On Saturday I drove from Prescott and got together with three friends that came up from Phoenix and we all met in Sedona to hike and photograph the snow covered red rocks. We didn’t really have a plan on where we were going, but with the sun elevated high in the sky and mid-day coming I thought that heading north of West Sedona would be a good place to start. There are views that span approximately 270 degrees and we would have shadows and sunlight working together along with the deep blue sky and clouds above.
When we arrived we ventured out on a point that overlooked the valley as well as the before mentioned red rock that span from our left, to the right, and around to behind us. The crowds were not what they were on a normal spring or even summer day. Let’s face it, it wasn’t exactly warm, the ground was a muddy mess, and who wants to venture out into that? A photographer does!
After spending about 30 minutes or so photographing the surround landscape, as well as slipping in a picture or two of each other hard at work, I thought it would be a fun adventure to hike up to Devil’s Bridge. To do so you walk north on the road about a mile or a little more and then take a right at the sign where a trail will take you the rest of the way. Having been there before I knew what the trail was like, a ever bending trail through the pines and other green trees and bushes. The last time I did it was in the late spring or summer ,but the trail was a little different this time. The trail portion is a good mile and a half or so. The first half was slush and mud that was easily 2″ thick from the melting snow (at this elevation) that came in the days before. What we, or maybe I should say I, didn’t expect was the last half of the hike was a sheet or ice. The hike is a rather steep one, but combine that with packed snow, ice, back packs filled with gear, and of course the camera we were all carrying it can be a bit crazy to say the least.
The last part of the hike there are ‘stairs’ made of flat rock from the surrounding landscape. Here, like a good portion of the trail before this, was nothing but ice. Slick steps overlooking the treetops below. To give you an idea of how steep it is, you go up about 12″-18″ for every 12″ you make with forward progress! I was wondering if we were ever going to get there. The last time I went there it only took about an hour, but this time it was much longer. Regardless of the weather or conditions it can be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention. Of we took our time, helped each other, and helped or were helped by strangers going both directions.
Not far beyond this point, or should I say incline, you reach what you came for….Devil’s Bridge (click photo above for full view). This is a beautiful and natural made arch that overlooks the valley quite a ways down and you are surrounded by towering red rocks with their array of colors and contrast due to shadows, changing light, and of course the sky above. We spent about an hour or so up there taking pictures, talking with one another, as well as meeting other great individuals that conquered the same cold and wet adventure.
So when you are in the amazing northcentral part of Arizona this is a must to go see. For those of you who have not been there before, you take Dry Creek Road north off the 89A on the far west side of Sedona. After going just a couple miles you will come to Vultee Arch ( a road) where you will take a right and then park in the paved parking lot a couple hundred yards up. There are a several trails that will take you over many square miles or area, but to get to Devil’s Bridge you want to follow the road, which turns to dirt, just after you turn into the parking lot. Needless to say I am not sure I would recommend doing this in the winter with snow and ice on the ground, but if you haven’t been here before be sure to put it on your list of places to go.
At the end of the day, so to speak, it was another fantastic adventure. Nothing better than being outdoors with friends, cameras, and endless photo opps in front of us. Get outside, take pictures and make memories of your own, and don’t be afraid to share them with me here at B.O.P.