Best place to photograph Sedona’s Cathedral Rock formation: Crescent Moon Picnic Site

Some of the most iconic images of the Sedona area have been photographs of the Cathedral Rock formation. But if you want to see this magical place for yourself, skip the Cathedral Rock Trail and head to Crescent Moon Picnic Area instead.

Sedona's iconic Cathedral Rock formation viewed from Crescent Moon Picnic Site
Sedona’s iconic Cathedral Rock formation viewed from Crescent Moon Picnic Site

Once inside the park, it’s an easy stroll from the paved parking lot to any number of spots along the tranquil Oak Creek for spectacular vantage points of the towering red rock spires that make up “the cathedral.”

wide, shaded trail at Crescent Moon Picnic Site

Quick take

Great views of Cathedral Rock require only a short, easy hike on a trail that’s accessible to people of practically all abilities. Abundant shade trees provide relief from the intense Arizona sunshine and high temperatures. Special care should be taken if you venture into (or near) Oak Creek. Printable map of area

Hike summary:

Note: 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers

Cathedral Rock Stones of time sign
“Stones of Time” sign educates visitors to Crescent Moon Picnic Site on geology of Cathedral Rock formation

Video: What you’ll experience on this hike

Want to create cool videos of your outdoor activities with your phone? Try the Relive app.


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Because the trails in the Crescent Moon Park are relatively short, you won’t need much time to experience it. Still, I’d recommend at least a couple hours to get the full experience, especially if you’re serious about photography. Since Cathedral Rock is situated almost directly east of Crescent Moon Park, sunset is a popular time to visit the area.

Map to Crescent Moon Picnic Site

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1 Comment

  1. I love those Relieve videos. Thank for this post. Seems next time I’m in Sedona it would be worth it to buy the Grand pass as $40 adds up quickly with visits to this place here or/and others.

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