Explore N. Arizona

Exploring a Vortex: Where to Experience Sedona’s Spiritual Energy

These spots can be intense.

It is said that everyone who visits Sedona has a Sedona story. Unusual things somehow happen among those breathtaking Red Rocks. Could it be because of the vortices? Is it the electromagnetic energy that draws nearly four million visitors to Sedona every year? People come to feel the spiritual energy as much as they come to see the Red Rocks and jump on off-road vehicles to explore the Arizona backcountry. But are vortices real or imagined?

What is a vortex?

A vortex is believed to be a rare place on earth where energy enters or projects out of the planet’s core—at Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids of Egypt and Sedona’s Red Rocks, for example.

There are certain places in Sedona where people believe you can “feel” the vortices stronger than in other locations, where the electromagnetic energy is concentrated. There are four such particularly strong vortices in Sedona, each worth a visit. Many people believe they provide a journey for your soul, helping with spiritual development.

Cathedral Rock Vortex Site

One of the most scenic places in Sedona is Cathedral Rock, but it is also one of the most challenging hikes. To feel the most power, you’ll need to hike to the Saddle of Cathedral Rock, which is only about three-quarters of a mile, but rises more than 650 feet in elevation in that short span—making it only for the most experienced climbers. 

If you want to sense some of the power of this vortex without having to risk the climb, take the Templeton Trail to Red Rock Crossing for great views of Cathedral Rock and plenty of vortex energy. 

Cathedral Rock is the only one of the four major vortices with “feminine” energy—where the energy enters the earth—and is said to have introspective power that connects you to memories and past lives. While the energy is more subtle, it is quite powerful, encouraging you to slow down, become calm and grow quiet. 

Cathedral Rock in Sedona
Cathedral Rock is the only one of Sedona's four main vortices with "feminine" energy. (©Larry Geddis/Alamy Stock Photo)

Airport Mesa Vortex Site

One of the most popular vortex sites in Sedona is Airport Mesa, close to downtown. This is one of the most crowded trails, but is a great place for a sunrise hike when there are fewer people out and about. It may be one of the best places in town to view the sunset, and there may be more stars visible from here than nearly anywhere else—the Milky Way seems to swoop just out of arms' reach. 

Hikers enjoy the great views of Sedona and vortex enthusiasts claim to often glimpse colored orbs as they near the energy centers. The entire loop is about 3.5 miles and is best avoided in the hot summer months. This is a steep trail, but well maintained from the parking lot up to the overlook. It can get slippery after a rain but the smell of the mesa after a shower is unforgettable and can add to the already magical setting.

The Airport Mesa vortex has “masculine” energy because the energy exits the earth with an upward flow. It is said to bring joy and rejuvenation, and inspire creativity.

Bell Rock Vortex Site

Bell Rock is one of the most distinctive of the four major vortex sites because of its shape as a large standing bell. The energy at Bell Rock is also masculine energy, and is said to be inspirational for the soul by stimulating thoughts and ideas. Many people feel they need to climb to the top of Bell Rock to find the vortex, but experts suggest stopping and grounding yourself at the base where the energy is just as powerful. 

If you take the trail one-tenth of a mile from the parking lot, it connects with the Courthouse Butte Loop Trail, which winds for about five miles around the base of Bell Rock. This gives you a chance to experience the power of the vortex without climbing up the rocks.

Boynton Canyon Vortex Site

The Boynton Canyon vortex is considered the most sacred of all four vortices, a balance of masculine and feminine. The box canyon stretches about two-and-a-half miles long and runs along Enchantment Resort. The canyon is a spiritual center for the native Yavapai-Apache, who still hold private sacred ceremonies in the area. Many people believe the vortex here is at the Kachina Woman rock formation, located above the Mii amo spa. Others claim the entire canyon is filled with energy. 

Boynton Canyon is a peaceful area, ideal for meditation. The hike from the trailhead to the end of the trail and back is three miles.

Is a vortex real or imagined? The draw of the Red Rocks, the breathtaking scenery and the Arizona blue skies are sure to transform you—whether you feel the energy of the vortex or not, you are sure to have your own Sedona story to take home.