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Sedona’s BEST Things To Do


by Tabitha Houle


Hiking Trails in Sedona

Sedona, with its stunning red rock formations, offers a variety of hiking trails that cater to all levels of hiking enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a trail in Sedona that will provide breathtaking views and a memorable experience. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Sedona:

  1. Bell Rock Pathway: This moderate trail is perfect for beginners and offers incredible views of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. The trail is well-maintained and features stunning red rock formations along the way.
  2. Cathedral Rock Trail: This challenging trail rewards hikers with panoramic views of Sedona. The steep ascent requires some scrambling, but the stunning vistas from the top are well worth the effort.
  3. Devil’s Bridge Trail: Known for its iconic natural bridge formation, Devil’s Bridge Trail is a popular choice for adventure seekers. The trail is moderately difficult, with some steep sections, but the reward of walking on the natural sandstone bridge is unmatched.
  4. West Fork Trail: For a more leisurely and picturesque hike, the West Fork Trail is a must-visit. The trail takes you through a scenic canyon alongside Oak Creek, with vibrant fall foliage and towering red cliffs surrounding you.
  5. Soldier Pass Trail: This trail is known for its unique features, including the Seven Sacred Pools and the Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole. The moderate difficulty level and stunning views make it a favorite among hikers.

Remember to bring plenty of water, wear appropriate hiking shoes, and be prepared for changing weather conditions. It’s also essential to stay on the designated trails and follow Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the natural beauty of Sedona.


Visit the Red Rock State Park

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Sedona, a visit to Red Rock State Park is a must. This 286-acre nature preserve is renowned for its stunning red rock formations, lush green meadows, and abundant wildlife. Here are some highlights of what you can experience at Red Rock State Park:


1. Guided Nature Walks: Explore the park’s trails with experienced guides who will share their knowledge of the area’s geology, flora, and fauna. Learn about the unique ecosystems and discover hidden gems along the way.


2. Picnic Areas: Take a break from hiking and enjoy a leisurely picnic surrounded by the scenic beauty of the park. There are designated picnic areas equipped with tables and grills where you can relax and soak in the tranquility.


3. Birdwatching: Red Rock State Park is a haven for bird enthusiasts. Bring your binoculars and look out for a variety of bird species, including hawks, eagles, herons, and hummingbirds. The park’s diverse habitats make it an ideal spot for birdwatching year-round.


4. Fishing: The park is home to Oak Creek, a picturesque stream that provides opportunities for catch-and-release fishing. Spend a peaceful afternoon casting your line and enjoying the serene surroundings.


5. Educational Programs: Red Rock State Park offers educational programs for visitors of all ages. From nature workshops and wildlife presentations to stargazing events, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and engage with the natural wonders of the park.


6. Wildlife Viewing: Keep your eyes peeled for the diverse wildlife that calls the park home. You may spot deer, javelinas, bobcats, and even a rare glimpse of the elusive mountain lions that roam the area.


7. Photography: With its breathtaking vistas, Red Rock State Park is a paradise for photographers. Capture the vibrant colors of the rock formations, the play of light and shadow, and the contrasting landscapes that make Sedona so unique.


Remember to check the park’s website for any updates, including trail closures or events. Red Rock State Park offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Sedona’s red rock landscapes.


Explore the Chapel of the Holy Cross

Perched atop a red rock butte with stunning panoramic views of Sedona’s natural wonders, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a must-visit for both spiritual seekers and architecture enthusiasts. Here’s what makes the Chapel of the Holy Cross such a special place:


1. Architectural Marvel: Designed by renowned architect Marguerite Brunswig Staude, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a masterpiece of modern architecture. Built in the 1950s, the chapel seamlessly blends with its natural surroundings, hugging the red rocks and appearing as an extension of the landscape.


2. Spiritual Serenity: The chapel provides a serene and peaceful environment for reflection and meditation. Its tranquil interior features floor-to-ceiling windows that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding red rocks, creating a sense of awe and connection with nature.


3. Unique Design Elements: The interior of the chapel is adorned with symbolic religious artwork, including a bronze sculpture of the crucifixion by artist Richard Barth. The combination of art, architecture, and natural beauty creates a truly unique and immersive spiritual experience.


