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The Red Rock Formations of Sedona

Red rock formations serve as the background for virtually every image of Sedona, Arizona, and with good reason. These incredible natural wonders – largely composed of sandstone – are breathtaking sights to behold.

Many of these formations have names based on their general shape. While it’s unclear who bestowed these names upon the rocks, they’re pretty descriptive – and memorable. For example, the character Snoopy from the “Peanuts” comic strip lies on top of his doghouse. Another is Lucy, also from the “Peanuts” strip. Others – some of which can be seen in the video below – include:

  • Coffee Pot Rock – Standing tall at the west end of Sedona sits Coffee Pot Rock, perfectly poised to pour the first cup of morning refreshment for the countless neighbors living in the shadow of this unique and colorful monument. Visible from all over town, Coffee Pot Rock mimics a percolator style pot, complete with spout. The base of Coffee Pot Rock is deep Sedona red, with slight striations of white and pink. The lid of the Coffee Pot is striped beige and orange, further resembling the clear top of the percolator.
  • Bell Rock – To some, Bell Rock (pictured above) looks like a church bell. To others it is a kaleidoscope of red and pink and orange layered one by one out of the sandstone. Others still are mesmerized by the profile of a face staring up at the sky, like a sleeping woman waiting for some unseen touch. However you envision the beautiful Bell Rock, the landscape will not disappoint you.
  • Cathedral Rock – Rising majestically toward the sky from a red sandstone base, the spires of Cathedral Rock inspire wonder and awe in every visitor. Your first view from the trailhead belies the geographic beauty of this monument, as the delicate spires are hidden from view. However the short walk to the base of the rock will quickly tantalize your visual senses as the red and white layers of the sandstone unfold before you and the magnitude of this Cathedral becomes apparent.
  • Chimney Rock – Chimney Rock is a among the most prominent red rock formations in West Sedona. Along with Thunder Mountain and Coffeepot Rock, it forms a part of the epic landscape when looking during sunset.
  • Courthouse Butte – Located off the main trailhead that serves the better-known Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte is a Sedona Red Rock destination in itself. According to local legend, nearby Cathedral Rock  was supposed to be called Courthouse Butte, and Courthouse Butte was supposed to be called Church Rock, because of its close proximity to Bell Rock and its church bell symmetry. However, a mapmaker in the 1800s mislabeled the formations and the names became part of history.
  • The Mittens – East and West Mitten Buttes (collectively as The Mittens) are two distinctive geological features found within the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in northeast Navajo County, Arizona. When viewed from the south, the buttes appear to be two gigantic mittens with their thumbs facing inwards.
  • The Cow Pies — The Cow Pies are multilevel, flat red rock mounds with pathways leading from one formation to the next. Although the hike is relatively level, from the edge of the enormous slickrock mounds are world-class views into Bear Wallow Canyon below.
  • Chapel of the Holy Cross — A compelling Sedona landmark that was built in 1956 to the design of Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a student of world-renown architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The strikingly beautiful Chapel is jointly owned by The Roman Catholic diocese of Phoenix and Saint John Vianney Parish of Sedona Arizona. From the front door of the chapel, you can see Eagle Head Rock, the Twin Nuns and Mother and Child Rock buttes.

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