Red Rock State Park
Red Rock State Park is a state park in Arizona featuring a red sandstone canyon outside the city of Sedona. The main mission of this day-use park is the preservation of the riparian habitat along Oak Creek, but there are 5 miles of hiking trails to explore.
On a personal note, I am growing increasingly tired of State Parks. Not only do they ask for fees well above the Federal parks (case in point; $10 to drive in, $3 to walk in, but they do not provide any parking within miles of the park entrance so you are forced to drive in anyway), they also have a “no weapons” policy in place, even in states that are very gun-free (such as Arizona). I do not patron businesses that require me to disarm, so I’m having a hard time giving my money to these State Parks that also require me to disarm. This may very well be my final State Park… we will see.
After a quick visit to the visitor’s center for advice on the trail(s) I should hike in the two hours I had before they close the park. The ranger was very informative and helped me choose a mix of trails that sampled multiple smaller trails and brought me along the outer-most boundary of the park. In total it was about 2 miles of trail, and fairly easy trail to boot. Your vision is instantly assaulted by all the red sandstone, both above you in huge formations and below your feet on the trail itself. It is so red that the trees stand out as albino, but it is clear why this area is a park, it truly is beautiful scenery. I got so juiced up on an apple that I ended up running some of the trail to burn off the extra energy. I wish I had thought of that before setting out, as the trail would have been ideal to trail-run.