Skip to main content

What Is A Vortex


There is so much more to Sedona than meets the eye.

Beneath the endless beauty beats a healing heart. Sedona has long been regarded as a place both sacred and powerful. It is a cathedral without walls. It is Stonehenge not yet assembled. People travel from all across the globe to experience the mysterious cosmic forces that are said to emanate from the red rocks. They come in search of the vortexes.

What is a vortex? Sedona vortexes (the proper grammatical form ‘vortices’ is rarely used) are thought to be swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy. Many people feel inspired, recharged or uplifted after visiting a vortex. A Vortex is a place in nature where the earth is exceptionally alive with energy.  The term Vortex in Sedona refers to a place where the earth energy swirls and draws to it’s center everything that surrounds it like a tornado. At these magical sites, trees often exhibit this swirling or twisting of their trunks due the powerful vortex energy at the core of a Sedona Vortex.

Although all of Sedona is considered to be a vortex, there are specific sites where the energy crackles most intensely. The four best-known Sedona vortexes are found at Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon—each radiating its own particular energy. Some are thought to produce energy flowing upward while at others the energy spirals downward, entering the earth.

Airport Mesa Vortex Site

Airport Mesa Vortex is one of the most visited Sedona vortex sites because of its proximity to the center of town.  Plus it is very accessible.  To get to the top it does involve some vertical hiking and it is not for everyone, but the views from the top are stupendous in all directions.  You will see fine examples of twisted trees (See pictures above) and many people claim to see colored orbs.  This is truly one of Sedona’s energy centers and will give you the vortex experience you are looking for.  However, one of the prices you pay by visiting this vortex is that it is very popular and you are seldom able to be alone especially on the weekends.  If you get to Airport Mesa early in the morning at sunrise, the crowds are far less.  There are several random trails blazed by people walking every which way as hikers cross the area.  To follow the best maintained trail, turn left about 200 feet from the parking lot at the market sign and follow the trail leading to the “Overlook”.  The trail is short, but somewhat steep so watch your step.  Wearing Hiking boots or tennis shoes is recommended.  But we have seen all types of footwear at the top including high heels… but leave those in the closet!

Airport Mesa Vortex Directions:

To get to Airport Mesa Vortex – From the “Y” travel West (Away from Uptown) via Highway 89A for 1.1 miles.  Turn left onto Airport Mesa Rd and follow it for about 1/2 of a mile.  When you see the parking areas on the left, find a spot and enter the trail head.

Bell Rock Vortex Site

You can’t go wrong visiting Bell Rock Vortex because all of Bell Rock is considered to be very powerful and full of vortex energy.  There are different ways to go about experiencing this vortex and there are many paths to take once you park.  Parking is important here and we suggest you park in the North Bell Rock parking area (Directions and map below) because if you park in the south lot, you will need to hike 1 mile north because the South side of Bell Rock is too steep to hike or climb safely.  Once you park in the North lot hike past the signboard and head to Bell Rock Trail.  Follow it about 1/10th of a mile or so where it will intersect with Courthouse Butte Loop Trail.  You can either continue on Bell Rock Trail to explore the NE area of Bell Rock or turn right and follow Courthouse Butte Loop for 500ft or so to a sign post on your left.  Turn Left here and begin climbing up towards Bell Rock.  Be sure to count the rock cairns and between the 10th and 11th cairn turn right and head towards the large flat rock shelf and you will see where you start to climb to Meditation Perch.  It takes some doing to get there but the climb is worth the effort.  This is an energy rich place.  Unless you are on an Athletic Adventure, pay no attention to the other people climbing higher on Bell Rock.  The energy is no better higher up on Bell Rock than at lower levels.  The only difference is the energy you exude and the danger you may face because of lack of experience.  Be safe!!  If you tune into Bell Rock’s energy it will guide you FAR BETTER than any directions we can give you.  Trust what you feel, because you tune out the mind and use the heart and this will always steer you to the right place.

Bell Rock Vortex Directions:

To get to Bell Rock Vortex from the “Y” head South on State Rte 179.  Take 179 for about 5 miles to the to the Scenic View Sign which is North Bell Rock Parking lot.  The map below will show you all you need to to know.  Use the zoom features to browse what trail you want to take.

