Taking a ride on The Sedona Trolley is a great way to begin a trip to beautiful Sedona, Arizona. The 30 year old company offers narrated tours in open air trolleys to some of Sedona’s well known landmarks. My spouse Dianne and I elected to take a tour of South Sedona from the downtown to the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
Even before boarding the trolley, we were impressed with the meticulous care the company takes to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Our driver wiped down all the seats after passengers disembarked from the previous run. He asked ticket holders to board starting from the back of the bus to minimize contact. Customers were requested to take their original seats when returning to the bus after our stop. Of course, face masks are mandatory.
The tour initially passed by the Tlaquepaque’s Art District. Tlaquepaque is the most distinctive Sedona shopping experience in the Southwest. Even as we passed by, we could see that it is authentically fashioned after a traditional Mexican village, It has been a Sedona landmark since the 1970s.
As the trolley drove us to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, we were treated to a fact-filled live narrative by our driver. He mentioned that Sedona is a favorite of Hollywood producers with over 100 westerns filmed in the area. He mentioned names that are familiar to us. John Wayne, Randalph Scott, Gene Autry – they all made movies in Sedona. The town has restrictive building codes in order to maintain its serenity. No home or other structure may be more than two stories high and coloring is limited to four brown tone colors. Homes are pricy in the area and there are only a few lots left for residential construction in Sedona.
Before our arrival at the church, our driver reviewed the history and utilization of the chapel. This landmark was commissioned by local rancher Marguerite Brunswig Staude in 1932 to honor her parents. She was inspired by The Empire State Building design.
After several false starts and with the help of then Senator Barry Goldwater the Chapel was completed in 1956 at a cost of $300,000. It has received several architectural awards. The main feature of the chapel is a 90 ft (27.4 m) tall iron cross on the southwestern wall, which serves both aesthetic and structural purposes.
The chapel, Catholic in nature, is under the episcopal see of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. But it is open to people of all faiths. The surrounding scenery and stark beauty of the Chapel bring thousands of tourists to the site.
Fortunately our trolly dropped us at the top of the short but slightly steep hill leading up to the chapel. We had 20 minutes to spend there and the gift shop below. The informative narrative about the area continued as we rode back to our downtown boarding point.
The Sedona Trolley also offers a Sunset Tour and a drive through Boynton Canyon and Fay Canyon in Western Sedona. Riding the trolley is a great way to learn about Sedona while seeing some interesting attractions.