If you’re seeking wilderness, adventure, and re-connecting with your spirituality, Sedona, Arizona needs to be on your travel radar.
Located south of the Grand Canyon and north of Phoenix, Sedona is found nestled in northern Arizona next to the Coconino National Forest. There are so many attractive features of the area but Sedona is certainly a hot spot because of its’ unique landscape.
Sedona is a desert town that is painted with red and orange sandstone formations (buttes). The colours don’t stop there, it’s also surrounded by stunning forests. What’s amazing about Sedona is that there are laws in place that require buildings to blend into the scenery of the area. You’ll find that most buildings are variations of tan and red colours.
Sedona attracts all types of travellers because of how much the town and surrounding areas offer. A local informed us that it’s also known as the ‘new age capital of the world’ and you can really see this in the vibrant culture that exists there. I’ve never given much thought to spirituality, however, I can really appreciate how embedded spiritual practices are in its’ culture.
I was fortunate to be able to spend four days in Sedona and I was able to accomplish quite a bit.
Here’s what I got up to:
I chose to camp during my visit. I’m always drawn to sleeping under the stars whenever I can, so staying indoors wasn’t an option for me. Something to consider while planning your visit is that most campsites near Sedona are first come first serve. My group and I were fortunate that we found a campsite when we arrived. We stayed at the Pine View campground and had an amazing stay. This campground is in Red Rock State Park which is just thirty minutes outside of Sedona’s core. Many of the campsites that are available aren’t actually in the town itself, they are mostly outside of the town in the surrounding areas.
My motto while travelling is ‘the best way to experience a place is on foot’, and this certainly holds true for experiencing Sedona. It’s easy to lose yourself in the stunning scenery and mesmerizing terrain. Sedona’s sandstone formations are fascinating because they are so unique to the area. Additionally, they are fun to walk on. I was able to get four hikes in during my time in Sedona. I tried my best to be up before the sunrise and on the trail to watch the pastel colours light up the sky.
You could easily spend a season hiking in the area, but if you only have a short window, a must-do hike is Cathedral Rock. This hike was short and sweet but it takes you on spiritual journey. Cathedral Rock is steep the whole way up but it is relatively easy. It is a fun hike as there’s a “loose trail” but you basically get to climb all over the rocks. You are lead up to the pinnacles that give the formation its’ distinctive features. When you are at the top, there are several ledges that you can walk on for an amazing view of the area and immerse yourself into the landscape. It’s a great place to get some solitude as well. When I was up there, I saw several people meditating alone and it was a very peaceful experience.
For the descent, I ran down Cathedral Rock. I got to my car in thirteen minutes, so you really can complete it at your own pace.
3. Watch the Hot Air Balloons Launch From Doe Mountain
This was my favourite memory from Sedona. My group and I woke up at 5 AM and headed straight to Doe Mountain for sunrise. We hiked a short distance to the top and caught the sun rising. There’s a field down below where hot air balloons are launched from every morning. It was amazing having the mountain to ourselves and a hot air balloon show. The moment made for some epic photo-ops and ended up being one of my favourite days.
You can also book hot air balloon rides if you’re fearless!
4. Food & Drink
Sedona is bustling with cafes, wineries, and world-class cuisines. Usually when I travel, engaging with the local cuisines doesn’t appeal to me. Typically I save my dollars for outdoor experiences.
While we were hiking, we bumped into many locals who all asked if we had tried Indian Gardens yet. We kept hearing how amazing this Indian Gardens place was and that we HAD to make a stop there. After the fourth or fifth time that we were told about this spot, we decided that we would give it a go. Let me tell you, we were not disappointed
Indian Gardens Cafe & Market is an amazing historic market that features local craft beer, amazing coffee and food, and sells some incredible merchandise. The back of the cafe is a large patio that is in a garden surrounded by trees. The patio offers a really cozy atmosphere to relax and have a nice meal.
Sedona is an exceptional place for a vacation and/or outdoor adventure. There is so much opportunity for exploring. Even though I was unable to do the activities I’m about to mention, they look amazing and would be worth including in your vacation:
ATV/ 4×4 the various trails around Sedona. There are some seriously epic off roading opportunities near town. We took our Jeep and 4x4ed our way up Schnebly Hill Road where we were able to see the entire town from the top of the mountain. The views were insane. You can also pay to do a Pink Jeep Tour which we were told is absolutely worth every penny. You can rent dune buggies and other off roading vehicles and seriously have the time of your life.