Boynton Canyon Vortex Site

People really enjoy Boynton Canyon Vortex and it is one of the few vortexes you can reach out and touch.  It’s located just over one half of a mile from the Boynton Canyon parking area and very easy to enjoy.  Many claim that there are actually two vortexes in Boynton Canyon.  One is a tall red rock formation off to the east known as Kachina Woman and the other is an unnamed red rock formation off to the west.  Many people believe these two actually form one vortex but because of the claims that people often feel energy at one and not the other it is up for debate.  We believe that once you experience the energy at one of these spots, you are already on frequency with that energy and may not feel anything different when you visit the other spot.  You can also choose to hike around the Enchantment Resort and off deeper into the canyon where there are many areas where people have built energy circles and built rock cairns in secluded areas.  This entire canyon is an amazing place and offers something for everyone.

Boynton Canyon Vortex Directions:

As usual… from the “Y” roundabout head west on State Route 89A.  for about 3 miles to Dry Creek Rd (This is a traffic Signal).  Turn right (north).  This will turn into Boynton Pass Rd.  Stay on Boynton Pass Rd until it ends.  Turn Right onto Boynton Canyon Rd and the parking area and trail-head is about one-tenth of a mile on the right.  If you get to the gate of enchantment Resort, you went to far.

Cathedral Rock Vortex Site

With so many scenic and energetic places in Sedona, Cathedral Rock Vortex stands out as one of the most scenic and most energetic places in Sedona!  To feel the most power at Cathedral Rock, you must get to the Saddle of Cathedral Rock.  But this is one of the most strenuous hikes and a dangerous/steep climb that is NOT FOR EVERYBODY!  The hike/climb to the saddle is only 3/4 of a mile long but rises over 650 feet in elevation over the 3/4 of a mile.  Only the fittest and experienced hikers wearing the proper gear should even attempt to get to the saddle.  For those of you who want to experience Cathedral Rock Vortex and not risk the Saddle Hike, then take the Templeton Trail to Oak Creek.  Once you reach the creek look for the Buddha Beach which is a flat area where visitors have built hundreds of Rock Cairns.  We suggest you find a comfortable and relax to take in all the beauty of this magical place. Guides say this is also a Vortex area and is certainly much safer than the hike to Cathedral Rock’s Saddle area.

Directions to Cathedral Rock Vortex.

Don’t be surprised to find people doing meditation, yoga or performing other rituals at vortex sites. Please be respectful. There are several companies, individual guides and healing practitioners that offer vortex tours. But everyone is welcome to visit on their own. All vortex sites are easily accessible and maps and directions are available at the visitor center. Show up with an open mind and see what happens.

Sedona has developed a worldwide reputation as a place of enlightenment. This is home to a large community that promotes a variety of alternative healing and spiritual practices. There are wellness shops and boutiques scattered through the town. In addition, many of Sedona’s spas offer Native American-inspired treatments using indigenous materials like red rock clay and local plants. Anyone on a journey of self-discovery can find out more from expert practitioners through the Sedona Metaphysical Spiritual Association at

Yet even if you have no particular interest in the metaphysical movement, plan on visiting Sedona’s vortex sites. It is virtually guaranteed that you will leave feeling better than when you arrived. Your heart will be lighter, your smile will be wider and you will feel more energized. Because here’s the wonderful secret: Vortexes are located at some of the most devastatingly scenic spots found among the towering red rock formations. Anytime you can get outside to walk in sunshine, breathing fresh clean air amid dazzling panoramas is a day well spent.

Sedona has the ability to transform lives. That’s its true power. The raw physical beauty of the landscape automatically recalibrates your sense of wonder. Embrace the spectacular. Accept the astonishing. This is a place that inspires, recharges, uplifts, soothes, restores and so much more. For many, the very act of being here provokes a spiritual awakening. No one leaves Sedona unchanged.

No matter what paths you take while traveling through life, Sedona is always the scenic route. That’s a journey well worth taking.

Welcome to Sedona, the most beautiful place on earth.