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Sedona is renowned for its spectacular landscapes with fiery red rock formations rising into brilliant blue skies. It draws everyone from nature lovers and outdoor adventurers to artists, peace-seekers and healers. Visitors can enjoy miles and miles of trails for hiking, some of which lead to the town’s famous vortexes, areas that are believed to emit high levels of natural energy, making them prime spots for heightened spiritual awareness.
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One of the best treks is the Airport Mesa Vortex hike, a loop trail that also provides panoramic views of the top red rock landmarks along with the opportunity to soak up that mystical energy and enjoy quiet contemplation.
To experience it in solitude, your best bet is to arrive early in the morning, just before sunrise. You’ll also be able to watch the sun come up, rising over Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and Courthouse Butte.
A relatively easy 3.5-mile hike, when you get to the viewpoint you might see someone playing the drums, practicing yoga or even sound healing, taking advantage of the crisp morning air, charged with positive energy.
The trail begins at the north end of the Airport Mesa. It’s easy to find, with plenty of signs pointing the way. You’ll enjoy breathtaking red rock vistas from the northeast to the south through the Oak Creek Valley, with the trail relatively flat for the first mile before beginning a gradual ascent as it heads south towards the end of the Mesa. This is where you’ll get those dazzling views s of Elephant Rock, Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, and Cathedral Rock.
As the trail winds to the top of the Mesa’s south corner of the Mesa, it levels out and follows the perimeter of the airport’s fence before intersecting with the Table Top Trail. You’ll soon get a fantastic view of the Sedona Pyramid, a pyramid-shaped formation that is so remarkable, it’s hard to believe it was created by Mother Nature. Other red rock formations you can see to the southwest include Cockscomb and Chimney Rock.
The Airport Loop Trail is a great place to see the highlights of the Sedona area, short and easy enough that most people, including children, should have no trouble hiking the entire loop. If you come in the summer, hiking early or late is a must to avoid the heat. Be aware that the first half of the trail has little shade. It’s best to wear a wide-brim hat, sunglasses and a long sleeve shirt for protection, along with plenty of water.
You can more easily hone in on the areas where the energy is most concentrated by watching for the twisted trunks and branches of juniper and manzanita trees. Even if you don’t feel the energy, it’s well worth the time and effort for the incredible scenery alone.
The trail can be accessed from Airport Road. You’ll see the parking lot on the left about a half-mile from Highway 89A. Be sure to arrive early to get a spot.