If you are a landscape photography and planning a trip to the United States and happen to have a visit to the incredible Grand Canyon at the top of your list, you should consider extending your route to the region of Sedona.
Sedona is a small town located at the end of a valley, in an area of remarkable landscapes that combine leafy vegetations with rocky mountains of reddish earth. It is the region that, after the Grand Canyon, receives most visitors annually in Arizona.
A lot of it has to do with the fact that it reminds you of Western films, since at some point in time it was the main setting chosen to shoot some of the most famous titles of the genre. Apart from that, Sedona is also the esoteric capital of the US; a place where you will find it easy to connect with yourself as well as the surroundings. It is a location that gives you the chance to emerge in nature and, hopefully, capture some incredible landscape photographs.
Below are 5 places every travel photographer should include in their itinerary to Sedona.
Oak Creek Canyon
Going down from Flagstaff to Sedona you will pass through the ravine of Oak Creek Canyon, a valley through which the road contours a river and every turn provides a new viewpoint. As you drive along winding roads surrounded by leafy forests and reddish mountains, you will witness some of the most beautiful landscapes of this area. The Oak Creek Canyon is the place that better characterizes the Sedona region – and that attracts a big percentage of its visitors.
Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock
From the city of Sedona, a route known as the Red Rock Scenic Byway stretches eastbound, leading you to possibly the two most famous rocky mountains in the area: Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock.These mountains are icons of the Sedona region, as well as the mains spots where you can go hiking, explore the surroundings, and try to find the best angles to capture such colorful landscape.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
Near Sedona, in one of the mountains that surround the city, you find the curious enclave where the Chapel of the Holy Cross lies. The building was erected on the side of a rocky mountain, from which you have some of the best panoramic views of Sedona and its valley. This small Catholic chapel with an original modern architecture is embedded in the reddish mountain and was built in 1956.
It shows its greatest splendor during the sunset hours, when the cross-shaped facade allows for a lot of light to enter through its large windows. If you are coming from the north by the Highway 89, before entering the city you must deviate to the left into the HW179. From there, you should turn into Chapel Road, which will go up to a parking lot from there you will have to walk before reaching the platform where the chapel is located.
Jerome, a Typical Western Mining Town
Around 47 kilometers south of Sedona you will find Jerome, an old mining town that dates back to 1876. Located on the side of a mountain, its main street maintains the typical atmosphere of a traditional western town. Jerome was raised in 1899 from an old mining camp, and reached great importance in Arizona until in 1953 the copper mine that provided the economic boom closed down. After passing a period of decline, Jerome has now become a community of artists as well as another amazing spot to photograph the landscape of plateaus that stretch in the horizon.
Sunset Crater Volcano
If heading north of the Sedona Valley, around 30 kilometers from Flagstaff, you can visit an intriguing volcanic mountain which is now considered a national monument: the Sunset Crater Volcano.In this utterly natural landscape, the contrast of reddish colors of sulfur and oxidized iron stands out with the black of lava ash that covers most of the surrounding terrain. The eruptions that propitiated this landscape took place between the years 1040 and 1100.
Since 1974, it is no longer possible to ascend to the top of the volcanic cone of this small mountain of only 300 meters, but nevertheless, the views are outstanding. During your visit to the Sunset Crater Volcano, you will be able to walk through several trails that traverse the remains of the lava rivers. Of course, if you have had the chance to visit the Cañadas del Teide or Timanfaya in Lanzarote, this landscape will not wow you as much.
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