The Story of Rachel's Knoll
as told by Pat Krause
just before her 85th birthday.
Bless you, Rachel, for the example you expressed of giving freely of yourself and of your beautiful land. You will forever be remembered and honored.
Japanese Wedding at the Knoll
Peace Pole Dedication
Left to right: Ruth, Rita, the Peace Pole, Rachel, Pat
South Medicine Wheel
Amphitheater on the west side of the Knoll
North West view from the Knoll.
Unfortunately, Rachel suffered a debilitating stroke in 2001. After her death, her children ended up selling the property to Seven Canyons, but with provisions to create a park at Rachel's Knoll and allow visitors to the site on an ongoing basis. Regrettably, these provisions were not followed by the buyers. Gates were installed at the entrance to keep out all except property owners in the area. Those who had worked for Rachel’s dream through the years were in disbelief, and those who knew Rachel personally were saddened that her “Knoll” would no longer be a sacred place for spiritual inspiration for many to use. Attorneys became involved and many articles were written. For a long time it appeared that the efforts to keep Rachel's Knoll open to the public were all in vain.
However, because of diligent work by Rachel's children and their lawyer, in 2010 the courts declared that Seven Canyons must comply with the original provisions to make Rachel's Knoll into a park to be kept open to the public, and also to keep the peace pole repaired and maintained at the Knoll. At the present time visiting hours are 9 am to 4 pm.
To get to Rachel's Knoll, from the junction of Highway 179 and 89A in Sedona, drive 3.2 miles west on 89A and turn right on Dry Creek Rd. Go north on Dry Creek Road 2.9 miles to a "T" intersection. Turn right and continue about a half mile to the entrance gate to Seven Canyons. Click Here for a map of the Seven canyons area which includes Rachel's Knoll. If you go to visit Rachel's Knoll, a guard at the entrance gate will ask you to sign an agreement to comply with the regulations. You can now drive right up to the top of the Knoll. There are a couple of houses on the Knoll itself and about 25 houses and a golf course in a spread out area below the Knoll, but there is still a great deal of open space all around.
The Story of Rachel's Knoll is
told by Pat Krause, and is viewed
from her perspective as part of the original chronicle of Rachel's Knoll.
It is published on this website with the permission of the author.
Photographs by Margaret Jackson. Copyright 2007
In the following years, Sedona Oasis and Sedona Focus of Light sponsored a number of activities and ceremonies at the Knoll. There were solstice and equinox gatherings. Visiting Tibetan monks from India came with their musical instruments to do ceremony and chanting. A Japanese couple brought their entourage all the way from Japan to be married on the Knoll. Countless visiting lecturers from all over the United States asked permission to bring their groups to the Knoll to experience the beauty and silence found there. The community of Sedona was very supportive as well. This was demonstrated by the monetary donations made as well as the volunteer work in helping to build steps, make seating areas and maintain the medicine wheels and trails. Rachel’s Knoll was a community effort and the love for the Knoll brought many of the spiritual groups of Sedona together to honor the beauty Rachel had offered for all to enjoy.
The Peace Pole
In April of 1995, an Arizona non-profit organization known as Sedona Oasis asked for permission to place an international Peace Pole on the east side of the property known as “the amphitheater.” Sedona Oasis consisted of a group of three women: Ruth Paulson, Rita Livingston and Pat Krause. The group organized a weekend of activities to celebrate the placing of the Peace Pole including a beautiful “Star Filled Night” where many of Sedona’s top musical performers, dancers and entertainers put on a fund raiser to acquire money to help maintain what was now officially known as Rachel’s Knoll. Dr. Vasant Merchant, a professor from University of Northern Arizona and a previous speaker at the United Nations, spoke on world peace as the Peace Pole was being dedicated. Several hundred people attended the weekend of ceremonies held at various locations around Sedona. This included a trek to Rachel’s Knoll for the actual placing of the Peace Pole. Rachel’s children and grandchildren came down from Salt Lake City and many others from as far away as New York attended.
In 1990, Rachel asked her close friend, Pat Krause, to set up a non-profit organization to help protect the Knoll. Rachel also asked Marty Wolf, owner of Earth Wisdom Tours; Pete Sanders, president of Free Spirit; and Max Lafser, minister of Unity Church; to assist Pat. Many years of research and writing went into the project. Finally in 1996, the government granted a 501 C-3 non-profit status to the new organization that Rachel named. “Sedona Focus of Light.”
On Easter weekend in 1989, Rachel’s beautiful land was dedicated to humanity. This took place with a gathering of extraordinary people from the Academy For Future Science headed by Dr. J. J. Hurtak. Musicians, speakers, and over eighty people attended the ceremony, securing this beautiful land to be used for inspiration and meditation for all time. At least, this was what Rachel thought.
