Red Rock State Park: The Complete Guide

Red Rock State Park

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Red Rock State Park

Address
4050 Red Rock Loop Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
Phone +1 928-282-6907

Opened in October 1991, Red Rock State Park conserves 286 acres of riparian habitat and red rocks just south of Sedona. It’s a favorite with locals, especially families, who appreciate its easy trails, which tourists often overlook. The park features a visitor center with educational exhibits, a theater, a gift store, ramada, picnic tables, and a 5-mile network of hiking trails.

Things to Do

Most people visit Red Rock State Park to hike. The park has relatively short, family-friendly trails with minimal grades, and all but one, the East Gate Trail, prohibit mountain bikes and horses. In addition to self-guided hikes, the park hosts daily guided nature walks at 10 a.m. and guided bird walks on Wednesday and Saturday at 9 a.m. Throughout the year, Red Rock State Park organizes
themed hikes on subjects like archaeology and ethnobotany.

Before or after a hike, drop by the Miller Visitor Center to learn about local wildlife and early human inhabitants through hands-on exhibits and interpretive panels. You can also watch two educational films about Sedona, shown on a continuous loop, or purchase souvenirs in the gift shop.

Hiking in Sedona

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Best Hikes & Trails

Designed with families in mind, the 5-mile network of trails in Red Rock State Park features three main loops joined by Kisva Trail. Overall, the tracks are relatively easy compared to others in the area. However, that doesn’t mean they’re boring. Watch for birds, wildlife, and scenic landscapes along the way.

  • Eagle’s Nest Trail: This 1.5-mile loop heads from the Kisva Trail up a hill to the Eagle’s Nest, where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the riparian area you just walked through and nearby red rocks. Be prepared to hike much further than the trail length, though. To even get to the trail, you’ll need to take the Bunkhouse Trail to Kingfisher Bridge, cross Oak Creek, and pick up the Kisva Trail. In all, expect a 2.5-mile roundtrip hike.
  • Apache Fire Trail: Another popular loop, Apache Fire Trail, branches off Kisva Trail and circles the House of Apache Fire, the former home of the president of Trans World Airlines. Roundtrip from the visitor center, the hike is a little more than a mile, but you can take Coyote Ridge Trail to connect to the Eagle’s Nest Trail for a much longer adventure.
  • Bunkhouse Trail: This combination of paved and packed dirt trail is less than half a mile long and 4 feet wide, making it a good option for young families and those with accessibility issues. Benches and picnic tables along the route offer a place to rest or enjoy nature. 
  • Lime Kiln Trail: A 15-mile, shared-use trail, Lime Kiln connects Red Rock State Park to Dead
    Horse Ranch State Park
    . Watch for wildlife and birds along the way. 
Oak Creek

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Scenic Drives

While the state park itself doesn’t have any scenic drives, there are several in the area.

  • Red Rock Scenic Byway: Only 7.5 miles long, this stretch of SR 179 runs from I-17 west towards Sedona. Along the way, you’ll pass impressive rock formations like Bell Rock and sites, including the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
  • Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive: As it heads north out of Sedona towards Flagstaff, Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive follows its namesake creek before snaking its way out of the canyon. During the summer, the route is congested with visitors, but you won’t mind—you’ll have more time to take in the breathtaking scenery.

Where to Camp

While you can’t camp in Red Rock Creek State Park, you’ll find plenty of camping north of Sedona, mostly along SR 89A. Much of the surrounding Coconino National Forest is open to dispersed camping.

  • Cave Spring: Located in Oak Creek Canyon, this 84-site campground can accommodate RVs, trailers, and motor homes up to 36 feet. Campers enjoy showers, firepits, picnic tables, and a general store, but there are no hookups.
  • Pine Flat: Camp on the banks of Oak Creek and under the shade of Ponderosa pine at this 59-site campground. Pine Flat features campfire rings, grills, picnic tables, nearby hiking trails, and accessible campsites. Again, there are no hookups.
  • Manzanita: This small, year-round campground along Oak Creek allows only 10 camping but is close to downtown Sedona and Slide Rock State Park. While there are no hookups, pit toilets are available.
Red Rocks at night

Manuel Haderer / Getty Images

Where to Stay

Sedona is the logical choice for overnight accommodations when exploring Red Rock country. However, you can also stay in nearby Cottonwood or Jerome. Even Flagstaff is just an hour north, making it a viable option if Verde Valley hotels are booked for an event.

  • Amara Resort & Spa: This luxury resort in the heart of Sedona recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation, giving a fresh look to its 100 guest rooms, popular SaltRock Southwest Kitchen,
    and award-winning Amara Spa. From here, you can drive to Red Rock State Park in just 20 minutes.
  • L’Auberge de Sedona: Another splurge-worthy resort, L’Auberge de Sedona, sits along the banks of Oak Creek. It, too, is roughly 20 minutes from the park, but you’ll feel a world away from the tourists and pink jeeps when you book a room here.
  • Creekside Inn Sedona: This popular bed and breakfast earns top ratings for its gourmet breakfasts—fresh berry-topped, yeasted waffles, anyone?—and streamlined décor. Surrounded by green grass and located near downtown, it is an excellent base for active couples who want to explore the red rocks.
  • Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock: A more budget-friendly option, this Hilton property has many upscale features found at neighboring resorts, including a golf course, tennis courts, and onsite dining. Plus, it’s located on SR 179 before you reach the congestion of the downtown area.

How to Get There

From Phoenix or Scottsdale, take I-17 north to Exit 298 and turn left on SR 179. Continue to Verde
Valley School Road, and at the roundabout, take the third exit to head northwest. Drive 4.5 miles to Longbow Ranch Road, and turn left. In less than half a mile, turn left again at Loy Lane, which becomes Red Rock Loop Road. At Smoke Trail Lane, turn left again into Red Rock State Park.

You can find more information about how to get to Sedona from Phoenix and Scottsdale here.

From Flagstaff and I-40, you can either head south on I-17 to Exit 298 or take the more scenic route and exit at South Milton Road near the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. Turn left to stay on South Milton Road for one mile when it becomes SR 89A. Take this scenic route through Oak Creek Canyon for 30 miles to Red Rock Loop Road and turn left. Drive a half mile to Smoke Trail Lane. Turn right, and drive into the park.

Red rocks of Sedona

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Accessibility

The visitor center, restrooms, and parking lot are accessible. While most of the trails are easy, the 4-foot-wide Bunkhouse Trail combines pavement and packed dirt that most can navigate. However, you may want all-terrain tires for the unpaved and uneven stretches.

Tips for Your Visit

  • The park is open Monday through Thursday year-round and Friday through Sunday from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitor center hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for kids ages 7 to 13, and free for those 6 and under.
  • Because this is a conservation park, pets are not allowed at Red Rock State Park.
  • Most of the trails are hiking only. Mountain bikes and horses are only permitted on East Gate Trail.
  • Watch for the hilltop House of Apache Fires as you explore. Built in 1947, it was the home of Jack Frye, the president of Trans World Airlines, and his wife, Helen.
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Red Rock State Park: The Complete Guide