A scene like this is not what you think of when you think of Arizona. Oak Creek flows year round, about an half hour south of Flagstaff. It carved Oak Creek Canyon, which opens to the red rock formations of Sedona. I went out early in the morning so I could take this photo in low light and at a slow shutter speed (1/15th of a second) so that the water would blur into ribbons to show its movement.
This is a classic scene of Sedona. Cathedral Rock is catching the late afternoon sun. I took this photo in Red Rock Crossing State Park.
It is hard to imagine that the small Oak Creek could carve the limestone walls of Oak Creek Canyon. Schnebly Hill Road is a gravel road that goes up the sides of the canyon to the rim and allows superb views of the canyon, such as this photo.
Oak Creek cascades through rapids and pools for about 20 miles (30 km), with steep canyon walls on each side. It is popular for fishing, and for walking, relaxing in the shade and listening to the soothing sounds of the creek as an escape from the desert heat. There are bed and breakfast lodges, cabins and small resorts up the canyon that provide charming places to stay.
The red rock walls of Oak Creek canyon have color, shape, and texture.
The red color is due to iron oxide in the limestone that turns red, similar to rust, when exposed to the air and water. The distinctive color is sometimes called "Sedona red" in Arizona and has been adopted as the color of the uniforms of the Arizona Diamondbacks Major League Baseball team.
A visit to Sedona deserves to end with a sunset. Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon is one of our favorite places. We are taking my mother there for a birthday weekend soon, as it is a milestone birthday for her.