Of Sedona's 100+ hiking trails, there are four that tend to stand out from the crowd. And it's not their natural beauty, climate, or level of difficulty that makes them special, but rather, if you can believe it, the energy of their respective locations. Though many of its residents are there for the hiking and extreme beauty of the area, the town also attracts an eclectic group of psychics, fortune-tellers, and soul-seekers who make frequent pilgrimages there to connect with a higher plane.
In 1981, a woman named Page Bryant, a psychic, author and lecturer who made her home in Sedona for 10 years, identified four "vortexes" throughout town, where she felt the metaphysical energy was the strongest. Now, locals roll their eyes at this for a couple reasons. To start, the vortexes are all conveniently located off major highways, drawing concerns that tourism might be the motivation behind their selection. Guides also like to joke is that Bryant was a bit out of shape, so she selected areas that were easily accessible. It’s also tough to tell whether these areas cause visitors to feel good because of their "energy," or simply because they showcase Sedona's incredible beauty.
What’s the truth? Well, I guess you’ll have to make a visit and decide for yourself. In the meantime, here's a breakdown of the four individual sites:
The Airport Loop promotes energy relating to the masculine side of life, fueling strength, power and self-confidence. As soon as I started walking, I felt incredibly alive, like I wanted to run a little bit, or jump around – or something. I think I even threw a little skipping in there (luckily, there was no one else on the trail to judge). The hike takes you to the end of the runway at Sedona airport, and if you time it right, you can catch a plane landing. As you circle the airport loop, which is elevated high above the valley floor, you'll get great views down the canyon.
Bell Rock, named for its shape, is a "balanced vortex that provides support to both the masculine and feminine sides." It is unmistakable as you drive into town, and one of the first things you’ll recognize as you arrive. While experienced hikers and climbers can make it all the way to the top (take your time and find the correct path, as much of it is very steep, slick rock face), most people walk around the base of it via a series of trails.
Boynton Canyon, the place where Native Americans believe much of life as we know it was created, is another balanced vortex. It is by far the most remote of the four hikes, taking you into a canyon and providing various opportunities to gain perspective by climbing up on top of red rocks. While I didn’t feel the energy as I did at the Airport Loop, Boynton Canyon was probably the most scenic hike due to the fact that is about 20 minutes outside of town.
Cathedral Rock hosts energy that is thought to reinforce traditionally-feminine qualities of compassion, kindness, and patience. You approach this summit from the backside, and are treated to a sprawling valley view that is blind until you reach the top. On this hike, I found my mind was racing, thinking about some of the "problems" in my life and trying to work them out – of course, I might have just been over-thinking.
Want to check out the vortexes? Stop by any tourism office or ask at your hotel for a map, on which they are clearly marked.