4. Scenic Views: While the chapel itself is a marvel, the panoramic views it offers are equally captivating. From the chapel’s terrace, you can soak in the sweeping vistas of Sedona’s red rock formations, including Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Butte, and Bell Rock. The views are particularly breathtaking during sunrise or sunset.


5. Visitor Center: The Chapel of the Holy Cross features a visitor center where you can learn more about the history, design, and significance of the chapel. The knowledgeable staff can provide insight and answer any questions you may have.


6. Accessibility: The chapel is accessible for people of all faiths and beliefs. It welcomes visitors of different backgrounds, offering a space for personal reflection and a sense of spiritual connection.


7. Gift Shop: Before leaving, be sure to stop by the chapel’s gift shop, which offers a variety of religious and spiritual items, as well as souvenirs to commemorate your visit to this sacred place.


When visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross, remember to be respectful of its spiritual nature and the peacefulness of the environment. Take the time to absorb the beauty of the architecture, enjoy the tranquility, and marvel at the breathtaking views that make this destination truly extraordinary.


Experience the Slide Rock State Park

If you’re looking for a unique and refreshing adventure in Sedona, look no further than Slide Rock State Park. Nestled in scenic Oak Creek Canyon, this picturesque park offers a one-of-a-kind natural waterslide carved into the red rocks. Here’s what you can look forward to when visiting Slide Rock State Park:


1. Slide Rock: The main attraction of the park is a natural water chute formed by the smooth, red rocks of Oak Creek. As the creek rushes over the rocks, it creates a thrilling and exhilarating waterslide experience. Slide down the slippery rocks and plunge into the refreshing pools below. It’s the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day.


2. Swimming Holes: Alongside the slide, there are several natural swimming holes throughout the park. Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of Oak Creek and relax amidst the stunning beauty of the canyon. The water is typically cool and invigorating, providing a welcome respite from the Arizona heat.


3. Picnic Areas: Slide Rock State Park offers picturesque picnic areas where you can relax and enjoy a meal amidst the natural beauty of the canyon. Take advantage of the park’s grills and shaded tables to have a leisurely picnic with family and friends.


4. Hiking Trails: If you’re in the mood for some exploration, the park offers hiking trails that wind through the scenic surroundings. Take a leisurely stroll along the creek or venture on a more challenging trail that offers breathtaking views of the canyon’s cliffs and unique rock formations.


5. Orchard Tour: Slide Rock State Park was once a historic apple farm, and remnants of the orchard can still be seen today. Take a self-guided tour to learn about the park’s agricultural past and explore the remnants of the apple trees that were once harvested here.


6. Photography: The beauty of Slide Rock State Park provides ample opportunities for capturing stunning photographs. Whether you’re capturing the cascading waters, the vibrant colors of the rocks, or the awe-inspiring canyon views, you’re sure to come away with memorable shots.


Remember to bring sunscreen, towels, and proper footwear for navigating the slippery rocks. Slide Rock State Park is a popular destination, so it’s recommended to arrive early to secure a parking spot. Embrace the sense of adventure and enjoy a day of fun and natural beauty at Slide Rock State Park. 

Go on a Jeep Tour of the Red Rocks

For a thrilling and off-road adventure through Sedona’s iconic red rock landscapes, a jeep tour is a must-do experience. Hop aboard a rugged 4×4 vehicle and embark on a guided tour that will take you deep into the heart of Sedona’s mesmerizing red rock formations. Here’s why a jeep tour is an exciting way to explore the Red Rocks:


1. Expert Guides: Jeep tour companies employ knowledgeable and experienced guides who are well-versed in Sedona’s geology, history, and culture. They provide captivating commentary about the area’s unique rock formations, Native American history, and local folklore, enhancing your understanding and appreciation of the landscape.


2. Access to Remote Areas: Jeeps are designed to handle the rugged terrain of Sedona, allowing you to access remote areas and hidden gems that are off-limits to regular vehicles. Traverse bumpy trails, navigate rocky terrain, and venture into canyons, all while enjoying the thrill of an off-road adventure.


3. Spectacular Views: Jeep tours offer stunning panoramic views of Sedona’s red rock formations. Whether it’s the majestic Cathedral Rock, the imposing Bell Rock, or the towering Courthouse Butte, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring vistas that are sure to leave a lasting impression.


