Sedona is a major tourist attraction town, it has it all, one of Arizona favorite destination for the hot summer days and also grate for your winter trip.Surrounded by the amazing red-rock mountain landscape that offers excellent hiking, biking and off-road driving adventures, combined with art galleries and many spiritual centers.
Located in the central northern part of Arizona about 2 hours drive north of Phoenix, about 1 hour south of Flagstaff.
The town is located at the where highway 179 end and connect to highway 89A.
Year round although summer can be very hot.
Expect snow storms during winters.
Due note 1: My recommendations is to plan your Sedona visit to be at list for 3 days so you can enjoy what this town has to offer.
Unfortunately, last trip we visit here we had only one and a half day here + we got hit by major snowstorm, so we did not manage to do all what we planned.
Due note 2: You can combine this visit with your Grand Canyon trip.
Due Note 3: Sedona is a prime and popular Tourist destination and in some cases it can be overcrowded with many other visitors, full parking lots and many other peoples in the popular trails.
Due Note 4:For many of Sedona parking lots and trailheads parking you need to display either a Red Rock Pass (there are many ticket machines that accept credit) or by presenting America the Beautiful Interagency Pass on your vehicle dashboard for the duration of your hike.
Sedona Shuttle Service
When I visit Sedona (April spring break weekend, 2023) there was a service shuttle that can take you to the trailhead.
Shuttle provides transportation to popular trailheads.
The Sedona Shuttle is the free and it run year-round, Thursday thru Sunday.
When I was in Sedona, the town was full of other travelers and hikers and I saw many waiting to the shuttle bus, not sure if it was slow or not so frequent.
There is an app that shows real-time bas location.
Shuttle website: https://sedonashuttle.com/
In my mind this is a must visit destination even if it you are coming for only one day.
The view and the landscape is unique and even if you do not have time for a hike, you can still enjoy the view from many viewing points along the roads.
Sedona is known for its many and different types of tourist attractions:
1. Art community: galleries, boutiques, art stores and spiritual centers.
2. Hikes: There are more than 200 hiking trails options, different level of difficulties, all are in the surrounding wonderful red-rock formation mountains and creeks.
3. Many rent/guided off-road drive options: Jeep, ATV, Helicopter tour, and a lot more.
4. Mountain-bike rides: Sedona is one of the best mountain biking destinations in Arizona, make sure to find a good map in local bike store.
When coming from the Grand Canyon on highway 89A going south:
Oak Creek Vista:
Just before the road start to go down sharply into the canyon you can find a nice vista point over the deep Oak Creek Canyon below.
Midgley Bridge Picnic Area:
This is a short stopping point on the way with a nice arch bridge over the running river below.
This is the old center of Sedona where you can find many of the famous tourist attractions like art galleries, boutiques, stores and many dining places.
You may find it difficult to find a parking place, especially at weekends.
Sedona Airport Scenic Lookout:
One of the most beautiful viewing points in Sedona, the parking (need to pay for parking) is right by the viewpoint so no hike.
From this high point you see the new Sedona and all the mountain surrounding the valley.
Very nice at sunset or early sunrise.
There is another viewing point located on the middle of the road going up, you will see a small parking place on your left and a short hike will take you to the viewpoint.
One of the best hike in Sedona.
In this not so long hike some climbing is involved (no need for ropes) but the amazing view from the ridge top, right in the middle of the Cathedral rock formation, is rewording.
People say this is one of the nature earth energy Vortexes locations, not sure I felt the Vortexes, but it was definitely excellent hike with an amazing view.
Start at Cathedral Rock Trailhead on Back O Beyond Rd., this is a small parking lot so better be early morning or at late afternoon.
The short half mile trail is going down and cross the small river and then climb up the east side of Cathedral Rock.
Some sections are quite steep and need hand holding but if you take this short section slow it is not difficult.
After additional uphill climb you will reach the end of the trail, a rock ledge between the mountains. There is a short trail extension following the narrow ledge on the right side, it will take you to cliff-adage lookout point, be careful when walking this short trail, falling from here is not recommended 😊.
The most “classic” remote view of Cathedral Rock is from the valley below at Red Rock Crossing Park, at the Crescent Moon Picnic Site.
Broken Arrow Trail:
This is one of the most recommended hikes to do near Sedona, overall 3.5 miles in and out.
Be aware of the 4x4 trail for jeep, you can be annoyed by the noise done by the 4x4 rides that are doing the adventure drive near your hike.
The hike starts at the end of Morgan road, where you can find a small parking lot, from this place the 4x4 starts.
Follow the hiking trail that is going south, this hike follows a nice canyon where the red rock mountain peaks are watching from all sides.
Eventually the Broken Arrow Trail will lead you to an opening in the rocks with nice viewpoint to the valley below, this placed called Chicken Point Overlook. From here you will hike back to your car or continue for longer hikes.
There are few others connected hiking trails that are crossing the small mountains to their other side and even options to create a longer loop trails, but we did not had time to explore this option.
Yavapai Vista Point:
A recommended Vista Point to stop when you are driving south on highway 179.
Nice view of Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte and the mountain range to the east.
Chapel of the Holy Cross:
One of the most impressive architectural sites in Sedona. You can see it from viewing points near the road or get all the way and see it up close.
This bell-shaped formation is just south of Sedona, along the Red Rock Scenic Byway (higway179), is one of the first notable red-rock formation you will see on your right when approaching Sedona from the south.
Easily accessible just off the road, this is a popular stop for tourists.
You can find here few interesting places like: Seven Sacred Pools, Devil's Kitchen, Soldier's Arch and Soldier Pass.