This area is every hiker’s paradise! Trails traverse the entire area, and typically are free, except to occasionally pay for parking. Their climate is mild year round making outdoor activities possible any time. The city is known for its red sandstone formations and its location at the opening of Oak Creek Canyon makes it a unique weekend getaway. There are tons of outdoor tourist attractions in Sedona, Arizona.
10. Airport Mesa
Located near the airport, this mesa offers visitors spectacular views across the city and the famous red rock formations. This is a favorite viewpoint to watch the colorful sunset. This is among the easiest hiking trails in the area, so less mobile people are still able to enjoy the views. This is a great hike for the whole family. Beginning at the parking lot, follow a 3.5 mile loop footpath to the lookout spot. Many visitors believe there is an energy vortex here making them feel rejuvenated and reenergized after a visit.
9. Sedona Star Gazing
The Sedona Star Gazing company tour is one of the best things to do in Sedona, Arizona. Professional astronomers will explain the constellations you can see and the story behind how they were named and used by ancient civilizations. After a general night sky overview you will be able to get a closer look through one of their high powered telescopes. Tour groups are kept under 12 people each to ensure each experience is personal. They provide chairs, blankets, and when the weather is cold parkas. The star gazing experience is educational and mesmerizing, and can be a romantic date night.
8. West Fork Oak Creek Trail
West Fork is a favorite trail in Coconino National Forest. This hiking trail, does not offer the classic red rock views of Sedona, but that makes it unique and sets it apart from other hikes around Sedona. This trail takes you into the bottom of a 1,000 foot canyon. You do have to cross a small creek several times; if you have trekking poles it is easier to cross the stepping stones. The steep canyon walls and vegetation make this a relatively well shaded hike. The relatively easy, flat footpath has mile markers for the first 3 miles every half mile, at which point most people turn back. However, more experienced hikers may want to continue onward, the trail will no longer be marked, but the crowds will be significantly reduced.
7. Devil’s Bridge Trail
There are several natural sandstone arches in Sedona, but this is the largest and most impressive. A great spot for pictures, this red rock area has been attracting visitors for hundreds of years. Round trip Devil’s Bridge Trail is just under a two mile hike with an easy 400 foot elevation gain. The pathway will split about three quarters of a mile in, one path will take you directly under the bridge, and the other will take you across the bridge. If you choose to walk across the bridge, as many people have, please use caution.
6. Broken Arrow Trail
This popular trail is used by hikers and four wheel drive vehicles. It is common to see Pink Jeep Tours rolling down the wide pathway, and they are a great way to see the panoramic views offered by this trail, but it can also be completed on foot. Several prominent rock formations can be seen from the pathway. Exceptional views of Submarine Rock and unparalleled sights from Chicken Point offer spectacular photo opportunities. The path also takes you to the Devil’s Dining Room. This natural sinkhole is about 25 feet across and so deep you cannot see the bottom.
5. Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek Canyon attracts visitors for several different reasons. For those wanting to stay within the comfort of their car, this scenic drive is rated among the top five scenic drives across the United States. The twisting road offers breathtaking views and plenty of spots to pull over to take in the view points. Drive carefully through here, the twists and turns are sharp. Hiking is another option within the canyon. There are several different trails through the 16 mile long gorge. A favorite for visitors is an area known as slide rock. Put your swim suits on and cool off on this natural slide area and pool.
4. Bell Rock
Named for its bell like shape, this distinctive spot it a great option for any level hiker. Walking toward the bell’s base is relatively flat, and you can decide how far you want to go. It is not a loop, so when you reach your max difficulty you can turn around. Experienced climbers can make it to the top of the spires, so don’t be shocked to see people wandering around the top of the bell. Views from the summit are spectacular, but only experienced climbers should attempt the climb.
3. Chapel of the Holy Cross
This chapel is built into the famous red sandstone of Sedona. The chapel has an excellent vantage point for breathtaking views. The architecture combined with the natural beauty of the area is spectacular. Built in 1956, the Catholic chapel keeps its doors open for everyone. There is a gift shop below the chapel with great souvenirs made using native stones found around the area. The scenes from the chapel are remarkable especially during sunset. The parking lot is below the chapel, so there is a steep walk toward the top, but it is manageable. There are a few spots at the chapel for the legally handicapped. Volunteers are onsite to help with parking.
2. Red Rock Scenic Byway
This scenic byway is only seven and a half miles long, but it packs a lot into the short drive. Offering stunning views from start to finish and at every turn; you won’t want to miss this while visiting the city. Stop at the Forest Visitor Center to get a map of hikes in Sedona. Next stop on the byway is the enchanting Village of Oak Creek. Cute shops and cafes line the roadway and are fun to explore with friends. The charming village is fun to wander around and stretch your legs. They also have three golf courses, and great trails for some bike riding. Continue down the byway for enchanting panoramic area views.
1. Cathedral Rock
Cathedral Rock is the most well-known and photographed site in Arizona. The climb toward the three gaps, called saddles, carved into the sandstone is short, but very steep, and can be difficult for those not in peak physical condition. The hike from the trailhead and back is only one and a half miles with a 600 foot elevation gain. Today steps are carved into the rock, but can you imagine trying to climb this without the steps? This is considered to be the strongest vortex in the area, and therefore the most rejuvenating once you huff and puff your way to the saddles. If you can persevere and make it to the cathedral you will not be disappointed.
There are more ways than your feet to enjoy many of these hikes. Several off road jeep companies will take you for a tour in the back of a jeep. A jeep ride is an exhilarating way to experience the natural beauty here, and kids love to bounce over the terrain in a giant jeep. The outdoor enthusiast will fall in love with many places to visit in Sedona, Arizona.