Sunday, August 4, 2013

Red Rock State Park

     Arizona's State Parks are always a great destination.  Please support our State Parks whenever possible as you travel Arizona.  It is always good to go to Sedona, and Red Rock State Park is just another good reason to travel up the I-17.  Here is our story…

     When Mother Nature decided to drop a big deposit of iron oxide into the ancient seas of north central Arizona some 320 million years ago, the result became the amazing rusty, red rock sandstone beauty of Sedona, Arizona. Fortunately in 1991 Red Rock State Park opened to preserve for all the citizens of the world one of Arizona’s most enjoyable hiking and photogenic parks.
     The land of Red Rock State Park was once a part of the Smoke Trail Ranch that covered this transitional lifezone land a few miles south of the downtown Sedona.  Ranch owners, Helen and Jack  Frye, loved their spectacular yet rugged 700 acre ranch. 
     In 1947 they began to build their dream home modeled after a Hopi pueblo and overlooking Oak Creek.  Their two story pueblo was built using the flat red rocks from the nearby canyons and the views from each room were beyond spectacular.  They named their pueblo home the House of Apache Fire.  
    Jack Frye was killed in an automobile accident in 1959.  Helen would continue to live at the ranch, sub-dividing the ranch several times, until her death in 1979.  After her passing the State of Arizona secured title in the 1980s to 286 acres of the ranch including the House of Apache Fires.  This acreage would soon become Red Rock State Park. 
    Picturesque Oak Creek meanders through the land of Red Rock State Park creating an ideal riparian habitat for plants and animals alike.  Because this part of Arizona does have four distinct seasons, the beauty of Oak Creek changes and becomes a photographer’s paradise all year long.
     With the great ecological diversity found here, Red Rock State Park is a center for environmental education and offers visitors a variety of classes and programs appropriate for adults and children alike.  This is truly a state park for anyone who loves the natural environment of Arizona’s Red Rock Country.
    Upon arriving at Red Rock State Park the visitor is immediately greeted by one of the most unique visitor centers of the state park system.  The pueblo looking structure is also built of the red rocks from the land.  The design gives the visitor the sense of walking into an underground chamber that leads to an instructional museum, a classroom and a modern theatre.
    The roof of the center has been designed to act as a viewing platform from which all the amazing beauty of this special part of Red Rock County can be seen and photographed in a 360° landscape. 
    For those who like to hike, Red Rock State Park is the perfect family hiking center. The 5-miles of interconnecting loop trails are family-oriented for fun and safety. 
    There are three major loop trails creatively named the Eagle’s Nest Loop, the Apache Fire Loop and the Coyote Ridge Trail.  Eagle’s Nest leads the hiker to the highest point of the park, some 300 feet above the visitor center.
    The Kisva Trail is connected to each of the three loop trails and entices the hiker to enter the riparian corridor of Oak Creek.  The shorter Yavapai Ridge Trail, Javelina Trail and the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail complete the hiking pathways through this most beautiful of Arizona environments.  Bikes and horses are allowed on some designated routes and this information can be gained from the always friendly rangers and docents at the visitor center.
    School groups are always welcomed at this state park that specializes in environmental education.  But this place is very popular with people of all ages for its beauty and educational seminars and programs including moonlight hikes from April – October.

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