Altitude: 1,451 meters above sea level
Location: in the middle of Arizona between Flagstaff and Phoenix
The beautiful artist town of Sedona is located in the center of the picturesque Red Rock Country, whose cinematic landscape is characterized by a unique mixture of desert, striking red rock formations and the cool, wooded gorge of Oak Creek Canyon. After a leisurely stroll through the city's many galleries and handicraft shops and a visit to the artists' village of Tlaquepaque, you should definitely take the time to explore the beautiful rock and canyon landscape around Sedona a bit more closely on a hike. Particularly worthwhile destinations are the West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon and the natural stone arch Devils Bridge.
The story of Sedona
The first signs of settlement in Oak Creek Canyon go back to the Hohokam and Sinagua Indians, who grew corn, beans and pumpkins in the fertile river valley. White settlers did not reach the area until the late 19th century. The name Sedona dates back to 1902 when a man named Theodore Schnebly opened a post office at the entrance to Oak Creek Canyon and named it after his wife Sedona. At that time the place only had 155 inhabitants. Sedona gained notoriety in the 1940s and 1950s when the rocky landscape around the town became the setting for several successful Hollywood westerns. In the 1960s and 1970s, Sedona finally developed into a lively artist and tourist destination and a popular local recreation area for the residents of the Phoenix to the south. The place experienced another boom in the early 1980s, when pioneers of the New Age movement explored the area around Sedona and discovered several spiritual power centers. Although this movement has now subsided a bit, Sedona still has numerous New Age shops and providers of so-called vortex tours.
Red Rock Pass (Day-Use Ticket)
Much of the beautiful landscape around Sedona is part of the Red Rock Country of the National Forest. If you want to park, picnic, hike or camp in this area, you have to acquire a so-called 'Red Rock Pass' and place it on the windshield in front of the vehicle. Otherwise you run the risk of being towed away. At which parking lots, trailheads and viewpoints this Red Rock Pass is necessary can be found on the respective information boards. Essentially, these are the areas to the right and left of Highway 179 (Red Rock Scenic Byway) from Village of Oak Creek in the south to the confluence of Chapel Road in Sedona and the area along Highway 89A through Oak Creek Canyon from Sedona to Bootlegger Picnic area. The pass can be purchased either at self-pay machines on site or at the visitor centers listed below. You can choose between a day pass, a 7-day pass or an annual pass. Website with current information about the Red Rock Pass
Red Rock Scenic Byway & nbsp
The Red Rock Scenic Byway is an 11 mile stretch of Hwy 179 that traverses the beautiful rocky landscape south of Sedona. If you are coming from the south, the first stop is the Red Rock Ranger District Visitor Center one mile south of the Village of Oak Creek. In this nicely designed visitor center you can get not only the Red Rock Pass but also competent information about the various recreational opportunities and hiking trails around Sedona. Immediately afterwards, Hwy 179 passes through the Village of Oak Creek, a kind of suburb of Sedona with restaurants, cafes, galleries, lodges and spas. To the north of it begins the most beautiful stretch through the landscape of the Red Rock Country, dominated by green, wooded mesas and red rocks, with the striking rock groups Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte and Cathedral Rock. On the way there are numerous viewpoints and trailheads on both sides of the two divided highway, from which you can explore the landscape more closely on foot or by bike (Red Rock Pass required!). A stop at the Little Horse Trailhead is particularly worthwhile. If you follow this path a short distance, you have a beautiful view of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. To the north of Hwy 179, the Back of Beyond Road branches off to the west. After 1.2 miles you reach the trailhead for the strenuous, steep hike to the rock pillars of Cathedral Rock (see hikes).
