Overview/ The Main Route
The summit spire clearly visible
Bell Rock's name comes from the fact that it looks like a bell. It is a small summit west of Oak Creek Village. The climb from the parking is only 547 feet. Though, it is a short climb, it is a fun and exciting little climb with amazing views. It is mainly fourth class with small amount of third class and the summit pitch is rated at 5.8.
From the parking you will see many people climbing all over the rock. It is the most frequently climbed rock in the area (although few reach the actual summit). Because of this there are more deaths on this rock than anywhere else in the Sedona area. This rock is like an adult playground. There are all sorts of fun little climbs you can do on this rock. Bell rock is not a place that you would come to Sedona just to climb, but it's more of a fun climb to do while your there.
This rock like all the others in the Sedona Area are made up of Sandstone. It is easy to get a grip on sandstone, but at the same rate it can crumble apart in your hand. You almost feel like Spider Man since your fingertips can even get a good grip on this stuff. A hold that feels dependable can crumble without warning. Your footing can also crumble underneath you. The whole Sedona area has some of the worst and scariest climbing rock in the nation. Bell Rock is the easiest and safest climb in the area. The only part you need ropes is the last 50 feet.
This is looking up the main route
The bottom of it you have to use your hands to climb up many small 5-foot cliffs. You gain about 5 feet elevation then walk on level ground for 20 feet then do it all over again. You want to aim yourself in the Gully facing the road. After a while you will be walking on fairly steep solid rock. You may need to use your hands for balance sometimes. Watch out for pebbles flying past you. Once you reach the end of the gully cliffs will surround you. This is where most people turn away and go back down. There are two ways from the top from here. You can go left and walk up through a narrow crevasse. When you get to the end you will need to wedge your body up in the cliffs facing each other to climb straight up. This is an easy class 5 maneuver. If this does not appeal to you, you can take the right approach, which is class 4. This is easier. There are many handholds and footholds, searching for them and testing them is easy. This route is about at a 65 degrees angle. Once on top of the ridge there are 3 smaller points you can climb up to. Each of them is an easy ascent. Then there is the 50-foot spire, 90 degrees angle. It is rated at 5.8
Coming down Bell Rock is a little bit tricky. You do not want to take the chimney chute approach coming down. You want to take the class 4 route. There are a various ways to come down from the route. Look down and carefully plan your route. Sometimes you will be facing the rock and other times looking away from it. There is a lot of exposure here and it made my heart beat faster and it skipped a few beats. Once off the cliffs it is easier coming down the second half then coming up.
Bell Rock is a wonderful climb. I would recommend it to anybody that likes a little adventure. The Top is amazing to be on. You are looking down cliffs in every direction. You can see where people took a wrong turn and ended up on a lower pinnacle and can't get any higher. Very few people actually make it to the very top.
From the 'Y' (the intersection of 89 and 179) in Sedona go on to 179 towards Oak Creak Village. You can park on the left or the right side of the road once you reach Bell Rock. Or from Flagstaff you can go down I-17 to 179 then head north to Oak Creek Village.
Park at the Courthouse butte loop, Bell Rock Pathway, and Big Park Loop trails. Take the Bell Rock Pathway trail.
Must obtain the $5.00 Red Rock Pass to park.
A Pass can be obtained at Wilson Mountain
trail head in a vending machine. There are many other places in and near Sedona that carries them.
When To Climb
climbing can be done all year long. It may be undesirable June-August though.
none in the direct vicinity. There are camping areas in Oak Creek Canyon. The fee is $18-$20 a night with a maximum of 7 day limit.