written by: Nolan Burman
Park Ranger - Red Rock State Park
Lead Guide - iConquer Adventures
Every year about 3 million people visit the small town of Sedona in search of peace and natural beauty among the splendid red rocks. As most of the U.S. Forest Service trails are packed with tourists, Sedona’s wildlife find serenity on this 286 acre nature preserve located along the banks of Oak Creek.
A walk through Red Rock State Park can be full of secrets and surprises from amazing desert wildlife. The cool, bubbling waters of Oak creek are a sanctuary as yellow-breasted chats chirp in the thickets and a common black-hawk soars through the sycamores. Hedgehog cacti blooms blaze a brilliant fuchsia.
Patterns of mule deer hooves zigzag through the forest. The land here is living and breathing, evolving and thriving.
Reptiles and amphibians love the perennial waters of Oak Creek. Shy creatures like a Black- necked Gartersnake and a Western Banded Gecko emerge from hiding. The creek is fed by
springs many miles up Oak Creek Canyon. The life giving waters stay a near constant cool temperature and remain year-round.
A Gopher Snake climbs up a red rock wall and an Arizona Toad enjoys the sun’s warmth after some nourishing rains.
Red Rock State Park’s most elusive and secretive inhabitant is rarely seen but it’s furtive footsteps can be found in the mud and sand. Mountain Lion tracks are a sign of a truly wild and healthy ecosystem. These top of the food chain predators are both mystifying and magnificent.
The park is a center for environmental education and takes its preservation seriously. There is no wading or swimming allowed by humans here. The water belongs to the wild. It also has a policy of “pack in pack out.” Meaning EVERYTHING you bring in with you, must be taken out with you. The rule is a lesson in environmentalism and meant to be a reminder of our impact on the natural world.
The atmosphere to be had here is uniquely special even among such a special place as Sedona. If you want to experience an unforgettable landscape and spectacular desert wildlife… Come walk with me next to the wild waters of Oak Creek at Red Rock State Park!
Nolan Burman - Lead Guide
The Walking Connection