The eco-zones that comprise Sedona also include our riparian zone. This zone comes from the Latin riper, meaning river. In Sedona, when you’re by water, you’re by Oak Creek. It’s pretty much all we’ve got.
Oak Creek is a whole new world. Suddenly, leafy trees (“deciduous”) appear. These include the towering Arizona sycamores and cottonwood trees that give us autumn foliage each year. The foliage can begin in late September at the north end of the Oak Creek Canyon, and endure past Thanksgiving downstream by Red Rock Crossing.
The creek is clear and usually clean, so with a good eye you may spot the brown, rainbow or speckled trout that swim in it. Spotting fish is also the habit of marvelous Great Blue Herons, who like to do this in the afternoons along the creek. The critters of the high desert – including javelinas, coyotes, lizards, bobcats, deer and jackrabbits – will wander into this area too.
It was here by the creek that pioneers of the modern community lived. That includes Bear Howard, the Purtymans, the Thompsons and the Schnebly family. If they were going to get water, they had to carry it, so better to live close.
For more information on ecology, check out the award-winning Sedona's Top Ten Hikes.