4. Photo Opportunities: The stops along the jeep tour route provide ample opportunities for capturing breathtaking photographs. From the unique rock formations to the sweeping landscapes, you’ll have plenty of chances to snap memorable shots of the red rocks and the stunning natural scenery.


5. Cultural Insights: In addition to the geological wonders, jeep tours offer insights into the rich Native American history and culture of the area. Learn about ancient civilizations, their connections to the land, and the sacred sites that still hold significance today.


6. Customizable Experiences: Jeep tours can be customized to cater to individual preferences. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline-pumping ride, a leisurely scenic tour, or a combination of both, jeep tour companies can tailor the experience to meet your desires.


7. Safety and Comfort: Professional jeep tour companies prioritize safety and provide comfortable and well-maintained vehicles. With experienced guides at the wheel, you can relax and enjoy the adventure, knowing that you’re in capable hands.


Embark on a jeep tour of the Red Rocks and get ready for an exhilarating and immersive exploration of Sedona’s natural wonders. The combination of stunning landscapes, expert guides, and the thrill of off-road adventure makes a jeep tour an unforgettable experience.


Discover Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and culture scene of Sedona by visiting the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. This unique shopping and dining destination is designed to resemble an old Mexican village, with its cobblestone streets, arched entryways, and charming courtyards. Here’s why Tlaquepaque is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and those seeking a unique shopping experience:


1. Art Galleries: Tlaquepaque is home to a diverse collection of art galleries showcasing the works of local and international artists. Explore a wide range of artistic styles, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, and photography. Engage with the artists, admire their creations, and perhaps even bring home a unique piece of art as a memento of your visit.


2. Specialty Shops: The village offers a treasure trove of specialty shops where you can find one-of-a-kind handmade items and crafts. Discover unique clothing, accessories, home decor, and souvenirs that are crafted with intricate detail and reflect the beauty and culture of Sedona.


3. Fine Dining: Tlaquepaque features several acclaimed restaurants and cafes where you can indulge in delicious culinary experiences. From traditional Southwest cuisine to international flavors, the dining options cater to diverse palates and offer a memorable culinary journey amidst the enchanting surroundings of the village.


4. Live Performances: Tlaquepaque occasionally hosts live music performances and cultural events, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local music scene and experience the vibrant energy of Sedona’s art community.


5. Outdoor Art Installations: As you explore Tlaquepaque, you’ll encounter captivating outdoor art installations scattered throughout the village. From sculptures to fountains and colorful murals, these artistic creations add another layer of beauty and creativity to the already charming atmosphere.


6. Relaxing Ambiance: The village’s serene and peaceful atmosphere offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Take a leisurely stroll through the cobblestone streets, enjoy the sound of trickling water from the fountains, and find moments of tranquility in the beautifully landscaped courtyards.


7. Festivals and Events: Throughout the year, Tlaquepaque hosts various festivals and events that celebrate art, culture, and community. From art fairs to seasonal celebrations, these events offer a chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of Sedona’s arts scene.


Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village invites you to experience the beauty of art, indulge in unique shopping adventures, and embrace the rich culture and heritage of Sedona. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply seeking a captivating destination, Tlaquepaque offers an enchanting experience that shouldn’t be missed.


Enjoy the Sedona Arts Center

For art lovers and creative enthusiasts, the Sedona Arts Center is a haven of inspiration and artistic expression. Located in the heart of Sedona, this renowned arts organization offers a range of unique experiences that celebrate the beauty of visual arts and foster a vibrant artistic community. Here’s what makes the Sedona Arts Center a must-visit destination:


1. Art Exhibitions: The Sedona Arts Center features rotating exhibits showcasing the works of local and national artists. Explore a variety of artistic mediums, from paintings and photography to sculptures and mixed media. Each exhibit offers a captivating journey into the world of contemporary art.


2. Workshops and Classes: The center offers an array of workshops and classes for artists of all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking to try your hand at a new medium or an experienced artist seeking to refine your techniques, there are a variety of courses to choose from. Learn from talented instructors who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and helping you unleash your creative potential.


