Bell Rock Vortex
From the parking area the route proceeds to the base of Bell Rock and begins a zig-zag course up the sandstone slope. Don't expect to be alone here unless it's at sunrise, since this is one of the most popular spots in Sedona. There is almost always a steady stream of visitors winding their way up the rock (shown below). If you are looking for the Bell Rock "Vortex" hike, claimed to have male energy by the local New Age practitioners, this is it.
The crowd in the photo above is purely the result of proximity to the highway combined with some very savvy marketing by a New Age psychic back in 1980. Page Bryant was confined to a wheelchair her entire life, but even though she never actually made the steep trek up the side of Bell Rock herself, her book Terra Nova firmly established Sedona as a New Age spiritual destination.
Bell Rock specifically became the focal point during the famous "Harmonic Convergence" of 1987, when as many as 5,000 believers camped out nearby to meditate on world peace and welcome the space aliens that were supposed to reveal themselves.
Bryant claimed the spiritual energy of seven vortex sites in Sedona was revealed to her by Albion, her spirit guide, during a psychic trance. Bryan later renounced the vortices here as over-commercialized and moved back to her home near Asheville, NC, where she identified 23 brand new vortex sites before her death in 2017 at the age of 73.
While we're skeptical of all New Age claims, getting as high as you can on the side of Bell Rock (shown above) is still pretty neat, so if that's what you're inclined to do we say go for it! If you want to get even higher up, you can walk around the south side of Bell (near the highway) and climb up a giant crack in the cliffs. We call this experts only route the Bell Rock Summit, even though it technically doesn't make it all the way either. It's covered on a separate page.
FINDING THE TRAILHEAD
From the Courthouse Vista parking area (at GPS 34.80592 -111.76645) on Hwy 179, walk southeast on the trail directly towards Bell Rock and follow the signs. Once you get on the rock itself there are rock cairns and painted blazes to show the way. Of course, you can also follow other hikers, but doing so might get you off course if you goal is to get as high as possible.
.75 miles roundtrip
1.5 hours round trip
Sept - May. Hike early in the morning to avoid the summer heat.
Yes for part of the way. Must be leashed. Please pick up after your pet
and pack it out.