...and the trails at Red Rock State park. This is the region where the most well-known photos of Sedona are taken, Oak Creek is wide here and part of the hike takes you right along side it and the views of the Cathedral rock formation are breath-taking from this angle. There are plenty of trails here and areas to explore without getting anywhere near a cliff's edge, in fact, there are no cliffs to be found here unless you manage to make it all the way to the top of Cathedral, which most poeple don't bother doing because the views are so fantastic from the base.

A REALLY REALLY good hiking book that is very thorough and very inexpensive is called "Seonda's Top 10 Hikes" and it's available on Amazon :

amazon.com/Sedonas-Top-Hikes-Dennis-Andres/d…

I think it's around 12 dollars. I would recommend you pick this up now, since your trip isn't until next March, it will give you plenty of time to read it and get a good feel for what you are in store for here in Sedona. Each hike is carefully outlined in this little book (it is small enough to carry with you while you are actually on the hike too, which can come in handy sometimes). There are great color photos inside and detailed trail diagrams...all very user-friendly. It is our "bible" here and we take it on every hike and love it. It also talks about elevation gain/loss, estimated hike times, and level of difficulty for each trail. I truly feel if you get this book you will feel a thousand times more confident and more prepared for your outdoor time here.

I'm excited for you to see Sedona for the first-time, I know you're gonna love it!!

About the GC, none of the hikes down into the canyon have a railing. Because of this, if you have really, really bad vertigo, I don't know if I would even recommend actually hiking down into the canyon. Without any railings or barriers between you and the cayon floor, it is a straight drop down, and that might freak you out. But, up at the top, along the rim, there are areas with railings, they are located at most all of the main viewpoints. And there are even a few areas with a 3 1/2 foot high stone wall (about waist high) that you can lean against, put between you and the edge, and still be able take in the amazing view across the canyon and even peak over to see the Colroado River down below, if you feel comfortable doing that. I know there is one of these stone walls near the South Rim toursit area, (located by the larger inns, like El Tovar). And I think there is also one down by the Lookout Tower as well..and a few more at the pull-outs inbetween. I hope that helps!

San Diego...
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3. Re: Best trails in Sedona area (GC too) for fear of heights

ps...so sorry for the typos! I meant "Sedona's Top 10 Hikes"....heehee! It's by Dennis Andres....awesome book!!

Sedona, AZ
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4. Re: Best trails in Sedona area (GC too) for fear of heights

Actually I'm sorry to say there are a lot of inaccuracies is the book that is mentioned above. As a local these inaccuracies cause us a lot of consternation. The Mangums book is head and shoulders above it! I sorry to say these inaccaracies have caused much consternation here. I don't either of them so I have no interest which way or another except that I am really, really tired of trying to help people who get lost using the book mentioned above! I also do not recommend Frommers or Falcon press books for this area, other areas I know well are ok. The same problem as above.

I agree with the above trail recommendations though:

Bell Rock Pathway, Big Park Loop, and Courthouse Loop.

Marges Draw is also a good one as it is wilderness designated area and more pristine and less used as the others mentioned. (No bikes allowed.)

I deal with "fear of hieghts" regularly as a mountain bike tour operator. There are certain trails that although they are at the base of canyons or up washes they can be disorienting to someone who experiences vertigo.

San Diego...
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5. Re: Best trails in Sedona area (GC too) for fear of heights

I guess I need to defend my recommendation now.

The author of "Sedona's Top 10 Hikes" can be found at this website:

http://www.sedonaprivateguides.com/guides.htm

You can see from his bio that the author is a local and has walked over 5,000 miles in Red Rock Country.

I am not able to make the claim that his guide book is 100% flawless, because I have not done an in depth analysis of every single thing he has inside of it, but he is a local and a very experienced hiker both around the world and in Sedona.

I am a part-time local, and I know that a lot of the local bookstores and Tourist Centers offer this book and seem to recommend it all the time.

There are also a few people who have reviewed the book on Amazon and all gave it top-notch ratings.

One of the things we like about it are the color photos, which give you a good idea of what to expect on the hike, the overview map of the entire Sedona and Village of Oak Creek areas with the 10 hikes pin-pointed on them, the monthly sunrise/sunset and high/low temperature chart, tips about altitude, weather, clothing and gear, Red Rock Pass info, trail etiquette, and estimated hike time and elevation gain/loss. He also provides tips on if there are restrooms close by, photography ideas and parking information. We also like that the book is small and simple and easy to carry along on the hikes.

I am not affiliated with the author in any way either, but WE have enjoyed getting to know Sedona through this little guide book. I still recommend it as a good overview and way to prep for a first-time trip out.

It should also be noted, for anyone coming here, that parts of Sedona are currently undergoing some rather big changes due to a major re-vamping of Hwy 179. These changes will include some trail revisions. So, by the time you come here in March, there will be a few new trail heads open and a few new trail parking lots as well. The reason I bring this up is because I don't think there is a book on the market, yet, that has any of these new changes included in them.

As a side note, when someone is criticizing something or someone as being inaccurate, it helps to spell inaccurate accurately ;-)!! That just struck me as ironic & humorous!! I make a lot of typos too - so I can't laugh too hard.

Sedona, AZ
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6. Re: Best trails in Sedona area (GC too) for fear of heights

The most read and referred trail guide in Sedona is the Mangums book. The Mangums are native arizonas and wrote the first comprehensive trail guide for Sedona hiking in 1992.

amazon.com/Sedona-Hikes-Richard-K-Mangum/dp/…

On another note. The road construction sill make no changes to the trailheads. They are enlarging the parking lots and that's it. I am very involved with ADOT chages and the FS. I don't know where you got this idea.

Since you are becoming locals I would highly recommend visiting the Sedona Heritage Museum where you can learn more about the founding of Sedona. The museum director has just published a book on the history of Sedona until the 1970's lots of great historic photos!

PS I don't have much time to write as I busy working on the forest and in Sedona. Don't have much time to proof read either but I do like to get my facts straight! Glad you are enjoying your time here.

Seattle
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7. Re: Best trails in Sedona area (GC too) for fear of heights

Marg's Draw is a great Sedona hike. Excellent views of Snoopy Rock and no scary edges at all to deal with (I have a healthy fear of heights, too!) Trail head has plenty of parking and easy to find. You head out the street between King's Ransom and Comfort Inn.

8. Re: Best trails in Sedona area (GC too) for fear of heights

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