3. Artist Studios: The Sedona Arts Center is home to artist studios, where you can witness local artists in action. Wander through the studios, interact with the artists, and gain insight into their creative processes. It’s a unique opportunity to engage with the artists, learn about their inspirations, and witness art coming to life.


4. Fine Art Gallery: The center boasts a fine art gallery showcasing a curated collection of artwork for sale. Browse through a diverse selection of pieces created by local artists and find that perfect artwork to add to your own collection or to bring home as a unique and meaningful souvenir of your time in Sedona.


5. Annual Events: The Sedona Arts Center hosts annual events that celebrate art and community. From art festivals and competitions to fundraisers and benefits, these events provide opportunities to engage with the local art scene, meet artists, and support the arts community in Sedona.


6. Open Studios: Throughout the year, the center organizes open studio events, inviting the public to explore the workspace of resident artists. Witness the creative process firsthand, ask questions, and gain insight into the artistic journey. It’s a chance to connect with the local art community and gain a deeper understanding of the artistic culture in Sedona.


7. Art Supplies and Materials: The Sedona Arts Center also houses a shop where you can find a wide range of art supplies and materials. From paints and brushes to canvas and paper, you’ll find everything you need to cultivate your artistic pursuits.


The Sedona Arts Center is a destination that celebrates the beauty of art, nurtures creativity, and fosters a sense of community among artists and art lovers. Whether you’re an artist seeking inspiration, a collector in search of unique pieces, or someone simply looking to experience the vibrant art scene of Sedona, the Sedona Arts Center offers a rich and engaging experience for all.


Take a Scenic Drive along Oak Creek Canyon

A scenic drive along Oak Creek Canyon is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Sedona. Known as one of the most breathtaking drives in the United States, this scenic route offers stunning vistas, lush landscapes, and a chance to connect with the natural beauty of the area. Here’s why you should embark on a scenic drive along Oak Creek Canyon:


1. Spectacular Natural Beauty: As you drive through Oak Creek Canyon, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views of towering red rock walls, dense forests, and the crystal-clear waters of Oak Creek. The vibrant colors and contrasting landscapes create a visual feast that is sure to leave you in awe.


2. Photo Opportunities: The scenic beauty of Oak Creek Canyon provides ample opportunities for capturing stunning photographs. From the picturesque winding road to the panoramic vistas, you’ll want to have your camera ready to capture the magic of this natural wonderland.


3. Wildlife Viewing: Oak Creek Canyon is home to a diverse array of wildlife. Keep an eye out for mule deer, squirrels, elk, and a variety of bird species as you drive through the canyon. Spotting these creatures in their natural habitats adds an element of excitement and adventure to your journey.


4. Hiking and Picnic Areas: Along the drive, you’ll come across several pull-off points and trailheads that allow you to explore the canyon on foot. Take a leisurely hike to immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding nature or find a scenic picnic spot to enjoy a meal amidst the serene surroundings.


5. Changing Seasons: The Oak Creek Canyon drive offers a different experience in each season. Witness the resplendent colors of the fall foliage, enjoy the vibrant blooms of wildflowers in the spring, revel in the coolness of the canyon during summer, or marvel at the serene snow-covered landscapes in the winter.


6. Scenic Overlooks: Throughout the drive, you’ll encounter several scenic overlooks that provide panoramic views of the canyon. Take the time to stop at these viewpoints, breathe in the fresh air, and marvel at the majestic beauty of the landscape below.


7. Relaxation and Serenity: A scenic drive along Oak Creek Canyon is not just about the views; it’s also an opportunity to unwind, relax, and immerse yourself in nature. Enjoy the rhythmic sounds of the flowing creek, the gentle rustling of the leaves, and the feeling of tranquility that permeates the canyon.


As you embark on a scenic drive along Oak Creek Canyon, be sure to drive safely and adhere to any posted speed limits or parking regulations. Open your windows, feel the breeze, and savor the beauty that surrounds you on this unforgettable journey through one of Sedona’s most captivating wonders.


