Baby Bell

March 14, 2017

1360m

Sedona, AZ

“Baby Bell” is rather just an unofficial name referring to the small rock plateau north of the famed Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte near Village of Oak Creek in southern Sedona area. Despite the lack of prominence or any geological significance the top of “Baby Bell” offers some unobstructed views of the nearby towers. Ascending this little “peak” is a mere short hike plus a few scrambling moves while getting on top of Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock would involve at least a full pitch of 5.6 and 5.8 climbing, respectively. This provided a short alternative objective considering I only had an hour or so to kill with no equipment nor partner(s) to climb the big ones.

“Baby Bell” hiking route and the area around Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte

From the town of Sedona it’s a scenic 15 minutes drive down south following SR 179 to the trail-head “Bell Rock Vista”. Finding a spot to park wasn’t that difficult at this time of a day as many tourists had already gone. The lot was still mostly full though. From the trail-head “Baby Bell” was nicely visible with hardly any significant elevation gain. The towering Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock was also displaced in front teasing any peak-bagger like myself. I had not done much research but there’s a trail called “Baby Bell Trail” so naturally would be the one I took. This brought me initially down into a wooded drainage and then gently out on the opposite side.

The famed Courthouse Butte

The famed Bell Rock

Hiking on Baby Bell Trail

Typical, typical…

Courthouse Butte always in the view

Arriving at the base of “Baby Bell”

This is the start of the route

From the base of “Baby Bell” the route was actually not that obvious. There appeared to have a few cliffs guarding the summit nipple and I had to zig-zag around them in order to stay on the path with the least resistance. With some basic route-finding skills I could get around most obstacles and reaching the top would be nothing harder than an “easy scramble”. The views were inspiring just as expected and I waited for about an hour until sunset.

Ascending this gully to bypass a major cliff band

The summit ahead

There are numerous benches with some zig-zags in between

Smooth and polished sandstone

This is just the western outliers of Lee Mountain

Bell Rock

Me on the summit of “Baby Bell”

Looking north at the unofficially named “Twin Buttes”

A very impressive pinnacle looking east

Part of Lee Mountain

Courthouse Butte

“Twin Buttes”

The very impressive Cathedral Rock

Another look at Lee Mountain and that pinnacle

Evening alpenglow on the west-facing walls

“Twin Buttes” at evening glow

The last beams of sun shone on Courthouse Butte

Once the Sun had set I leisured walked down the “butte”. I took the “Bell Rock Pathway” and ended up a bit too far to the south. I then found a trail parallel to the highway and walked back to the parking lot without an issue. Having finished three hikes from dawn to dusk I drove back to “West Sedona” and went for a luxurious dinner. And then that daily evening sequence began with stops in Safeway and then McDonalds. I slept in car again at the same pull-out that I found previously on Dry Creek Road and that concluded another long, but satisfying day in the mountains.

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