& nbsp Map of Red Rock Scenic Byway & nbsp (Internet link National Forest Service)
Chapel of the Holy Cross
780 Chapel Road, Sedona, AZ 86336, Tel. 928-282-4069
Location: in the southern urban area of Sedona at the end of Chapel Road (0.8 miles east from Hwy 179)
The futuristic-looking church, the front of which opens in a 30-meter-high cross, together with the surrounding red rocks forms a modern work of art - created in 1956 by Marguerite Brunswig Staude in memory of her parents. Unfortunately, the small parking lot below the church is usually already overcrowded in the late morning, so that a long backlog with endless waiting times quickly forms along the access road. Since the inside of the church is not particularly worth seeing, you can save yourself the detour or you can walk up to the church. Internet: www.chapeloftheholycross.com/
Hillside Sedona Shopping Center
671 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86336
Location: 0.6 miles south of the intersection of Hwy 179 and Hwy 89A on Hwy 179
Nicely designed shopping center on a hill above Highway 179 with numerous handicraft shops and galleries, a café, an Irish pub and an inexpensive Mexican restaurant .. Internet: www.hillsidesedona.net/
Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village & nbsp
336 State Route 179 Sedona AZ
Location: 0.3 miles south of the intersection of Hwy 179 and Hwy 89A on Hwy 179
Tlaquepaque (spoken: Tla-keh-pah-keh) is an artists' quarter in the heart of Sedona, which was built in the 1970s in the style of a Mexican town and is now one of Sedona's main attractions. Generously laid out plazas with colorful flowers, shady sycamore trees and babbling fountains, in between a tangle of narrow alleys with cozy street cafes, art galleries and restaurants - Tlaquepaque is a place that invites you to linger and enjoy life. Also worth seeing is the Mexican chapel with its white adobe walls, stained glass windows and the mural above the altar. Shop opening times: daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Parking is available. Internet: www.tlaq.com/.
Location: on Hwy 89A north of the intersection of Hwy 179 and Hwy 89A
If you turn north at the intersection of Hwy 179 and 89A in the center of Sedona towards Oak Creek Canyon, you arrive in the lively tourist district of Uptown Sedona. Here you will find numerous souvenir shops, restaurants and lodges as well as the offices of the local tour operators to the right and left of Highway 89A. Information can be obtained from the Sedona Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center. This is located 0.3 miles north of the intersection on the west side of Hwy 89A and is open daily from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (address: 331 Forest Rd Sedona, AZ 86336).
Sedona Heritage Museum
735 Jordan Road, Sedona, AZ 86336 at Jordan Historical Park, Tel. 928-282-7038
Location: north of Uptown Sedona, less than 1 mile north of the intersection of Hwy 179 and Hwy 89A
The museum, housed in a former farmhouse, is dedicated to the history of Sedona. The park includes an orchard, a flower garden and a picnic area. Opening hours: daily 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Internet: sedonamuseum.org/
Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock State Park & nbsp
If you drive north from Uptown Sedona on Hwy 179 towards Flagstaff, you come to the picturesque Oak Creek Canyon with beautiful swimming areas, picnic areas and simple National Forest campsites in the woods. Here you will also find one of the most beautiful trails in the Sedona area, the West Fork Oak Creek Trail (see Hikes). For longer stays and stops in the southern area of the canyon to the Bootlegger Picnic Area you need a Red Rock Pass, which you can get either at the on-site parking lot or in Uptown Sedona at the Sedona Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center (see above).
A nice first stop is Grashopper Point, a large natural pool at the foot of a red sandstone cliff where you can swim and jump off the cliffs. Since the spot is mainly known and loved by the locals, it is best to come here early in the morning and avoid the weekends.
Slightly further north is Slide Rock State Park. Here, rocks smoothed by the water form a whole series of natural water slides, which you can use to get from one water basin to the next - a lot of fun for children and adults. You can sunbathe on the rock terraces above the stream. Since Slide Rock State Park is also very popular, you should avoid the weekends here (address: 6871 Arizona 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336). The state park is chargeable and open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day, thereafter shorter (additional opening times and prices on the website). The Red Rock Pass is not valid here! Internet: https://azstateparks.com/slide-rock/
Sedona Airport Overlook & nbsp
Location: south of Hwy 89A to the west of Sedona
The Sedona Airport Overlook is a popular, but also very crowded sunset spot with a beautiful view of the Red Rock Country south of Sedona with the striking rock groups Elephant Butte & Two Nuns, Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock. Access: from the intersection of Hwy 179 and Hwy 89A on Hwy 89A 1 mile west, then turn left on Airport Road (1 mile to viewpoint).
Crescent Moon Picnic Area (Red Rock Crossing) & nbsp
The Crescent Moon Picnic Area is located on the Red Rock Loop, a 10 mile scenic road that branches south off Hwy 89A 4.5 miles west of downtown Sedona and rejoins it a little further west. Immediately after this junction there are some beautiful viewpoints of the Cathedral Rock and Courthouse Butte to the east, before it goes back down from the height to the wooded river bank of Oak Creek.