Visit Montezuma Castle National Monument

Step back in time and explore the fascinating history of the Sinagua people by visiting Montezuma Castle National Monument. Located in the beautiful Verde Valley near Sedona, this ancient cliff dwelling provides a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Native American civilizations that once thrived in the area. Here’s what you can expect when you visit Montezuma Castle:


1. Remarkable Cliff Dwelling: The centerpiece of the national monument is the iconic five-story limestone cliff dwelling, built into the alcove of a towering limestone cliff. Marvel at the intricate masonry, ancient architecture, and structural integrity that have allowed the dwelling to endure for over 800 years.


2. Self-Guided Tour: As you explore the monument, you’ll have the opportunity to take a self-guided tour along a paved trail that leads to several viewpoints. Along the way, interpretive signage offers insights into the remarkable engineering and cultural significance of Montezuma Castle.


3. Cultural Discovery: Learn about the Sinagua people, who inhabited the region from approximately 1100 to 1425 AD. Discover their advanced agricultural practices, their utilization of the local environment, and their unique architectural techniques, which enabled them to thrive in this challenging desert landscape.


4. Natural Beauty: Montezuma Castle is nestled within a scenic desert oasis, surrounded by lush vegetation, towering trees, and the peaceful flow of Beaver Creek. Take a moment to appreciate the tranquil beauty of the surroundings and to reflect on the harmonious relationship between the Sinagua people and their natural environment.


5. Ranger Programs: Join one of the ranger-led programs offered at Montezuma Castle to enhance your experience. These programs provide deeper insights into the history, archaeology, and culture of the Sinagua people, helping you to connect more intimately with the monument’s significance.


6. Picnic Area and Nature Trail: Montezuma Castle offers a picnic area where you can relax and enjoy a meal amidst the tranquil desert setting. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll along the adjacent nature trail, which showcases the diverse plant and animal life native to the area.


7. Visitor Center: Start your visit at the national monument’s visitor center, where you can find exhibits, artifacts, and informative displays that provide further context to the ancient ruins. Knowledgeable staff members are available to answer questions and provide additional insights.


When visiting Montezuma Castle National Monument, be respectful of the historical and cultural significance of the site. Stay on designated paths, do not touch or disturb any artifacts, and follow any guidelines or regulations to help preserve this invaluable piece of Native American heritage.


Learn about Native American Culture at Honanki Heritage Site

Deepen your understanding of Native American culture and history by visiting the Honanki Heritage Site near Sedona. This archaeological treasure offers a unique opportunity to explore the ancient ruins of the Sinagua people and learn about their way of life. Here’s what you can discover when you visit Honanki:


1. Ancient Ruins: Honanki is home to remarkably well-preserved cliff dwellings and rock art created by the Sinagua people over 700 years ago. These impressive structures provide insights into the architectural skills and daily lives of this ancient civilization.


2. Guided Tours: Upon arrival, you can join a guided tour led by knowledgeable interpreters who share fascinating details about the site’s history, the cultural significance of the rock art, and the customs and traditions of the Sinagua people.


3. Rock Art: Marvel at the intricate rock art that adorns the sandstone cliffs at Honanki. Petroglyphs and pictographs depict various symbols, animals, and human figures, offering a glimpse into the spiritual and artistic practices of the Sinagua people.


4. Archaeological Discoveries: Learn about the archaeological excavations and discoveries that have taken place at Honanki over the years. The ongoing research and preservation efforts provide valuable insights into the ancient past and contribute to our understanding of Native American history.


5. Cultural Significance: Honanki is considered a sacred site by many Native American tribes. The spiritual connection to the land and the stories passed down through generations make this place of great cultural importance. Visitors are encouraged to show respect and reverence for the site and its significance.


6. Nature and Scenery: The Honanki Heritage Site is located within the stunning red rock landscapes of Sedona. As you explore the site, take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you. The juxtaposition of the ancient ruins against the breathtaking backdrop creates a truly captivating experience.


7. Educational Opportunities: Honanki offers educational programs and workshops that delve deeper into Native American history and culture. These immersive experiences allow visitors to engage with Native American traditions, storytelling, and arts and crafts, further enriching the overall visit.


When visiting Honanki Heritage Site, it’s crucial to respect the site’s archaeological and cultural significance. Follow any rules or guidelines provided by the site personnel, and be mindful of the delicate nature of the ancient structures and rock art. By doing so, you can help preserve this invaluable piece of Native American heritage for future generations to appreciate and learn from.