Cathedral Rock Trail
The view most people know from calendars and post cards is captured by professional photographers down by the creek at the Crescent Moon Recreation Area (aka Red Rock Crossing). This is where the reflection of Cathedral Rock lights up in the still waters of Oak Creek almost every night. That location is covered on a separate page. For now, we're talking about the Cathedral Rock TRAIL, which climbs up the formation itself and into the saddle between the spires (shown above and below).
While scientists at the US Geological Survey claim there are no electro-magnetic anomalies here (I've hiked Cathedral many times and never had any mystical experiences) the view alone (shown below) is enough to keep me coming back.
FINDING THE TRAILHEAD
At 0.25 miles, the trail emerges on a broad ledge with nice views. Then, it ascends steeply over bald rock and in a shallow cleft with a few toeholds notched into the rock to help on the steeper places (shown below). While the Cathedral Rock Trail is easy enough to follow, parts of this route are more of a rock climb than a hike. Though they are too small to notice, there are numerous hikers visible in this photo.
Emerging on a small knob, cairns show the way up and across several ledges toward the deep drainage ahead which it follows, climbing more moderately to the top of a wide saddle between two spires (shown below).
The photo below shows one of the social trails as it comes through the upper saddle, down along the bottom of the wall on the right, then wraps around the larger spire to reconnect with the system trail.
1.2 miles out and back
2-4 hours round trip
All year, late afternoon