Scenic USA - Arizona

Courthouse Butte Loop Trail

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Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte - Sedona, Arizona

Photo by Tom Kelly
Tom Kelly Photography
Inset photo by Rob Jones

   The immense Colorado Plateau covers a large portion of the Four Corner States, totaling 140,000 square miles of land area. Once a deep basin, the region collected incredible amounts of sediment over time, becoming the foundation for today's Red Rock Country. These sediment deposits, either washed in or blown in, were slowly compressed into solid sedimentary rock. The plateau area and the entire Rocky Mountain Chain were uplifted four to six thousand feet about 60 million years ago, brought about by a collision of the earth's plates.
   Today in Sedona these ancient sandstone rock formations are on display, earning a reputation Courthouse Butte Trail - Sedona, Arizona worldwide for the colorful, rich earth tones. These rocky cliffs and buttes also contain fossils, offering more clues of Arizona's geological past. The rock structures continue to provide evidence indicating how sand was moved, and the great distances which the particles traveled.
   Pictured here is the iconic Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte dusted with an overnight snowfall. These impressive sandstone features are found just south of Sedona on Route 179. Circling Courthouse Butte, a loop trail begins about a half mile into the hike from the very popular Bell Rock Pathway. Totaling about four and a half miles, the Courthouse Butte Loop hike offers enchanting views of different Sedona landmarks. More side trails along the loop may keep you entertained the entire day.

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