Medicine Wheels and Ceremonies
Word spread quickly that Rachel’s land was available for Sedonans to use as a place for meditation, silence and inspiration. Those using the hill often helped with its maintenance and upkeep. Trails were put in and seating areas were established. In 1986, medicine wheels were placed on the entrance to her knoll as well as to the north, south and east. Several jeep tours received permission to bring visitors from around the world to see the beauty of the area as well as learn about the sacredness of Native American culture. (Native Americans had inhabited the Long Canyon area as well as many other parts of Sedona until their evacuation to southern Arizona by the United States cavalry in the late 1800‘s.)
Buying Property in Sedona
So around the mid 1970s Rachel decided to purchase property in Sedona. She found a realtor who took her to many locations throughout the Sedona area, but nothing seemed right. She was about to lose hope of ever finding “her spot” when her realtor got an idea to take her to a very remote area up Dry Creek Road in the Long Canyon area west of Sedona.
This land was located high on a hill adjacent to wilderness area to the north and private property known as Rancho del Oro to the south. When Rachel got out of the car and walked to the edge of the property, she saw the most beautiful sight she had ever seen. She knew “this was the place.”
In Rachel’s own words: “When I stepped onto the knoll, the vibrations took my breath away – and my strength, too. The view was spectacular. I felt I was looking into forever. The thought and feeling came: This magnificent view, this inspiration, should never belong to any one person; it should belong to everyone.”
She immediately purchased the property. Being the exceptional businesswoman that she was, she did her research and found that many of the lots surrounding the one she had just purchased were in foreclosure. She got busy! One by one she purchased lots beneath her knoll and along the road leading to the top of the hill. When all was done, she owned 28 lots comprising about 13 ½ acres.
Rachel's Early Life
Rachel was a woman of many talents. She was born in 1910 and spent her early years in the St. George area of Utah. At around ten years of age her family moved to Salt Lake City. Rachel called this “home base” for the rest of her life. After finishing her schooling there, she went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in banking and commerce from the University of Southern California in 1934 - an unusual major for women in those days. Rachel’s father owned a Ford agency in Salt Lake City and soon after her graduation she put her business acumen to work by joining him in his business. Her father was a good businessman and instilled in her an entrepreneurial spirit similar to what he had. During this time with her father, Rachel married and raised a family of three boys.
The training her father had provided was beginning to nudge Rachel to formulate a plan of her own. She decided to go into business for herself, and Phoenix, Arizona was the place she chose to spread her wings. Over a period of years, she built and ran the Phoenix Thunderbird Motel. Although born a Mormon, Rachel was very interested in many spiritual pursuits outside her religion. This was especially true of metaphysics and the New Age thought that was arising in the 1950s and 60s. She contacted many of the leading metaphysical speakers of the time and had them come to speak at the conference room in her motel.
When traveling back and forth between Phoenix and Salt Lake City, Rachel would often stop for the night in Sedona to relax and enjoy the beauty. She eventually began to feel the call of the red rocks and decided Sedona was the place where she wanted to spend more of her free time. She felt Sedona was the place she could give back some of the blessings she had received in her life.
The following is a story of Rachel’s Knoll, and of the woman who wanted to gift her beautiful land to the Community of Sedona.
Imagine the pristine beauty due west of Sedona with nothing but magnificent red rock formations in all directions. For many years, residents of Sedona were allowed to use a very special place in this extraordinary area. It was found on private property in the Long Canyon area and was owned by a woman named Rachel. She purchased this beautiful land, piece by piece, in the early 1970s and then made it available to the residents of Sedona, and all people from around the world.
Her property was perched high above the Long Canyon valley on a knoll which was later to be known as Rachel’s Knoll. To access her property one had to walk about half a mile meandering up a dirt road allowing ample time to experience and honor the drama and magical beauty of the land. Once on the knoll, one would find medicine wheels, seating areas, trails to guide you around to the meditative areas plus one of the most extraordinary red rock views in Sedona.
This land was most sacred to the Native Americans
in the area and was used by them for centuries for
their ceremonies and inspiration. Rachel knew
when she entered this sacred place that it would be
her goal to save it for all people so they might
enjoy and honor the Native Americans who once lived
Rachel's Knoll is once again Open to the Public!
After Rachel's death in 2001, the property that the Knoll sits on was sold to Seven Canyons, but with provisions to allow visitors to the site on an ongoing basis. Originally the buyers did not follow through on these provisions, but because of diligent work by Rachel's children and their lawyer, the courts have now declared that Seven Canyons must comply. Visiting hours are 9 am to 4 pm.
Directions: To get to Rachel's Knoll, from the junction of Highway 179 and 89A in Sedona, drive 3.2 miles west on 89A and turn right on Dry Creek Rd. Go north on Dry Creek Road 2.9 miles to a "T" intersection. Turn right and continue about a half mile to the entrance gate to Seven Canyons. Click Here for a map of the Seven canyons area which includes Rachel's Knoll. If you go to visit Rachel's Knoll, a guard at the entrance gate will ask you to sign an agreement to comply with the regulations. You can now drive right up to the top of the Knoll. There are a couple of houses on the Knoll itself and about 25 houses and a golf course in a spread out area below the Knoll, but there is still a great deal of open space all around.