A short loop hike on the Eagle’s Nest Trail in Red Rock State Park… a great way to start exploring Sedona, Arizona!
Eagle’s Nest Trail Guide
MAP: available at the Visitor Center or online here
PERMITS: $7.00 per person to enter the state park, day-use only, no pets
DESIGNATION: Red Rock State Park, Arizona
BEST SEASONS: anytime but summer (it’s hot out there!)
DISTANCE: 2.4 mile loop
ELEVATION: high point ~4,000ft / gain ~300ft
ACCESS: paved roads
DIRECTIONS: Red Rock State Park is a few miles south of downtown Sedona on 89A, on the east side of the highway – also simple to locate with a GPS smartphone app
GUIDEBOOK: Sedona Hiking
Red Rock State Park
This park is close to the popular destination of Sedona and doesn’t offer much of a wilderness experience. It is, however, a well-run place with a friendly and informative Visitor Center. Several small loop hikes are offered for day use – the park keeps specific hours of operation and is closed overnight.
If you’ve been touring Sedona, a visit here may feel as though you’ve left a majority of the crowds behind. There are some pleasant riparian areas along Oak Creek – protecting these zones seems to be the primary purpose of the establishment of state park here in the first place.
Go the park’s official website for more details.
Trip Notes and Photos
On June 23, 2008 I went on a day trip to Sedona with Jamie and some new friends who were fellow coworkers at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Having recently climbed the highest point Arizona, I was off and running for a great summer of weekend adventures.
First we went to the popular Slide Rock State Park, north of town in Oak Creek.
Slide Rock is basically a scenic public swimming hole in Oak Creek, and far too popular for its own good. It can be a fun place, but not especially my cup of tea or the type of place I like to write about on this site.
After Slide Rock we did some walking around downtown Sedona, poking about in their New Age gift shops. The town is known to have some excellent hiking on its outskirts, but we hadn’t looked in to any trails for the day.
The prominent Red Rock State Park on the south end of town looked like a good place to start.
Hiking the Eagles Nest Trail
That’s more like it, I can get into this.
It turns out that late June is basically the worst time to be hiking the Eagles Nest Trail… or for that matter, anywhere around here! It’s so hot and dry!
The ladies in the Visitor Center were friendly, helpful, and seemed genuinely interested in hearing about our experience afterward. Of course they reminded us to be sure we had plenty of water too.
This particular trail gains some three hundred feet to reach the highest point in the park, called the Eagle’s Nest. It appeared to be the most “legit” hike to do here – I don’t remember clearly, but I imagine I played a role in steering our group toward this particular trail.
At this time I was still new to Arizona, so taking numerous pictures of the all the cacti enthralled me. Even typing the word “cacti” still makes me a little giddy. I didn’t know it yet, but I’d soon be calling Arizona home for long time.
We closed the loop along the shores of Oak Creek, surprised by its lush environment and aged, sprawling trees.
So this was my introduction to Sedona, and I think it was a great way to get my feet wet in the region. Go and see Slide Rock, just to see what it’s all about, and then test your feet on some trails in Red Rock.
Visiting Sedona is growing increasingly popular with each passing year. As traffic grows its initial charm diminishes, but the area is certainly popular for a reason! It’s beautiful.