Sedona says… Believe in Vortex.
Alright, Sedona. We’ll bite. But first, what exactly is a vortex? To answer this we will defer to the vortex experts at Visit Sedona. “Sedona vortexes (the proper grammatical form ‘vortices’ is rarely used) are thought to be swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy. Many people feel inspired, recharged or uplifted after visiting a vortex.”
Sedona itself is a vortex, one of three in the world, the others of which are the Burmuda Triangle and the Pyramids in Egypt. This is some strange and significant company for Sedona to keep. Within the Sedona Vortex are five smaller areas where the energy is the strongest — These are the vortices.
We read a few articles about the Sedona vortices before our adventure. The most frequently reported sensations when near a vortex are: 1. A feeling of well-being or inspiration. 2. A feeling of loose teeth, or vibrating teeth (but not in an unpleasant way, whatever that means). 3. A hallucinogenic, Alice in Wonderland experience of growing, shrinking, or limb stretching.
One of the key signs that you are nearing a Sedona Vortex are the twisted Juniper trees. The vortex energy that leaves the earth is like a tornado, and this swirling energy shapes the trees. It should be noted that the juniper tree is known to twist regardless where it is planted. Nonetheless, we stayed vigilant for more twisting than usual.
This article is one families’ moderately skeptical assessment (as you can imagine — growing and shrinking, come on), of the five known Sedona Vortices: Bell Rock, Red Rock Crossing, Boyton Canyon, Airport Mesa, and the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Below you will find a well-utilized map (which does not include the Chapel of the Holy Cross). We have ranked them according to our experiences at each individual spot.
Whether you believe in the vortex or think it’s voodoo chicanery, each of these energy centers are at amazing locations. Nobody is suffering with their incredulity when they go vortex hunting in Sedona. Plan your hiking around these locations and it matters not whether you have a “healing experience”. For more information about hiking in Sedona, or just some really great pictures, check out our article, Hiking in Sedona: A Trail Review.
We aren’t gonna lie and say everyone pulled an Apache Chief and grew taller, although that would be a treasured family memory.
Remember the time we got gorked at the vortex and became giants?
However, we aren’t gonna lie and say we felt nothing. You can see in the photos below our family appears to be having a very good time. We don’t normally get smiles like this out of our children, Apollo especially, who frequently poses like a depressed accountant.
*It should be noted that there was a key flatulence joke cracked about the time we arrived at the vortex, and multiple requests were made to repeat the punchline.
The feelings of well-being were extreme, though. We laughed the entire time as if we were drunk. Monica even said — and she might kill me for putting this out there — that her teeth felt loose (and there wasn’t a witchdoctor in sight).
There is this strange association with the Red Rock Crossing vortex and the Cathedral Rock hike. For the record, the two locations are well over a mile apart. In the below photo you can see Cathedral Rock and judge the distance. There is a trail that connects them, and if you want to approach Cathedral Rock from this trail we would recommend it (especially when the Cathedral Rock trailhead parking is packed). Park at the Cresent Moon Picnic Site and ford the river to the trail.
Ryan chose to go this one alone. The kids had homeschool and Monica stayed behind. Red Rock Crossing and Buddha Beach are a couple minutes apart, with the latter being further along.
All along the trail I felt hopeful anticipation. The photo of the river below was exciting to find because I had not seen it before (but have since learned this is a well-known location).
Shortly after arriving at Buddha Beach, a gentleman and his two little girls walked up. We struck up a pleasant conversation. The man’s name was Joshua, and he decided to take off his shoes and walk inside the swirling cairn. I thought this was genius idea and joined him.
Two grown men walked in a circle trying not to slip and fall (which he did). It was cool (not the fall). He told me that due to Covid he worked remotely, and while his family was traveling they were so taken by the beauty and energy of Sedona they bought a house here six months earlier.
After they left I stuck around and took a hundred photos of the cairn. Good feelings all around, positivity and whatnot. It wasn’t a foreign feeling, or an exaggeration like at Bell Rock, but I definitely felt inspired and at peace.
Ryan’s parents joined us for the short hike to the Boyton Canyon vortex. This Sedona Vortex is a little further from town than the others. The hike was easy. There is a tower (clearly shown) that the kids scaled with alacrity.
There are many things to be happy about here. The view is stunning in all directions. There are some twisted trees to invite the spirit of vortex into our hearts and minds. The kid’s daring adventures up the tower were a little unsettling because, you know, looming death in the wilderness, so that may have tempered the unadulterated bliss. Ryan’s father couldn’t seem to let the threat of danger go, and he was in Ryan’s ear most of the time. In the game of horseplay / lecture / vortex, lecture beats vortex.
Ryan’s mom said she felt a heightened sense of well-being, without any cynicism whatsoever. And the kids were chock full of vigor — it was as if the vortex energy tornado carried them up every dang rock in the area! They were an unstoppable force, tanked up on a swirling, ancient influence. I’m not sure what we felt here, but it was a good time.
This is by far the most visited vortex in Sedona. Most folks probably don’t know it, either. People stop by because it looks incredible from the road, and because it is a well-known attraction.
First off, it is a functioning Catholic Church with hundreds of lit candles and a reverent, worshipful atmosphere. Outside it is a jaw-dropping photo-fest for families. The contrast between inside and outside the church is dramatic and both should be experienced.
There’s a good vibe here. People are friendly. The views cannot be beat. I guess you could say there is a feeling of positivity and inspiration. We aren’t really sure that it went beyond what a good view and funky church would normally provide — this combo is uncommon, for sure — be we are certain that it was a good experience.
This was our last hike of the vacation and we did it at sunrise without the kiddos. There is limited parking at the trailhead — about ten spots. Because of this we hardly saw anyone the entire time.
The views on the backside of the mesa are extraordinary for anywhere but Sedona. By this time in our trip we had seen so many incredible vistas that these were par for the course, as crazy as that sounds. We hiked along the airport loop trail for about a mile, certainly long enough to encounter the vortex.
There were some significantly twisted trees back there. We also felt happy as usual while on and around a Sedona Vortex. The sunrise was amazing coming up over the rocky tables in the distance, which included Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock. You can read more about what you will see while hiking in Sedona in our article, Hiking in Sedona.
As for the vortex experience, we cannot conclude this area was different than other parts of Sedona.
People are drawn to Sedona for the beauty. This is obvious. Where else in the world is driving to H&R Block a scenic road trip? The real question is, where does the gorgeous landscape stop making you feel fantastic and the energy vortex start?
I’m going to risk my sanity card here and say there’s something funny going on in Sedona. I’m not talking about the prices at the Mexican restaurant either, which are NOT a laughing matter.
Everything that signifies the existence of an energy vortex — the good vibes, the rocky cairns, the twisted trees — could be explained by an energy drink (except the rocks and trees). But we’re buying it anyway. The vibes were too good. We know — we know — psychosomatic delusions. We could be very wrong about this, but we’re like, 77% believers. Why can’t the earth have vortexes?
No part of us wanted to feel inspired or uplifted for the sake of having a spiritual/metaphysical experience. We would rather not, actually. There would be fewer questions if nothing had happened.
It reminded me of visiting the Alien Museum in Roswell. Once we’d read all the affidavits of the witnesses we had to accept the probable reality of alien humanoids crashing their saucers into our planet. I hate to admit it. No self respecting man wants to be found prattling on about vortexes, and aliens, and Sasquatch… did I let that slip out? There’s definitely no such thing as Sasquatch. I mean… Telekinetic Chewbacca? Now that’s crazy!
If you would like to read more about Sasquatch, check out our article, Is Sasquatch Living Behind Your House?
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