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  • Craig Cooper Photography

Exploring Arizona: Jerome, Sedona & Mingus Mountain

Arizona has always been one of America's most diverse locations, whether it is the rolling sands of the Sonoran Desert or the snow capped peaks of the San Francisco Mountains. During my most recent trip to Arizona I decided to visit the crimson sandstone formations in Sedona, the infamous ghost town of Jerome, and a winter wonderland on Mingus Mountain.

Snow capped peaks in Sedona.
"Wickedest Town in the West" - Jerome

Our 3 day journey through Arizona began in Jerome, a ghost town situated over 5,000 feet above sea level and was established in 1876. The town is quaintly situated at the top of Cleopatra Hill and is located about 100 miles north of Phoenix along State Route 89A between Sedona and Prescott.

Following its establishment, Jerome eventually grew to be the fourth largest city in Arizona with a population of around 20,000 people in the 1920's and was hailed as one of the largest copper mining communities in the country. However, because the community relied so heavily on the production of copper and mining, the town's population along with the demand for copper began to diminish after the start of the Great Depression and the conclusion of World War II, and the population eventually diminished to less than 100 people by the 1950's.

Today, Jerome is home to approximately 450 individuals and is a thriving tourist destination with gift shops on every corner, and provides as an assembly point for artists, historians and musicians alike.

Jerome is a small town full of adventure and activities for everyone of all ages, including museums and historical ghost tours for the more adventurous.

Points of interest:

Aerial view of Jerome

View of the Grand Hotel on a snowy day

Deserted art gallery in town

Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum

Mingus Mountain

After spending the day exploring Jerome, we decided to take the short drive to Mingus Mountain. The mountain summit is approximately 10 miles from Jerome, with a peak elevation of 7,818 ft. and is part of the Black Hills mountain range in the Prescott National Forest. The road to Mingus Mountain is easily accessible by way of forest service roads branching off of State Route 89A.

On the particular day of our visit, Mingus Mountain had received 3-5 inches of snow and upon arriving to the summit, we were greeted with a frigid winter wonderland. We took some time to play in the snow (which we don't have the opportunity to experience often living in Florida) before continuing our journey towards Sedona.

"The Most Beautiful Place on Earth" - Sedona

After visiting Mingus Mountain, we continued on towards Sedona. The drive from Mingus Mountain to Sedona was an approximately 40 mile drive through beautiful scenery and landscapes in every direction. Sedona is about 120 miles north of Phoenix, and could possibly even be an ideal day trip for visitors of Phoenix who desire to escape the city. Transportation companies, such as Groome Transportation, provide transportation to and from Phoenix to Sedona for those not wanting to rent a car.

Sedona is often described as one of America's most beautiful destinations, and upon arriving to this quaint town, it is easy to see how so many people fall in love with Sedona. The massive red, rocky sandstone mountains and cliffs in contrast with the blue sky is truly an unforgettable site.

When we arrived in Sedona, the winter storm was still blanketing the ground with snow but we took an opportunity to pull over and take some photographs of the crimson sandstone formations surrounding us.

Although winter provides the most affordable accommodations and prices in the Sedona area, the best time of year to visit is ideally from March-May when temperatures are warm without the scorching 100+ degree weather of the summer months. The most popular months are spring and fall, with mild temperatures but increased accommodation rates.

There are numerous activities in Sedona for everyone to enjoy. A few of the most popular excursions include:

  • Pink Jeep Tours - Enjoy some off-road adventure with amazing scenery during a jeep tour through Sedona and surrounding areas.

  • Star Gazing Tour - Sedona offers some of the darkest night skies in the country and includes brilliant star gazing.

  • Hot Air Balloon Ride - Enjoy a beautiful sunrise over the crimson red rock landscape of Sedona.

  • Hiking - Sedona offers some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the country, including Cathedral Rock Trail, Fay Canyon Trail and Devil's Bridge Trail. Follow the link for a list of 12 of the top-rated trails in Sedona.

For my time in Sedona, I decided to take a photography tour to make sure that I capture the beauty of Sedona in the best possible way. I was referred to Susie Reed Photography by a friend and was absolutely pleased and delighted to take a tour with Susie. She took time to truly share her expertise regarding photography and knew exactly where to go to capture Sedona's beauty.

After finishing my tour with Susie, we headed to Oak Creek Brewery for dinner to conclude our trip and return to Phoenix.

Although we wish we could have spent more time in Arizona, the few days we did spend in this unique state left us longing to return.

Cathedral Rock

Sunset at Cathedral Rock

Panoramic of the Sedona landscape

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