Continued (page 4 of 4)
Whether you consider this spot a tucked-away swimming hole, a shady beach or an ideal Jeep route, more than likely you’re not going to run into crowds on the road or at the wide swath of Oak Creek at the end of it. While we’ve yet to find an official name for this spot, four-wheelers often refer to it as Cliff Hanger due to a steep, narrow rocky section about three miles from the start, and we’ve also heard it referred to as Oak Creek Homestead because of the cabin foundation that exists near the creek.
While the road isn’t nearly as scenic as Broken Arrow or Soldiers Pass, you will find nice red rock views at some sections, while other portions are nearly as technically challenging as the above-mentioned routes. (You really do need a four-wheel-drive vehicle for this trip – a high-clearance car or truck isn’t going to cut it.) The forest is dense and green, and wildflowers were blooming everywhere during our trek. After you negotiate the “cliff hanger,” explore the cabin ruins at the base of the hill and then make your way to Oak Creek.
There are several spots to stop along the water, and one road spur actually crosses a shallow portion of the creek. The creek sits in a shallow canyon with short, red rock walls, which adds to the feeling of seclusion. We headed for a shady, sandy beach area with two rope-swings hanging from sycamore trees that bend out over the water. The creek is wide and calm here, perfect for wading and cooling off on hot summer days. Several of the trees would make excellent anchors for hammocks. There’s a nearby fire ring and other evidence of camping near the creek, and there was a bit of trash and used shotgun shells, which definitely detracted from the beauty of the area. We continued exploring the creek – just a few steps east of the swimming hole, the creek splits and becomes even more shaded and picturesque. If you’re coming out here in the summer months, don’t leave home without a picnic and inner tubes.
Directions: South on SR 89A, left on Lower Red Rock Loop Rd. Reset your odometer. Right on FR 9845 at mile 1.1. Go straight at mile 1.3, right at 2.0 and left at 2.1 – you are now on FR 9845H. Continue on this road and, at mile 3, head down a steep section. The road meets up with Oak Creek at mile 4. Return home the way you came.
MORE SEDONA MOVIE HISTORY: Johnny Depp in Dead Man, the last western film set, the making of Johnny Guitar, the return of actors Clint Walker, Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, Robert Horton, and Morgan Woodward, Sedona movie locations today, an interview with Tony Curtis, Sedona’s film legacy, an interview with Beatrice Welles