Driving about 2 hours north of Phoenix on AZ 179 off I-17, the desert brown landscape gives way to the distinct reddish tinged scenery letting you know that you are arriving in Red Rock Country, in beautiful Sedona. The amazing attractions are the fabulous red rock sandstone formations that are instantly recognizable – Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, Cathedral Rock, even Snoopy Rock, named after the famous Peanuts character. But even more astounding is how the attractions, the grounds, and surroundings look like they have been painted a reddish hue. Ok, , maybe more like red, pink, burgundy, rust, orange and every shade in between, depending on what day it is and the angle of the sun.
So why are the Red Rocks red?
This is a popular question that came out of every visitor’s mouth at one time or another. There are about 300 millions of years of explanation as to why the beautiful shades of red characterize this awe-inspiring retreat. It can be a geologist’s dream exploring the answer to that question – something about millions of years of accumulation of deposits and layers of creation as Sedona evolved from being underwater, a coastal area, a swamp, a desert and how it is now. But the simple explanation? Iron. Specifically iron oxide (rust), which remained in the highly porous sandstone giving it its distinct color. But who can really concentrate on technical explanations when you are surrounded by such beauty? I believe its enough to bask in the beauty of Sedona and the mystery that it inspires.
Sedona has also designed their community to complement the spectacular landscape all around. There are mostly red-rock territorial style buildings in subdued natural tones and mostly none of the flashy building colors that could clash with the view. Case in point, you will not see the famous McDonald’s golden arches here because Sedona has decided that it does not go with the scenery. Oh there is a McDonald’s, but they traded their famous trademark golden arches with turquoise-colored ones. Yes, Sedona is the only place in the world where McDonald’s has turquoise arches.
Ah, Sedona is a perfect place to just sit back and appreciate the wonder and splendor of mother nature’s creations