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pretty good views as well higher up the rock
Bell Rock Trail
Closest available address
Trailhead is about 8 miles south of Sedona off of Highway 179.
Daylight hours are best.
Best time to visit
The Bell Rock Trail is a short but relatively steep trail from the Courthouse Vista parking area off of the Red Rock Scenic Byway to about midway up Bell Rock. The trail is .75 miles and has an elevation gain of approximately 300 feet. The main attraction on the hike is a scenic view of the Red Rocks area. Bell Rock is so named because it is considered to resemble a church bell.
Sedona is famous for red sandstone rock formations that due to weather, erosion and time have formed a variety of interesting and individualistic shapes and patterns. The rocks and desert landscapes are particularly impressive to view in the evening. Bell Rock is not the most striking formation, but it is one of the most accessible even though it is located in a wilderness area. Parking at the Courthouse Vista trailhead is fairly limited, and during more popular times in spring and fall you may face a long wait to get a spot. As an alternative, you could drive south to the Bell Rock Vista Trailhead and then walk north back to Bell Rock Trail.
During an initial visit here on a holiday weekend around 2:00pm there was no parking available and several cars were waiting, so it was off to go see other sights. On a return around 5:00pm, there were a few but not too many spots available. The hike starts off as an easy walk straight toward the rock. It gradually gets steeper and more rugged but would not be challenging for a person in good shape. What was more difficult though was trying to figure out which cairn to follow to stay on the main trail, relative to side trails. Near the end of the trail there was a steeper ledge that required use of both hands and feet, but that was the only spot where it was necessary to climb rather than hike. Note that a number of hikers/climbers kept ascending the rock past the end point. It was not clear if one could go all the way to the top without special equipment, but probably not. The views at the end of the trail were good and it was worth taking a moment to appreciate the scenery. Since it was running late this also seemed like a sensible place to turn around. Bell Rock Trail is a popular hike in this area, but since the view is the primary draw, you won’t miss out too much if you decide to skip it in favor of just driving the byway and checking out comparable views from your car.
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Red Rock Scenic Byway
Bell Rock Pathway
Chapel of the Holy Cross
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