Just two hours from Phoenix, Sedona is nestled against striking red sandstone formations at the edge of a beautiful Oak Creek Canyon. The surrounding areas offer amazing hiking, biking, swimming and camping opportunities. The town itself bustles with gourmet restaurants, art galleries, and new age relaxation places. This is a perfect a long weekend trip for spring or fall, but don’t go in the summer unless you like 100-degree weather, way too warm for my taste. Here are top 5 things to do in Sedona.
1. Take the Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive
Oak Creek Canyon is just north of Sedona and is a 14-mile drive along Route 89A, a national scenic byway. It’s a breathtaking stretch of winding road that climbs to the top of Mogollon Rim. Aside from enjoying the scenic drive and Oak Creek, be sure to stop at the Slide Rock (swimming and picnic area), hike along the West Fork Oak Creek Trail and check out the Oak Creek Canyon Vista Point. Also stop for lunch at Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market and check out their patio on a nice day.
We actually stumbled upon Oak Canyon by accident driving from Grand Canyon to Sedona. We lucked out to be there at the right time of day (mid-day) and right time of year to see the picturesque forests in fall colors.
2. Enjoy the City of Sedona
Take a stroll through Sedona downtown, visit mesmerizing art galleries, try local cuisine, get healing massage treatments, and check out local wineries for wine tasting. One thing we enjoyed, a lot, was fudge from Sedona Fudge Company. It was so yummy, we went there twice.
On weekends, the town gets crowded and traffic is pretty bad, so plan to get there early to avoid restaurant wait time and find places to park.
3. Hike to Devil’s Bridge
Devil’s Bridge Trail is a 4.2 mile trail to a natural rock bridge with stunning views of the surrounding valley and Red Rock country. Devil’s Bridge is the largest natural sandstone arch located in the Sedona area. Note from Teri: We didn’t do enough research before going on this hike and didn’t realize how steep it would be. Come ready with hiking shoes, water and sun protection.
4. Watch an Arizona Sunset
Arizona is famous for its sunrises and sunsets – the dramatic colors of orange, blood red and hot pinks are a common occurrence. Science attributes these to dry air (moisture diffuses light) and high-level storm systems. We decided to watch the sunset off Airport Road from the Sedona View Trail and Sedona Airport Vortex rock that soar above Sedona.
Note: if you choose to take this hike for sunset, remember that you’ll have to get back to the car in the dark, through pitch black wilderness hiking trail. So, don’t read about all the dangers of Arizona wild animals that morning :-).
5. Explore Cathedral Rock Area
One of the most popular hike areas is the Cathedral Rock Trail, it’s not the easiest hike, but definitely worth it. Check out the Crescent Moon Picnic Area for the view of Cathedral Rock and its reflections in Oak Creek. The best time is to come in the late afternoon before sunset, to see the Fire Mountain glow.
Extras: Take a Day Trip from Sedona
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