The drive from Sedona to Grand Canyon is very scenic. Depending on how slow you want this trip to be, there are numerous things to see and do on the way. Just as you get away from Sedona with red rocks on one side and Oak Creek (a tributary of the Verde River) on the other, you drive over Midgley Bridge, a small steel arch bridge built over Wilson Canyon that in some ways reminded me of Kolkata’s humungous Howrah Bridge.
We parked and walked down to the viewpoint at the Midgley Bridge Trail Head. The canyon is covered with Pine Trees, and far down below, we could see Oak Creek.
This entire region around Sedona comprising national forests is choc-a-bloc with canyons, trails, and other recreational and picnic spots. We continued on our way over hilly terrain stopping for a bit at Oak Creek Vista for vantage point views of the Oak Creek Canyon. It is a quick short walk along a flat paved narrow road along the canyon rim where one can also browse and buy Native American artisan products.
We then veered off the highway to visit Walnut Canyon. The white limestone canyon gets its name from the walnut trees that grow in the canyon. The curved canyon with its terraced levels looks like a natural amphitheatre. Just like Montezuma Castle, here too, Native Americans like the Hopi, Yavapai and Navajo, to name a few, lived first on the canyon rim and later built homes in the alcoves of the canyon. Interestingly, the artefacts and material culture recovered from archaeological sites in Southwest Arizona all seem to have been shared and influenced by several cultures. We walked along the easy rim trail that is dotted with several viewpoints from where the cave openings are pretty visible, and there are several of them on the different levels of the canyon face. Just off the visitor centre, a trail leads down into the canyon for those who want to get up close and personal with the canyon and the cave dwellings.
From Walnut Canyon, we drove on towards Flagstaff on Route 66. Ok, it was a teeny-weeny section of the famed route, but people tick things off a list when they do far lesser, so I suppose I have earned my right to brag that I took the famed historic route too 😉 Apparently, in America, all east-west highways are even numbers and north-south odd numbers. I wonder if this is true elsewhere in the world too….
Past Flagstaff, the hilly terrain turns into flat forested areas and dry arid land dotted with hills.
At this point on the road, it is difficult to imagine that all this flat land is edged by a big crack in the earth the size of the US state of Delaware with a depth of about 2 kilometres! More about my tryst with Grand Canyon in another blog! You can savour more pics of our idyllic drive here.