The Crescent Moon Picnic Area can be reached by turning left from the Red Rock Loop after 1.8 miles onto Chavez Ranch Road and then immediately right again onto Red Rock Crossing Road. The Picnic Area itself is actually a large, former ranch area with a large meadow, which is mainly used for local recreation. Due to the rather high admission price (the Red Rock Pass is not valid here!), A visit is mainly worthwhile because of the beautiful photo opportunities that are offered here from the banks of Oak Creek to Cathedral Rock. The group of rocks reflected in the water is one of the most popular sunset spots in the Sedona area with photographers. You can find the place by going from the second parking lot to the right and then a little further down the river. A short hike up the river along the riverside path is also nice. Internet: www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recreation/recarea/?recid=55286&actid=70
The Oak Creek riverside opposite the Crescent Moon Picnic Area can be reached from Hwy 179 south of Sedona via Verde Valley School Road, which branches off to the west in the center of the Village of Oak Creek. This road ends after 4.8 miles at Baldwin Trailhead, where you park your vehicle and then walk the remaining 500 meters to the banks of Oak Creek. The view of Cathedral Rock from here is a little less spectacular, but free.
Red Rock State Park
4050 Red Rock Loop Road, Sedona, AZ 86336, Tel. 928-282-6907
Location: on Lower Red Rock Loop Road west of Sedona
From the Crescent Moon Picnic Site, drive back onto Red Rock Loop Road and follow it 2.3 miles west. Here, turn south onto a 0.8 mile spur road that ends at the Red Rock State Park Visitor Center. From here you can explore the beautiful river valley of Oak Creek, which is home to over 150 species of birds, on various hiking trails. Those who are more interested can take part in an ornithological hike led by rangers at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In order not to disturb the delicate ecosystem, fishing and swimming is not allowed in Red Rock State Park. There are picnic areas, but no overnight accommodation. Park opening hours: daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Visitor Center 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Internet: azstateparks.com/red-rock/
& nbsp Map Red Rock State Park & nbsp (Internet link original map of Arizona State Parks)
Palatki Ruins and Honanki Ruins & nbsp
Location: 17 miles northwest of Sedona
The two small but very interesting ruins of the Sinagua culture date from the time between 1150 and 1350 AD. Their names go back to the archaeologist Dr. Jesse Walter Fewkes, who explored the area at the beginning of the 20th century and gave the settlements names from the Hopi language (even if these have nothing to do with the places). According to this, Palatki means 'Red House' and Honanki means 'House of the Badger'. Both locations are administered by the U.S. Forest Service, which also has a small visitor center at the entrance to the Palatki Ruin Site. A Red Rock Pass, which is valid for one day at a time, is required for the visit.
To get to the Palatki Ruin Site, travel west from Sedona on US 89A. About 5 miles after the last traffic light, turn right (north) after Milemarker 365 onto the unpaved Forest Road 525 and follow this wide gravel road for 5 miles. At the point where the FR 525 curves to the left, continue straight ahead and follow the slightly narrower Forest Road 795 for 2 miles to the parking lot. From here a short walk leads to the visitor center, where you can purchase the Red Rock Pass and sign up for one of the guided tours. These last about an hour, with the ruins being visited first, then a somewhat secluded rock grotto with rock paintings. A visit on your own is not possible. You should also pay attention to the opening times, because the visitor center does not open until 9.30 a.m. and closes at 3 p.m. The last tour starts at 2 p.m.!
The Honanki Ruins are very similar to the Palatki Ruin Site. Here, too, the remains of the wall are protected under a large ledge. The Honanki Ruins can be reached by driving back 2 miles from Palatki to Forest Road 525 and then turning right onto it. From here it is another 4.5 miles on the FR 525 to the ruins (or 9.5 miles from Hwy 89A). There is no guided tour here, i.e. you can visit the remains of the small rock pueblos with a valid Red Rock Pass on your own. Opening hours: 9.30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
V-Bar-V Heritage Site & nbsp
6750 N Forest Ranger Rd, Rimrock, AZ 86335, Tel. 928-592-0998
Location: 17.5 miles southeast of Sedona
The very well-preserved Rock Art Site was once located on the grounds of the V Bar V Ranch and was only opened in 1994 by the U.S. Forest Service taken over. In a shady spot not far from Beaver Creek, protected by tall trees, lies a several-meter-high wall of dark red sandstone rocks with over 1000 symbols carved into the surface. These petroglyphs in the so-called Beaver Creek Style come from the Sinagua, who populated the area from 1150 to 1450. In addition to geometric symbols, there are also representations of people and animal figures such as snakes, turtles, antelopes, deer and coyotes.
