Situated just a short drive outside the heart of beautiful Sedona, Arizona, Red Rock State Park consists of 286 acres of preserved land protected by the Arizona State Parks Board. Oak Creek runs through the majority of Red Rock State Park, and the entire area can be explored via a series of hiking trails. Red Rock State Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including a number of fascinating animal species. As you explore Red Rock State Park, there’s a decent chance you might encounter mule deer, javelinas, coyotes, and all manner of bird species. You’ll also find here in Red Rock State Park a Visitor Center, multiple picnic areas, and a fine selection of educational exhibits and informative displays.
Red Rock State Park History and Background
The area of land that comprises what we know today to be part of Red Rock State Park has a long and colorful history. A significant portion of what is now Red Rock State Park was once part of the Smoke Trail Ranch, a vacation home purchased in 1941 by the wealthy couple, Helen and Jack Frye (who was President of Trans World Airlines at the time). In the 1970s the property passed into the hands of a developer who intended to build an elaborate resort facility on the land. However, due to a breakdown in funding the project never got off the ground, and fortunately, during the 1980s, the State of Arizona was able to negotiate a complex and elaborate land-swap deal to procure the ownership rights to this lovely acreage. Finally, in the fall of 1991 Red Rock State Park was dedicated and opened to the public, ensuring that all people may enjoy its many wonders for generations to come.
What’s at Red Rock State Park
Visitors to Red Rock State Park will be able to enjoy a significant number of activities and events. Miller Visitor Center is a modern facility located within the State Park that houses multiple interactive exhibits designed to provide guests with educational content about the history of the area’s inhabitants and ecology. Two different introductory movies, totaling about an hour of viewing time, are shown regularly here, too.
Restroom facilities are also found at the Visitor Center, as is a gift shop. There you’ll find a wide range of souvenirs from which to choose, including such things as books, t-shirts, magnets, postcards, and more. The gift shop even sells a selection of beverages and a few small food and snack items. Any of these things may be enjoyed at one of the nearby picnic areas, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Hiking is, of course, one of the really big draws of Red Rock State Park. The entire expanse of Red Rock State Park may be explored and traversed through an extensive system of trails. In fact, some 9 major hiking trails are found just within Red Rock State Park. These trails are well-marked and well-maintained; still, it’s a very good idea to consult a map before heading out on your adventure. Maps of the hiking trail system found within the Park are available online or at the Visitor Center.
Red Rock State Park is open all throughout the year, though its hours vary seasonally. The park is open year-round on Monday through Thursday between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm, and on Friday through Sunday during the same hours from Labor Day to the first weekend in May. From the second weekend in May until the end of August, the Park has extended hours on Friday through Sunday; during this summer time period the Park is open from 8:00am until dusk. Admission to Red Rock State Park costs $7 for adults over the age of 14, $4 for children between the ages of 7 and 13, and is free for anyone 6 years old or younger.
Tips for Visiting Red Rock State Park
- Certain features of Red Rock State Park can sometimes be shutdown due to weather conditions or other variables. As a result, you’ll always want to check and confirm the site’s availability and hours of operation before visiting.
- If you are traveling through the area with pets, please keep in mind that the Arizona State Parks Board does not permit pets to be on the grounds of Red Rock State Park.
- Red Rock State Park has some five different ramadas (able to hold anywhere from 50-250 people at a given time) spread out across its grounds that are perfect for any sort of group event you might envision. Four of these five ramadas may be reserved up to a year in advance. Check the Red Rock State Park website for more details.
- Red Rock State Park is a frequent host of special events, exhibits, and lectures, so make certain to check their official website right before your visit in order to be up-to-speed on the schedule of their upcoming offerings. The Park is also home to a series of semi-regular events like its popular guided bird walks. These bird hikes/lectures are usually held throughout the year on Wednesday and Saturday, but the time of departure varies depending on the season.