Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross: Church in the Rock


I wouldn’t call myself overly religious, but I do appreciate a good dose of spirituality. That’s exactly what I found at the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona. Imagine a church built inside and surrounded by red rocks, with equally breathtaking views that make you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a hidden piece of heaven. Let me tell you, this wasn’t your average Sunday service!

Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross Pinterest

Sedona’s Church in the Rock

About the Chapel of The Holy Cross

Dreamed up by Marguerite Brunswig Staude in 1932, this unique structure (inspired by the Empire State Building) was initially aimed to be built in Budapest, Hungary, with the help of Lloyd Wright, the son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Sadly, those plans were sidelined by the outbreak of World War II.

Determined to realize her dream, Staude eventually turned her sights to her beloved Sedona, where the chapel’s design would perfectly complement the red rock majesty. After more than two decades, it was finally completed in 1956.

Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross

The chapel itself is a marvel: rough-hewn concrete mirrors the surroundings, and a dramatic 90-foot cross adorns its facade. And did I mention that the chapel wasn’t built on, but into, the red rocks? Inside, sandblasted walls reveal natural textures, and smoky glass bathes the space in soft light. It’s a testament to both faith and architectural ingenuity.

The Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross is perched on top of the red rocks, with panoramic views. The only obstruction is the 8,000+ square foot home that is built nearby. There have been many rumors as to who owns this home; Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp and the inventor of Lasik. Next time, I’m going to knock on the front door to find out. Just kidding.

Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross

My Experience at the Church in the Rock

A spontaneous solo road trip to Northern Arizona landed me in Sedona. The Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross was on just about every tourist’s map, highlighted as a must-see. And I…must see.

At first glance, I couldn’t help but to think “how the heck did they build a church that fit so perfectly within rocks.” The concept for this church was created in 1932, but they searched for years for the perfect place to put it. I think they found it.

After entering I signed in to their record book, along with many other people from all over the world.

Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross

There were small statues, such as these, lingering throughout the interior and exterior.

Rows of candles, half of them already glimmering, lined the interior walls. I lit two, one for my grandmother and one for Pete’s, as a remembrance of two people in our lives who are sorely missed.

This is the view from the Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross pews. Maybe I am going to start going to church again.

Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross

What to Expect When You Visit

Peace and quiet are definitely on the menu at this ‘Church in the Rock’ Sedona location. There’s no entry fee, but donations are always welcome. While it isn’t a full-time church (services are held Wednesdays and Fridays, 12PM to 3PM), it’s open daily from 9AM to 5PM for visitors to explore the intimate space and admire the breathtaking views. Allow yourself about 30 minutes to soak it all in – the chapel itself is small, but the surrounding beauty is vast.

P.S. Before you leave, browse the on-site gift shop, where you’ll find religious items and mementos of your visit to this one-of-a-kind Sedona landmark.

Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross

Location & Getting to the Chapel

The Chapel of the Holy Cross Sedona is perched atop a scenic butte just outside Sedona’s town limits.  Finding it is easy – follow Chapel Road and you’ll be greeted by signs pointing the way. Parking can be tight, so I suggest arriving early. The chapel is just a short walk uphill from there, with complimentary golf cart shuttles (for tips) offered for those who might find the trek challenging.

Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross

The Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona wasn’t just a pit stop on my Arizona adventure; it was a moment of peace and wonder that resonated deep within. Sure, I snapped a million photos (because, hello, incredible views!), but the most important thing was the feeling of serenity and connection I carried with me after leaving this sanctuary. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind spiritual selfie with the city’s beauty, this landmark is the place to capture it.


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