How to get there: Coming from I-17, take exit 298 (Sedona Exit), but do not drive west towards Sedona, but in exactly the opposite direction on FR 618 east. This little road crosses Beaver Creek and ends after 2.5 miles at a parking lot. From here it is only a short walk down to the Forest Service Visitor Center, where you can purchase the Red Rock Pass necessary for the tour. A 0.5 mile level footpath leads from here along the tree-lined banks of Beaver Creek to the petroglyphs. A ranger on site will explain the history of the place and the meaning of the individual symbols on request.
Sedona walks and trails
A very good overview of all the trails in the Red Rock Country around Sedona can be found online at www.sedonaredrocktrails.org. In addition to good overview maps, this page also offers detailed descriptions of the individual hiking trails.
Cathedral Rock Trail & nbsp
Distance: 0.7 miles one-way
Difference in altitude: 182 meters
Trailhead: south of Sedona from Hwy 179 on Back of Beyond Rd 0.6 miles to the west (Red Rock Pass required!)
The striking Cathedral Rock is the undisputed landmark of Sedona. Difficult and very strenuous, however, is the hike that leads up the northeast side of Cathedral Rock to a saddle between the central and northern rock piers. The middle section of the trail is particularly challenging, because here you have to climb directly up to the slick rock cliffs. To make things easier, narrow kicks were carved into the rock in some places. In any case, you need footwear with a well-adhering profile! Since the parking lot at the trailhead fills up quickly and most of the path is directly exposed to the sun, you should start the hike as early as possible in the morning.
Devil's Bridge Trail # 120 & nbsp
Distance: 2 miles one-way
Difference in altitude: 120 meters
From the intersection of Hwy 89A / 179, travel west on Hwy 89A for 3 miles and then turn right (north) onto Dry Creek Road. After another 2 miles you will come to a large parking lot, the Devils Creek Vista Trailhead. Here you park your vehicle, because the further path on the unpaved FR 152 branching off to the right to the official Devils Bridge TH is a designated and very demanding 4WD road with many high rock steps. From the parking lot you now walk on this dirt road in a slight up and down direction northeast until you reach Devils Bridge TH after 1.3 miles. Here a narrow footpath branches off to the right towards Devils Bridge. At first the path crosses a light pine and juniper forest in a gentle ascent, but then climbs increasingly steeply uphill and then reaches a kind of viewing platform with a great view of the natural stone arch over many steep and strenuous rock steps. Since the Devils Bridge is still relatively thick and wide even at its narrowest point, you can walk over the stone bridge without hesitation. On the way back, it is worth taking a short detour to the right to the lower end of the stone arch with a beautiful view upwards.
West Fork Oak Creek Trail & nbsp
Trailhead: in Oak Creek Canyon 10 miles north of Sedona on Hwy 89A between Milepost 384 and 385 (parking is chargeable, you also have to purchase the Red Rock Pass)
Distance: 3 miles one-way (expandable to 14 miles)
Difference in altitude: low (the path always follows the creek bed)
From the parking lot you first cross a meadow with fruit trees. Behind it begins the narrow hiking trail through the shady, wooded West Fork Canyon, which is flanked again and again on both sides by high dark red or light sandstone cliffs. This shady hike is particularly beautiful in midsummer, when many wildflowers are in bloom, butterflies and dragonflies are buzzing through the air and you can take a short, refreshing foot bath when you switch from one side of the stream to the other.
After a total of 3 miles, the path climbs steeply up the canyon wall and then drops off just as steeply. This is where the official trail ends at a 50-meter-long rock tunnel that is open to the top and is a little reminiscent of the subway in Zion National Park. If you fancy a longer hike, you can go even further from here, partly on the bank, partly in the streambed itself. While the first part of the trail is heavily frequented, especially in summer, this somewhat more remote part of the West Fork Canyon is mostly entirely for yourself. If you like, you can even camp on the way.
Sedona Air Tours offers open-top biplane and helicopter tours, free information and reservations at 1-888-866-7433. Airport Address: 1225 Airport Road # 14 Sedona, Uptown Office: 250 N State Route 89A, Sedona. The starting point for all sightseeing flights is the small Sedona Airport (access: turn off Hwy 89A West onto Airport Road).
