Getting to know Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is one of the places I have wanted to visit for years now, well known for its abundance of hiking and breathtaking scenery. Sedona is only 100 miles north of  Phoenix, Arizona. After two days of sightseeing in Grand Canyon, I was driving down there from Flagstaff.

Sedona definitely attracts nature lovers, foodies, art lovers, adventure seekers, spiritual, and curious travelers from around the world. Just drive down the Red Rock Scenic Byway (Route 179) and you will immediately know why Sedona is called as hiker’s paradise. There are scenic hiking trails everywhere. The iconic mountains are formed from layers of sandstone in various shapes and color. Many people wholeheartedly believe that the red rocks of Sedona are spiritual. 

Best Time to Visit Sedona, AZ

The best time to visit Sedona is from March to May when the temperatures are warm — but not scorching — and the area is in full bloom. Hikers love this season, as desert flowers add a pop of color to the rust-colored trails. September to November is another ideal time for outdoor activities thanks to mild weather.

Best Way To Get There

Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) is the closest airport from Sedona, therefore flying to Flagstaff then car rental at the airport at the airport is a good option. Driving distance is 30 miles about 50 min via AZ-89A but due to traffic condition, low-speed limit and for its scenic beauty, this way could get congested especially during the weekend. The alternate faster route is 17 south, about 53 miles and driving distance would be less than an hour.  

Many visitors also drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) to Sedona, it’s about 120 miles, driving won’t take more than 2 hours.

Highway 179 in Sedona
Highway 179 in Sedona, one of the most scenic routes I have ever seen!

My Trip Story

Sedona to Flagstaff
One of the scenic route going toward Sedona from Flagstaff

This July of 2017 I finally fulfilled one of the most wished travel bucket lists by spending two days in Sedona Arizona. I was traveling solo so it was easy for me to do a little bit of everything on a short trip. While strolling through the city center I did realize that a fabulous place like Sedona is perfect for a family trip. There is something for everyone great restaurants on both sides of the main road, Pink Jeep trip for fun and an unbelievable view of red rock mountains surrounding the city. 

The road trip from Grand Canyon to Sedona is so scenic that I couldn’t stop from pulling over to enjoy the picturesque view and photo ops. Usually to cover the distance of 136 miles (218 km) should not take more than 2 hours non stop driving but it took me way more than that. You will definitely end up making multiple stops on the way.

Honestly, wish I had more time in Sedona, 2 days was not enough for me. Especially when you have hiking as one of your favorite hobbies as there are plenty of hiking trails very much popular among locals and visitors alike. If you plan to visit Arizona I would definitely recommend Sedona and I am absolutely positive that Sedona’s scenic beauty will amaze you as well. 

Top Things To Do In Sedona, AZ

Here are a few interesting things you could consider doing during your Sedona trip.

Check out a few exciting sightseeing trips below:

Take The Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive

Oak Creek Canyon is a river gorge in northern Arizona between Flagstaff and Sedona on route 89A. The scenic drive is a breathtaking experience. I have ranked among the top 5 most scenic drive chart. If you are a photographer then it’s a must do trip while in Sedona. 

Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona
A Visit To Oak Creek Canyon, on route 89A, Sedona

Red Rock State Park Is A Great Place To Visit

Red Rock State Park is a state park of Arizona, featuring a red sandstone canyon outside the city of Sedona. The main mission of this day-use park is the preservation of the riparian habitat along Oak Creek. This State Park maintains a 5-mile network of interconnecting trails along scenic Oak Creek. You can experience the vista at the top of Eagle’s Nest (300’ climb).

Red Rock State Park, Sedona
Hiking is one of the famous things to do in Red Rock State Park, Sedona

Visit Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park is a state park of Arizona, located in Oak Creek Canyon only 7 miles north of Sedona on Route 89A. It is known as one of America’s top swimming holes. This natural waterslide formed by the slippery bed of Oak Creek. The slide rock is 80 feet long and 2.5 to 4 feet wide, with a 7% decline from top to bottom. 

Slide Rock State Park, Sedona.
On my way to Flagstaff Airport from Sedona, I made a sightseeing stop at Slide Rock State Park, Sedona.

Drive Up The Hill And Enjoy at The Chapel of the Holy Cross

The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a Roman Catholic chapel is a favorite tourist attraction for many of those who visit Sedona. it is located just off of Route 179, at the end of Chapel Road. It is open from 9 AM to 5 PM daily. The Chapel is nestled beautifully into a red rock, from the top it has an incredible view of the majestic Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte and much of the eastern rim of Sedona.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona
I took this shot of The Chapel of the Holy Cross from a distance, before climbing up to the church!

Cathedral Rock Another Hiking Site

Cathedral Rock is a famous landmark in Sedona and can be seen from the distance. It is one of the most photographed sights in Arizona. There is a short 0.7-mile trail which quickly rises 608 feet in elevation. At the middle part of the trail has a near vertical segment which requires climbing. This is a great place for hikers and for those who are not afraid of heights. 

Cathedral Rock, Sedona
A beautiful view of Cathedral Rock, Sedona

Take the Bell Rock Tour

Bell Rock is a one of the famous tourist attraction located north of the Village of Oak Creek, AZ, south of Sedona in Yavapai County. The elevation of its summit is about 4,919 feet. It did not take me much effort to track down the location of this church bell shape rock from distance. Even early morning or evening drive along the beautiful Red Rock Scenic Byway (Highway 179) to the Rock is amazing. 

The hike to Bell Rock is very famous among the visitors as it is easy and flat. The Trail will take you about halfway up Bell Rock. The top of the Rock is inaccessible. If you take the entire Courthouse Butte Loop then it’s about five miles in length. But you can bypass it and take only the Bell Rock pathway which is much shorter.

Bell Rock, Sedona
The hiking trail to Bell Rock, one of the favorite hiking among visitors in Sedona.

The Honanki Heritage Site

The Honanki Heritage Site is 15 miles west of present-day Sedona. Great place to experience the cliff dwelling and rock art site that last inhabited between 1400 and 1875, by Yavapai and Apache people.

Perfect place to stretch your legs and breathe in the fresh air, the site has two trails for self-guided tours to explore the ruins as well as the surrounding forest. One of the best ways to get there is by Pink Jeep Tour or by self-driven car.

Are you looking for a nice place to stay in Sedona, Arizona

Sky Ranch Lodge, Sedona Arizona

This hotel is located on the top of the mountain next to Sedona Airpot and the beautiful scenic overlook of the city which is also famous among locals and tourist alike for viewing the sunset. I was amazed once I drove to the top of the mountain and found the hotel. The room was spacious and the beds were comfortable and had a microwave and kitchen utensils. My stay was an enjoyable one and definitely, recommend this hotel.

Sky Ranch Lodge, Sedona
Sky Ranch Lodge where I was staying during my Sedona trip.

The view from the hotel was beautiful especially if you like to sit back and relax with a glass of wine and watch the Sun goes down in the horizon behind the red rock mountains in the far distance. 

Sky Ranch Lodge
The hotel Sky Ranch Lodge was at the top of the hill with a beautiful view!

The Views Inn Sedona, Sedona Arizona

My Favorite Local Food

There is a wide verity of the restaurant to choose from in Sedona. Take a walk in the town center and you will see many signs for organic, gluten-free, vegetarian and of course plenty of restaurants for meat lovers. I have tried a couple of places and many of them score high.

My Opinion and Tips

Have you been to Sedona, Arizona? Any additional tips to share?

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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