Red Rock Crossing / Crescent Moon Recreation Area

Usually referred to by locals (using the old pioneer name) as Red Rock Crossing, this beautiful area by Oak Creek is officially designated as Crescent Moon Recreation Area. Administered by the Forest Service as a park, this area is so popular that the Red Rock Pass used at most Sedona area trailheads is not accepted here.
Red Rock Crossing is also where you can find one of the most photographed and published images in town (shown below). Dramatic light at sunset is almost a nightly occurrence here, and pros show up with their tripods to capture it.
Red Rock Crossing at Sunset
This historic property was first homesteaded by Prescott cattleman John Lee in 1880. It changed hands several times over the next 100 years, and the 160 acre Crescent Moon Ranch was finally acquired by the Forest Service in 1980.
Irrigation ditch at Crescent Moon
Evidence of its ranching history is still present today, with an irrigation ditch (above), a storage building and water wheel being the most visible. Horses are still allowed in the park, and locals living nearby sometimes ride here (shown below).
Crescent Moon Ranch 
There was a wagon crossing that was used by early pioneers since the Sedona area was first settled. The “low water” crossing was improved in 1938, when Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps built a concrete slab across the creek, connecting West Sedona with the Village of Oak Creek. 
The improved crossing was washed out and rebuilt several times between then and 1978, when enormous floods finally destroyed it for good, leaving the creek impassible to vehicles today. The biggest draw at Crescent Moon these days is the swimming holes (shown below), which are strung along the creek upstream.
Swimming holes on Oak Creek
These swimming holes extend upstream beyond the popular water slide shown above, to the area known as Buddha Beach (shown below) all the way to the end of Chavez Ranch Rd (see OVERVIEW MAP below).  Buddha Beach is name for the rock stacking that is ONLY ALLOWED HERE. Please do not stack rocks anywhere else.
Buddha Beach
Swimming hole on Oak Creek
Birds, especially ducks and herons, are common along this section of the creek, providing an additional draw for photographers (shown below).
Ducks on Oak Creek
People come here to fish, swim, and wade in the creek, as well as to picnic, get married, and photograph the scenery. At times it can become quite crowded. If you want the world-class beauty of Red Rock Crossing all to yourself (or nearly so) visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon midweek.


To enter the Crescent Moon Recreation Area without paying is technically trespassing, even if you walk in from across the creek, at the end of Verde Valley School Rd. The Baldwin Loop Trail runs parallel to the creek on the other side, and it is legal to go swimming from there.

The only parking option if you want to spend the day at Crescent Moon is to enter the park through the main gate, located at 333 Red Rock Crossing Rd.

Drive west from Sedona on US 89A. At the last stop light in town, turn left (south) on Upper Red Rock Loop Road. This is at Sedona High School. Drive 1.5 miles and follow the signs to Red Rock Crossing. All roads except the short segment leading from Red Rock Crossing Road to the picnic area are paved.
The park is open from 8 am to dusk during the busy summer season. A day use pass is $11 per vehicle for up to 5 people, and $2 per additional person. The park also has group areas that must be reserved in advance.

The upstream boundary of the park is approximately where the irrigation ditch begins. Beyond that the left bank of the creek goes through a mix of forest service and private property.  There are two additional parking areas that can be used to access swimming holes upstream from the park. These are at Secret Slickrock and the end of Chavez Ranch Rd. (see OVERVIEW MAP below). No fee is required to park in these locations.
Parking at Secret Slickrock there is a road that goes down to the old ranch house. This part of the ranch is still occupied. However, there is a social trail that runs beside the road, on Forest Service land. It goes down to the creek and comes out near Buddha Beach (see DETAIL MAP below).
A high clearance vehicle is recommended for parking area at Chavez Ranch.


Varies, less than 1.5 miles anywhere in the park. Buddha Beach and Secret Slickrock are outside the park boundary.
2 hours for the full loop
May-Sep for swimming, any time for photography
Yes. Must be leashed at all times. Please pick up after your pet.