Slickrock Kayaker by Derek von Briesen

Slickrock Kayaker by Derek von Briesen

The Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock National Monument is a paradise of recreation in the true sense of the word:  people come here to experience peace, quiet and solitude in Nature, to recharge their inner and physical strength by taking up challenging outdoor sports activities, to camp, hunt and fish, ride horses, swim, walk, run, or bike, climb, canoe or kayak and prospect for fossils, geodes and nodules. They can fly model airplanes, sight-see with educational Jeep tours, take in the bird’s eye view on hot-air balloon rides.

Most novice photographers can capture the ubiquitous amazing vistas in stunning photos with but a cell phone. There are rocky buttes to climb or shady creekside places to picnic and rest, historic archaeological and cultural places to visit, and at night, there are stars, galaxies and universes to discover in the area’s famously dark skies. The City of Sedona has been designated an “International Dark Sky Community” by the International Dark-Sky Association.

Slickrock Riders  by Derek von Briesen

Slickrock Riders by Derek von Briesen

Less than a two-hour drive from Phoenix, Arizona, the region has become an escape from the pressures of the urban environment. Annually, millions of visitors from across the United States and around the world arrive looking for adventure and a sense of the American West. Visitors relish in their ability to hike on trails that range from easy to challenging. These same trails lead to ancient ruins that date back 14,000 years.

Unlike most desert environments, the monument has a number of streams and creeks that allow visitors and locals alike to enjoy the lush riparian habitat and wildlife that live there. The riparian habitat offers numerous species of birds a place to rest during their long travels. There are over 200 species of birds that migrate through the region. The monument and surrounding region are part of the Pacific flyway. The opportunity to hike and see raptors, hummingbirds and other species in their natural environment draws many birders to visit the region. There are a number of sites recognized by the National Audubon Society.

Mountain bikers have found the monument and nearby bike-friendly communities to be an excellent location in which to enjoy their sport. The MTB Project in association with the International Mountain Bicycling Association has identified 76 highly rated trails in the monument area.