Friday, April 24, 2015

Vultee Arch

Distant Drums RV Resort
Camp Verde, AZ
April 21, 2015

This is Vultee Arch. Joe and I did this hike last year...a hike we consider to be in the top 5 best hikes we did in Sedona. 

To get to the arch is quite an adventure both on wheels and on foot. You see, the trailhead is off the same road (Forest Road 152) that Devil's Bridge hike is on...only its about a 4.3 mile ride along a winding somewhat maintained gravel road with small ledges to crawl, beautiful scenery, and a descent into Sterling Canyon. It always adds to the adventure when 4-wheel drive is part of the package!

The hike (just under 4 miles in and out) is in Sterling Canyon.

It is mostly shady as it twists and turns thru the Coconino Wilderness, has gradual climbs, and views of sheer walls  (Wilson Mountain) and red rock...did I mention shady?

 I really enjoyed the trees...there was a wildfire in this canyon in 1996. Signs of scarred pine, juniper and oak trees are visible, but that is not what catches my's the rebirth of a wilderness and the sound of the wind in the trees high above that draws me in. 

Sanddune Wallflower

We did enjoy spots of yellow and orange. The Sanddune Wallflower or Prairie Rocket was the most prolific. 

Of course, purple was not going to go unnoticed as large patches of Hill's Lupine enjoyed the sunlight!

Not quite as famous as the Texas Bluebonnet, MonaLisa...but still pleasing to the eye.

The lupine leaves are such a pretty shape, but on closer inspection...yikes! That is not water, but sap. The spiders and insects are stuck! 

The Vultee
Arch trail follows Dry Creek. Today is was a pleasant surprise to find that Dry Creek wasn't completely dry like it usually is. 

There are lots and lots of creek crossings on this trail so if it ever has running water, it might be a bit of a challenge.

This year there was no "playing" on the arch. Just as we were about to climb up to the arch, we encountered bees...not just a few, but hundreds swarming all around the path. Quick decision...retreat! 

So, until next time, happy days and...
happy trails!

P.S. It looks like rain is on the way!
We changed sites yesterday...our new front view of the mountains and valley.


  1. The Lupiine weed is sure gorgeous wih all that sap. You certainly come up with some great photos!

  2. As usual, all of your photos are excellent but I especially liked the Lupine leaves. Never saw anything quite like it before. You have a good eye Gay.

    1. Thank you Gayle...that was a strange find for sure!

  3. I needed you along, Gay, when we hiked this with our friends and Cody. We loved the flowers but didn't know the names. They sure did brighten the trail. Of course, we enjoyed the drive out to the arch the best of all. It is one rough road.

    1. Us too Pam...Jeeping to a hike is so much fun! Wahoo!

  4. You do go on some wonderful hikes, so nice to tag along and enjoy your pics.

  5. We drove the rode beyond Vultee Arch during our last stay (did not do the Arch trail though) and found it to be pretty challenging in spots for our big truck. Sure wish we had a jeep whenever we are in Sedona! Beautiful photos, as always!

    1. Hopefully one day our paths will cross Lisa.....

  6. Gay this is my nth time to post a comment :( and I was saying that the AZ lupines is just as pleasant to the eyes as their Texan cousins.
    I like that close up on the lupine leaves but it made me eww since I sat next to the Texans when i took their pictures.

    1. Yikes MonaLisa...I am sorry you had trouble! I am not sure why.