Almost everyone who has heard of the state of Arizona in the United States immediately thinks of the Grand Canyon. While that natural world wonder is impressive and worth a visit, Sedona often gets overlooked, a sad mistake.
The Red Rock Country is located in the high desert of northern Arizona. Once a popular site for New Agers and self-styled hippies, Sedona has evolved into a land filled with resorts, condominiums, and time shares but retains small-town charm and offers something for various budgets.
It is a popular place to visit for people of all ages. Not only is its beauty alluring, but it is in fairly close proximity to the Grand Canyon and the much larger city of Phoenix.
This beautiful town is surrounded by stunning red rock stone formations, and just a few miles away you can find yourself hiking next to a stream in a piñon pine forest. As it was once an area inhabited by indigenous people, there are also several well-preserved ruins within a very short drive. The Palatki Ruins are just outside of Sedona. They do not receive a lot of visits, so groups are small and you have great access to the rangers and naturalists for historical background on the information.
There are numerous places to hike within the town limits as well as in nearby Cottonwood Creek. With so many fantastic options, it’s hard to go wrong with any choice of trails. You can easily find hikes that are flat enough that small children will have no problems all the way up to climbing the sheer side of a massive rock structure. Many are appropriate for riding horses or mountain biking as well. One of the most popular trails is the Bell Rock Pathway.
My favorite hike outside of Sedona is West Fork Oak Creek . It has gorgeous scenery and is a fairly easy hike for people (although there are numerous water crossings where you have to walk over small stones or felled trees). As you walk along the creek, you are surrounded by majestic cliffs and tall pine trees. During the summer it is a very comfortable hike because of the amount of shade, but even in early spring it is quite pleasant.
There are several affordable restaurants serving up wonderful dishes, but one of my favorites is in nearby Cornville: The Grasshopper Grill. It is a combined restaurant and sports lounge with a lovely small-town Western ambiance. Make sure to bring your appetite, though, as portions are huge.
To end your day of touring, head up to the airport. Signs point you in the direction for the best views of the sun’s descent behind the rustic red canyons. Make sure to bring your camera, because you won’t want to miss these shots.
Sedona is one of those places where you could easily spend weeks and not want to leave, but it’s still very doable to experience some of its best sights within 2-3 days.
Have you been to Sedona? What was your favorite activity or place to stay?