Full moon hikes at Red Rock State Park a cool escape from summer heat

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

With Arizona’s hot summer temperatures, hiking is not an option for many. But hiking during the cooler evening hours by the light of the full moon changes that. 

Guides at Red Rock State Park in Sedona take to the trails once a month -- during the full moon. 

"Moonlight Hikes are among the most popular interpretive hikes at Red Rock State Park," according to the park's website. "Led by a knowledgeable naturalist, hikers get the rare opportunity to enjoy the sunset and moonrise from a park overlook and return by the light of the moon.

My kids and I hiked with a group of other visitors to a summit where we all watched the sun set over Sedona. We then watched the full moon come up over Sedona’s red rocks. 

[SLIDESHOW: Pictures I took along the way]

[WATCH THE STORY: Part 1 | Part 2]

After Mother Nature’s spectacular show, the group hiked back by the light of the full moon. 

While hikers are advised to bring flashlights, guides say on nights when the full moon is really bright, they might not be necessary.

Besides seeing the sunset and full moon rise, guides treat visitors to a pleasant hike that runs along Oak Creek and eventually up to the viewing summit.

Rangers do not recommend this hike for kids younger than 7 years old. It’s not a difficult excursion, but it lasts 2-3 hours and covers about 2 miles. So if kids come along, they need to be able to last that long. My 9- and 11-year-old were fine.

Also, guides ask hikers to bring plenty of water, flashlights and wear closed-toed shoes. We took granola bars, too.

The full moon hikes at Red Rock State Park happen once a month, during the full moon, April through October. Spots for the hike are limited and fill up fast; rangers recommend you reserve your spot ahead of time. There’s a $5 reservation fee and registration closes the day before the hike. Visitors also need to pay a park entrance fee  -- $7 for adults, $4 for kids 7-13.

The next Full Moon Hike is July 8 at 6:30 p.m., followed by Aug. 7 at 6 p.m. and Sept. 5 at 5:30 p.m. The last one of the year is Oct. 4 at 4:45 p.m.

You can find out more on the Red Rock State Park Events page.  For more information or to make reservations, call 928-282-6907.

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