Sedona is known for its breathtaking red rock buttes, impressive canyons, and abundant pine trees. It’s about 30 miles from Flagstaff and 50 miles from Prescott, Arizona. We’ve had the opportunity to visit this beautiful destination twice now for extended weekend trips, and we still feel like we have only scratched the surface on all there is to see and do. We are by no means experts on the destination, but here is our guide on what we’ve explored so far as well as places we’ve heard great reviews about and hope to explore someday!
Places to Stay
We’ve only stayed in two different places but we loved our experiences at both!
The first place we stayed at, my mom rented off VRBO and Jordan and I stayed there with my parents and my brother and his girlfriend. The townhome slept 6 and had two master bedrooms, 2 fulls baths, 1 half bath, a full kitchen and a beautiful patio.
The second location we stayed at, Jordan and I rented for just the two of us and we brought both of our pups along. It was a large, private casita type room, attached to a big house in a neighborhood with stunning views of the red rocks. We rented it off AirBNB but it’s available to book on VRBO as well as Booking.com. It was very dog friendly and we saw many other dogs on walks through the neighborhood, so we didn’t feel like we were a burden to the people who live there year-round.
Sedona is definitely a hikers paradise and its trails are what the area is most well known for. There’s a handful of trails we’ve explored and so many more left on our list that we hope to check off someday soon.
6.5 miles – Out & Back
564 ft. elevation gain
This hike takes you through the beautiful green wilderness of the Coconino National Forest via the West Fork Trail. The trail eventually takes you through a canyon with a running creek that feels a bit like a smaller version of the Narrows in Zion National Park. Once you reach the water, you can explore back as far as you’d like and then turn back on the same trail you came. The unmaintained portion of the trail actually runs 11 miles upstream through the creek. There is a $9 parking few at the trailhead.
4.5 miles – Loop
839 ft. elevation gain
This 4.5 mile loop takes you on a scenic journey with gorgeous views of red rock formations throughout. About a quarter of a mile in, you’ll arrive at a landmark called, Devil’s Kitchen; a massive sinkhole that formed in the 1880’s. Next you’ll hike past the 7 Sacred Pools, which were unfortunately dried up when we visited in the summer, but still beautiful. The trail eventually leads you to the Soldiers Pass Cave, where if you’re brave and athletic enough, you can climb up inside it. The trailhead is located in a neighboorhood with limited parking and no fee to get in. However, by limited parking I mean only 14 spots are available. The gate is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and we read online beforehand that it’s recommended to get there early before 8 to secure your spot. We ended up being the second car in and parked with ease (cruelly laughing at cars 15 and on who we’re not as prepared and fortunate as we were).
1.2 miles – Out & back
741 ft. elevation gain
Don’t let the 1.2 miles round-trip fool you, this hike was no small feat. The trail is a short but steep ascent to reach the incredible views at the top. If you’re brave enough, walk a bit further to the right of where the trail ends and get your picture taken at the breathtaking overlook featured in these pictures.
4.2 miles – out & back
521 ft. elevation gain
This trail is only two miles out and back if you have an off road vehicle but 4.2 miles if you don’t. The last part of this trail kicked our butts, but the view at the end was well worth it. Luckily when we visited, the line to get your picture taken on Devil’s Bridge was non existent, but we did read that normally there is a long wait time just to get that perfect shot up on the bridge.
Other hikes on our list:
We visited Sedona for a second time last summer and we were hoping to cross these hikes off our list. Unfortunately, all the trails were closed due to a fire. If you are planning a trip to Sedona, definitely research these trails too!
Boynton Canyon & the Subway Cave
Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock Loop
Things to Do
If you aren’t an avid hiker or are looking to explore a few additional places besides the trails, here are a few of our favorite suggestions.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
The Chapel of the Holy Cross was commissioned by sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Straude. In 1932 she was inspired to build a church. Straude originally attempted to do this in Budapest, Hungary with the help of architect, Lloyd Wright, but due to World Was II, the project was never completed. She then decided to build the church in her home town of Arizona instead. The chapel was completed in 1956 with Richard Hein as her choose architect for the project. Today, its a top rated attraction for visitors to see.
Crescent Moon Picnic Site
This was the perfect place to cool off for a bit after a long morning of hiking. It’s a very popular hang out spot for families and friends during the summer. months. I must warn though, I did freak out moments after this photo was taken because a big crawdad was about an inch from my face. Then, as I freaked out someone found a snake in the water, thus allowing me to freak out more. Nope, nope, nope. I’m out.
Sedona Dog Park
I wouldn’t really call this a top attraction or anything but it definitely became one for us when we visited during the wild fires. We traveled with two dogs and everything we planned to do was closed. This dog park was one of the only things to do besides eating at restaurants. We took them there quite often to get energy out before making them sit at a brewery and they absolutely loved it. And hey, the views from the park weren’t so bad on the eyes.
Other places we’d like to explore:
Red Rock Crossing
The Crack at Wet Beaver Creek
Slide Rock State Park
Grasshopper Point Picnic Area
Sedona Jeep Tours
Eat & Drink
We usually go the route of spending as little as possible on food when we travel and aren’t foodie connoisseurs in the slightest, but we do love a good brewery and Sedona Beer Company, Sedona Pizza Company and Oak Creek Brewery were our go to’s.
Sedona Beer Company
Sedona Pizza Company
Oak Creek Brewery
Sedona really is such a unique and beautiful destination and we hope to go back again soon and explore more of it. Hopefully this guide provided a little insight and inspritation for you to start planing your next adventure.
As always, travel on my friends.