> Northern Arizona
> Sedona Area
> Village of Oak Creek
Description provided by Matthew.Johnson91: Year-round goodness to be found here! Castle Rock is the name broadly given to the rock formations that can be seen on the left (west) as you enter the Village of Oak Creek from the south. While somewhat less striking and not as recognizable as nearby Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte, it is higher than Bell Rock - with FAR fewer people. Although it is called Castle Rock as if it were a single rock, and it does indeed appear to be a single wall when viewed from the southern part of the village, as you drive north, you'll see that there are two towers (North Castle Tower and South Castle Tower) that are separated from the main wall in a line to the south - making for some shade at any time of day. (You may also notice that the formation extends a couple miles broadly to the north and includes an array of satellite towers). It is mysterious why this area is not more popular among climbers - it's not even mentioned in Tim Toula's guide or David Bloom's. If you have any information on this area, please contribute! Climbers have been active here, you'll come across old slings on junipers and the occasional bolt. This is an area with beautiful, classic summits, some shade to be found at any time of day and some great, natural, moderate multi-pitch lines. Here, an experienced, cautious, well-equipped party can get a few pitches off deck in the morning and be back enjoying a beer in the village by lunchtime. Helmets, while always a good idea, are essential here. Lots of clean, protect-able cracks but also a lot of loose rock, particularly on the belay ledges so use caution and common sense.
To access the North and South Towers: Just north of the Village of Oak Creek, park in the Bell Rock Trailhead parking lot (you'll need a Red Rocks pass), then, looking both ways, cross Hwy-179 and head west on the Templeton trail. See attached photos for orientation. The approach hike will take less than 30 minutes or less and follows a well established hiking trail the whole way up to the saddle. In general you will find good trails connecting the different ledge systems on each formation.
Note that you can also park directly under the formation on the side of Red Butte Road near the Red Agave Resort, thus shortening the approach to 15 minutes but introducing potential controversy with residents. We ask that you please use the standard Bell Rock trailhead approach for the sake of keeping these amazing chunks of sandstone accessible to climbers. After all, 30 minutes is still pretty damn good for access to some of Sedona's finest Coconino gold!
approach hike beta
Trailhead and approach beta