Jeep rental and jeep tours
Numerous interesting jeep routes open up the fantastic Red Rock Country around Sedona. One of the most beautiful routes is undoubtedly the Schnebly Hill Road, which branches off ½ mile south of the city center from US 179 to the east. The road leads in many switchbacks up to the Mogollon Rim with beautiful panoramic views of Sedona and the Oak Creek Canyon. After a total of 11½ miles you will reach Exit 320 on I-40.
Wrangler jeeps for these and many other excursions can be rented on a daily basis from several tour operators. MYE Jeep Rentals rents Wrangler Jeeps and special Jeep campers on a daily basis for tours lasting several days (minimum rental period 3 days). You also get an iPad with all the trail descriptions. Address: 6020 AZ-179, Sedona, AZ 86351, Tel. 928-451-2401.
Sedona Jeep Rentals / Barlow Adventures rents Rubicon Jeeps and offers guided multi-day jeep excursions as well as off-road training. Address: Barlow Adventures, 3009 W Hwy 89A, Sedona AZ 86336, Tel. 928-282-8700. Rubicon Jeeps are also rented out by Red Rock Rubicon Jeep Rentals, 55 Shelby Drive A-10, Sedona AZ 86336, Tel. 928-554-1988. Sedona Jeep Tours runs guided jeep tours. Address: 2900 West State Route 89A, Sedona AZ 86336, Tel. 928-282-7971.
Sedona Arts Festival
2-day arts festival with over 120 participating artists on the Sedona Red Rock High School campus, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road.
A large selection of standard chain motels and bed and breakfast accommodation can be found along Hwy 89A west of Sedona, with a few more on Hwy 179 in Uptown Sedona. Accommodation options are even greater at Oak Creek Village, 7 miles south of Hwy 89A / 179. You can spend the night here at 'The Views Inn Sedona', 65 East Cortez Drive, Sedona, AZ 86351, Tel. 928-284-2487, well and relatively cheaply. The motel offers laundry machines, an outdoor pool, spa and free WiFi. Also recommended, but a little more expensive, is the Bell Rock Inn in Oak Creek Village with 2 outdoor pools, jacuzzi, washing machines and WiFi, 6246 State Route 179, Sedona, Arizona, 86351, Tel. 1-800-438-2929. In Sedona, you should reserve accommodations as early as possible.
Rancho Sedona RV Park
135 Bear Wallow Lane, Sedona, AZ 86336, Tel. 1-888-641-4261
Access: 0.3 miles south of the intersection of Hwy 89A / 179, turn east off Hwy 179 on Schnebly Hill Road, then left on Bear Wallow Lane
Number of places: 60 RV sites (54 with full hookup), many permanent campers
Equipment: showers, washing machines, wifi
Opening time: all year round
There are several National Forest Campgrounds in the wooded Oak Creek Canyon. However, they are all right on the busy street and are therefore very noisy even at night. Most recommendable here is the spacious Cave Spring Campground, which also has somewhat more secluded and quieter pitches. Here is the list of NF campgrounds from south to north.
Access: 6 miles north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon
Altitude: 1,460 meters above sea level
Number of places: 18 tent places (in the forest, partly on the river), no mobile homes!
Equipment: picnic tables, grills, single toilets, fresh water
Opening time: all year round
Reservations via tel. 1-877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov
Cave Spring Campground
Access: 12 miles north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon (Hwy 89A)
Altitude: 1,672 meters above sea level
Number of places: 82 (all in the forest, several loops)
Equipment: picnic tables, grills, single toilets, fresh water, paid showers
Opening time: late March to mid-November
Reservations via tel. 1-877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov
Pine Flat Campground
Access: 13 miles north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon (Hwy 89A)
Altitude: 1,672 meters above sea level
Number of seats: 5 (all in the forest, some on the banks of Oak Creek)
Equipment: picnic tables, grills, single toilets, fresh water
Opening time: from the end of March to the end of October
Reservations via tel. 1-877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov
There are a total of three visitor centers where you can get information, brochures and the Red Rock Pass. Relatively new is the Visitor Contact Center just south of Oak Creek Village on Hwy 179 (address: 8375 State Route 179, Sedona). There is also the Sedona Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center in Uptown Sedona on Hwy 179, 331 Forest Road, Sedona, AZ 86336, Tel. 928-282-7722. It is open daily from 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. At the north end of Oak Creek Canyon is the Oak Creek Canyon Vista Gateway.
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