Transportation

Print

Oak Creek Canyon Highway At right: Oak Creek Canyon Highway - 1930s

For the most part, the earliest settlers simply followed old trails to and from Sedona.

The first settler, J. J. Thompson, blazed a steep trail from Indian Gardens to the top of the rim; this became known as "Thompson's ladder." He left his wagons at the top where they could be loaded for trips to Flagstaff. Later he built a road where Jordan Road is today, and on around Steamboat Rock across Wilson Canyon and on to his homestead.

In 1902, John Loy and Ellsworth Schnebly wanted to build a road up out of the canyon. Following an old cow path, it was first called Munds Road. The county allocated $600 for the project, and the residents pitched in with money and labor. It has since been known as Schnebly Hill Road. In 1914, two crews built the bridge at Oak Creek Falls, completing a direct link to Flagstaff.

Improved transportation gave the settlers access to markets for their agricultural products in Flagstaff, Jerome, and elsewhere. The increased access to the world at large also worked in reverse - the miners, other workers and tourists found opportunities for relaxation in Oak Creek and Sedona.

Road work also brought new residents to Sedona. The completion of the Midgely Bridge over Oak Creek and the highway in 1939 opened up the Sedona area to tourist traffic.