Briar Patch Inn History

Briar Patch Inn is nestled beside the cool sparkling waters of Oak Creek, at the base of the soaring Red Rock mountains that form Oak Creek Canyon. In 1876, the first settlers found this area to be a haven for harvesting fruit trees, and vegetables, and fishing the native German Brown Trout in the spring-fed waters of Oak Creek.

In the 1930s, a German carpenter sought solace in the Canyon, built his home, and then saw the need to provide lodging for the “movie folk” who were making westerns in Sedona. In 1940 he built the first cottage, the “Bluejay,” complete with hand-hewn wooden door latches, still functioning today. Subsequent buildings became “Rocky’s Cottages,” after his name Raacke. In the 1960s and 70s, Ike and JoAnn Olson with their 3 children spent many retreats in Oak Creek Canyon to escape the summer heat of their home in Scottsdale.

In 1983 they purchased the Briar Patch and the neighboring Terracotta Resort (previously Rocky’s) and combined the two properties to become 18 cottages on nine acres of towering sycamore, oak, and fruit trees, where they have made their home. The 19th cabin, Casa de Piedra, was built in 2004.

In 1996 their son, Rob, returned from work overseas to join them in their family venture. Often, one of their 2 visiting children and grandchildren may be found pitching in where needed. Out of respect for this special spot on earth, it has been a “labor of love” to provide an environment where guests can relax in the quiet beauty of nature, free of digital distractions.

Our Philosophy

“Rejuvenate your soul & reconnect with nature” – Rob Olson

At Briar Patch Inn, we believe in the importance of Nurturing Your Relationship With Nature. We understand the profound connection between people and the natural world. We have heard countless stories of our guests’ miraculous happenings and divine moments in nature during their stay. We intend to inspire and guide you on a journey toward deepening your bond with nature. Discover what it feels like to live in harmony with your environment. Our mission is to exceed your highest expectations while protecting the tranquility our long-time returning guests have come to expect. Briar Patch Inn is truly, “The Way Life Should Be.”


Included with your stay is a hearty and healthy home-made breakfast, served buffet style in the lodge. It consists of fresh baked breads and muffins, crunchy granola, oatmeal, quiche, hard and soft eggs in the shell, dried plums in an orange sauce, yogurt, fresh cut fruits and orange juice, coffee and herbal teas. These can be enjoyed by the fireplace in the lodge during the cooler months, taken on a tray back to your cottage, or best of all, enjoyed creekside in the warmer months.

Just when you think it can’t get any better, “Music Maestro!” June through mid-September during breakfast, we enjoy the musical gifts of Maryanne Kremer-Ames and Allen Ames, classical guitarist and violinist known as “Lyra.” They have honored the Briar Patch with their expertise since 1989.

Breakfast… JoAnn’s book for sale… w/ recipes!

Often when we interact with our guests, they ask, “Why don’t you write a book about your experiences at Briar Patch, and please include your recipes.” For a while that idea had been resting quietly in a corner of my mind when suddenly one morning inspiration swelled up within me, and I said to myself, “You can do it.” So it is with pleasure that we introduce, The Life and Times of the Briar Patch Inn. We hope you enjoy our story. – JoAnn Olson, Owner of Briar Patch Inn

If you would like to order a book, please contact us at:
Toll Free: 888-809-3030
Local: 928-282-2342

Afternoon Refreshments

Each afternoon, enjoy hot mulled cider, a welcome drink in the chill of winter or on a warm summer day enjoy lemon-infused ice water, hot tea or coffee, along with home-baked cookies and fresh whole fruit. As one guest exclaimed, “You know you are in the right place when you walk in the door and are hit by the aroma of hot cinnamon cider and freshly baked cookies”.

Open to the Public…

Over the years, Briar Patch has become a favorite breakfast spot for Sedona residents. Whenever possible, and with reservations only, we love to welcome visitors to this spectacular area to join us for their morning meal. Please call us at 928-282-2342 a few days in advance to check availability.


  • our practices
    • property designed to be eco-friendly (preservation of historic cabins, gravel instead of asphalt, use of natural materials wherever possible)water bottle refills through our deep well tappromote a conservation mindset in each cabin etc….
    • respect red rock country + leave no trace supporters
    • We integrate recycling practices


Labyrinth (Briar Path to Peace)

Our “Briar Path to Peace” labyrinth is designed by MIT graduate Pete Sanders for walking meditations where guests can choose their own experience, with or without an experienced guide. (Book in advance)

NIA class

Card/board games
Given that we have no TVs, wifi, or phones in the cabins, we offer a variety of board and card games, available in our Lodge.

Guests often find pleasure in cozying up by our fire and reading one of the novels we have in our lodge.

Fishing *needs a license
As we have native Brown German Trout in our creek, guests who have a fishing license may use our property to fish. Licenses are available for purchase at Basha’s.

The best way to reconnect to nature is simple. Just lay in it!

BBQ areas/picnic tables
For all groups and families to enjoy some time together, we have three picnic areas, including BBQ grills, for all their gathering needs.

Swimming hole
Clear waters, a mixture of deep and shallow, and the perfect sliding rock call for a dip in the magnificent Oak Creek. A great opportunity for those who love a cold plunge throughout the winter months as well!

Viewing deck
Any time of the day or night, enjoy our perfect seating area overlooking the ever-rushing Oak Creek, alone or with loved ones.

Our resident lawnmowers, Rosie and Posie, absolutely love visits from guests! Plus, a few apple slices will put you on their good side.

No wifi/TV/phones
Here at Briar Patch, we consider our digital-free experience to be our greatest amenity! We wish you a magnificent experience with the nature around you.