Cathedral Rock

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Arizona, United States, North America
4964 ft / 1513 m
13218 Hits
81.47% Score
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Cathedral Rock
Created On: Apr 10, 2004
Last Edited On: May 3, 2012


Cathedral Rock was once named Courthouse Butte. USGS made a mistake by putting the wrong name on the map and switched Courthouse Butte with Cathedral Rock. So now this is Cathedral Rock. The other is now Courthouse Butte.

Cathedral Rock is one of the predominant landmarks in the Sedona area. It’s on postcards and is one of the most photographed features in Arizona. They are some of the most beautiful and magnificent mountains in Arizona.

The Red Rocks Sedona area has probably more climbs than any other city in the nation. This place could easily be a paradise for rock climbers. But they are the worst climbs in America. The rock is all crumbly sandstone, a rock climber’s nightmare. Cathedral Rock is not exempt from this. Just as beautiful they are, they are dangerous. Cathedral Rock sticks up just over 900 feet from Oak Creek. The first 600 feet of the climb is on a trail with minimal climbing. The last 360 feet is up crumbly sandstone. This is some of the worst rock to climb on in the nation. There have been those that attempted these spires and have died trying. There are many climbs that can be done on these rocks, and none of them are safe. There are many people that climb up to the rocks, but only few actually attempt to climb them. These rocks are not recommended to be climbed. Even if you do the first 600 feet, the hike is worth it and the views are breathtaking. Hiking distance one way is only 0.7 miles.

Getting There

From the 89A and 179 junction, take 179 3.4 miles to Back-O’ Beyond road. Follow it for 4.1 miles. You will see a parking area to your left.

Red Tape

$5 per vehicle per day. If you walk in then it's only $1.

When To Climb

Summer is not recommended. It’s too hot. Autumn-Spring is the best time. These rocks will occasionally get snow on them in the winter.


There is none in the direct area. The closest campsites are in Oak Creek Canyon. There is a fee to camp.

Mountain Conditions