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Wed Jun 12, 2024

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Oak Creek Canyon

Most people know Arizona

The State of Arizona comprises the extreme south-western portion of the United States. It is bounded on the north by Utah, on the east by New Mexico, on the south by Mexico, and on the west by California and Nevada.

for the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon(gra'nd KA'N-yu'n)

Located entirely in northern Arizona, the park encompasses 277 miles of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands. One of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world, Grand Canyon is unmatched in the incomparable vistas it offers to visitors on the rim.

, and Oak Creek Canyon is not nearly as popular. However, it is this state's second largest attraction.

Oak Creek Canyon is very diverse because of the various areas where it runs. In the Village of Oak Creek, you can travel just past a residential area and find your way to Oak Creek. From this perspective, you are at the bottom looking up at the various red rocks and massive sculptures that have formed over millions of years. During the winter, you can sometimes see these massive rocks lightly dusted with snow.

Heading north on SR 179, and entering Sedona, you cross a bridge that takes you over the creek which runs through town. As you're going north on SR 89A through uptown, the creek will be on your right-hand side and just behind some of the shops that take full advantage of this view. There are a few restaurants as well with balconies that overlook the creek and the lush green environment that it's helped to create.

Continuing northbound, you'll cross over the creek again and follow it along SR 89A for about 20 more miles, all the while passing various campgrounds, restaurants, and lodging all with some of the most breathtaking scenery available anywhere. It is also in this area where you'll find Slide Rock State Park and the popular hiking spot on the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon.

As you continue heading north, you'll approach a set of switchbacks where you'll quickly gain altitude. Just at the top of these switchbacks will be a pull-out into a parking lot with some great views looking down into the canyon that you just came from. This is a great opportunity to put your camera's telephoto lens into use.

You are now at the northern portion of Oak Creek Canyon where the creek begins, being created by the flow of a couple of other creeks. As you can see, there are various perspectives of the canyon readily available. And with only a 45 minute drive taking you from one end to another, bottom to top, and from one geologic set of views to a completely different one, this will be well worth the trip. Take your time driving on 89A so you don't risk missing anything.

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