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15 Great Things to Do and See in Sedona, Arizona

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Sedona, Arizona, is a land of natural beauty and spiritual energy. It is located in the high desert of the southwestern United States, surrounded by towering red rock formations. Sedona is a popular destination for hikers, bikers, and spiritual tourists. This blog post will unveil 15 great things to do and see in Sedona for an unforgettable experience in this Southwestern gem.

1. Scenic Drive through Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon

Often called the smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon for its scenic beauty is Oak Creek Canyon, a river gorge located in northern Arizona between Flagstaff and Sedona. It is a 14-mile scenic route on Route 89A with Oak Creek flowing year-round along the bottom of the canyon. The canyon is rich in ancient history, with historical spots including cave dwellings of the Sinaqua Indians carved into the limestone cliffs. One of the more popular hiking trails is Los Robles Trail. Oak Creek Canyon is a beautiful oasis in the desert and a great place to take it easy and enjoy the scenery.

2. Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross

Chapel of the Holy Cross

In the Coconino National Forest, you will find the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Built in the red rock buttes, it presents stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Although this is a Catholic chapel, the chapel welcomes people of all faiths and offers a sacred space for spiritual connection and reverence. Chapel of the Holy Cross is a popular tourist destination for its unique and awe-inspiring design.

3. Explore the Red Rock Scenic Byway

Red Rock Scenic Byway

The Red Rock Scenic Byway is a 7.5-mile north-to-south adventure in Arizona, also known as State Route 179 - it runs from Interstate 17 to SR 89A in Sedona. Every turn on this byway reveals a mesmerizing vista of Sedona's iconic red rock formations. You could drive through it, but there are plenty of scenic viewpoints along the byway offerring postcard-worthy views of Sedona! A few of these stops include Chimney Rock Viewpoint, Thunder Mountain Viewpoint, and West Fork Trailhead.

4. Experience Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park

If you are looking to cool off from the desert heat, Slide Rock State Park is a great place to visit! Here you will find nature-made water slides along the creek. Moreover, the swimming hole water is clear - perfect for a refreshing plunge on a hot day! In addition to the water slides, Slide Rock State Park has hiking trails and picnic areas. The park is a popular destination for families, as it offers fun and relaxation for everyone! It is a popular destination for locals and tourists so it may get crowded.

5. Discover Bell Rock

Bell Rock

Bell Rock is a sandstone formation created by millions of years of erosion. It is about 1,400 feet tall and 3,200 feet wide. It got its name from being shaped like a bell! Several hiking trails lead to the top of Bell Rock, the most popular being the Bell Rock Pathway. It is a moderately difficult 1.2-mile round-trip hike with stunning views! Bell Rock is also a popular destination for rock climbers with routes for beginners and experts.

6. Unwind in Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village

Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village

Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village is a charming outdoor mall with art galleries, shops, and restaurants. Stroll through its cobblestone streets lined with art galleries, boutiques, and cafes. It is beautifully adorned with its cobblestone paths and decorative arches. It feels like you have walked into a traditional Mexican village. At Tlaquepaque, you will discover unique handcrafted treasures made by local and internationally acclaimed artists. It is also a great place to find unique things to bring home as souvenirs and gifts or to spend an afternoon browsing and exploring.

7. Explore the Trails of Boynton Canyon

Boynton Canyon
Boynton Canyon is a popular hiking trail in Sedona, Arizona. It is a 2.7-mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of about 400 feet. It is a moderately difficult hike that offers spectacular views of the red rock formations and the natural beauty of the Sedona area. As you hike towards the top, keep an eye out for ancient ruins and the rich cultural history that Boynton Canyon holds.

Boynton Canyon is also known for being one of Sedona's most popular vortexes. Vortexes are said to be places where energy from the earth is concentrated, and many people believe that they can have a positive effect on people's health and well-being.

8. Taste the Verde Valley Wine Trail

Verde Valley Wine Trail

Fifteen miles north of Sedona, you will find the Verde Valley Wine Trail, a collection of wineries, vineyards, and wine tasting rooms in Northern Arizona. The trail is a 37-mile route that connects 20 wineries in the Verde Valley of Arizona. Verde Valley is a desert region with a Mediterranean climate, making it one of the best places to grow wine grapes. This region is home to a variety of grapes, including Syrah, Grenache, and Tempranillo.

On your wine trail, you will sample wine, learn about the winemaking process, and witness breathtaking landscapes and flourishing vineyards. It is a delightful and immersive experience for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers.

9. Discover Art and Culture in Uptown Sedona

Pink Jeep Tours

Uptown Sedona is a charming historic district located in the heart of Sedona. It is home to art galleries, shops, restaurants, and cafes. The art galleries showcase works by renowned and local artists, and the restaurants carry delectable cuisine and a charming ambiance. In general, the atmosphere in Uptown Sedona is lively, as it is always bustling with activity. The best part is that you can still enjoy the stunning views of Sedona’s red rock formations while enjoying Uptown Sedona. It is also the meet-up spot for Pink Jeep Tours, which provides guided tours.

10. Soar Above Sedona in a Hot Air Balloon

4 Hot Air Balloons in Sedona, AZ

One of the best ways to enjoy the natural beauty of Sedona is by hot air balloon! Gently float above the gorgeous red rock formations, marveling at the panoramic views and desert landscape. It is sure to be a memorable and unique experience! Check out Red Rock Balloons for more information.

11. Observe Celestial Wonders at Lowell Observatory

Stars in the sky with a purple tint

Venture beyond Sedona for a day trip to the renowned Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff – about 30 miles North of the Sedona area. Explore the universe through powerful telescopes, attend fascinating astronomy presentations, and expand your knowledge of the cosmos. Witness the beauty of the night sky at one of the oldest astronomical observatories in the United States.

12. Hike Airport Mesa

Airport Mesa

Hike to the top of Airport Mesa for a 360-degree panorama view of Sedona. It is a moderately easy 3.5-mile hiking loop around Table Top Mountain. Airport Mesa is also a perfect place to enjoy the sunset!

13. Explore the Coconino National Forest

Humphrey's Peak at Coconino National Forest

The Coconino National Forest is a 1.856-million-acre United States National Forest - one of six national forests in Arizona, and it surrounds Flagstaff and Sedona. This forest’s elevation ranges between 2,600 feet to 12,633 feet at Humphrey's Peak, the highest point in Arizona! Hike or camp in the Coconino National Forest, which is home to hiking trails, campgrounds, and scenic overlooks. The forest is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Sedona, and it is an incredible place to enjoy the peace and quiet of the desert.

14. Immerse Yourself in History at the Sedona Heritage Museum

Red rock formations in Sedona, AZ

Take a step back in time at the Sedona Heritage Museum, where the rich history of the region comes to life. The museum offers a glimpse into Sedona's past through exhibits, artifacts, and educational programs. Discover the stories of the early settlers, learn about the Native American cultures, and gain insight into the town's development. Explore the beautifully preserved historic buildings and immerse yourself in the history that has shaped Sedona into the special place it is today.

15. Dare to Conquer Devil's Bridge Trail

Devil's Bridge Trail

Devil's Bridge Trail is a challenging 2.4-mile round-trip hike in the Coconino National Forest. On your uphill trek, you will encounter a natural bridge that spans a deep canyon. The views from the bridge are beautiful, and you can see for miles in all directions, but the hike is not for the faint of heart. This trail is quite popular, so it would be best to go early morning or later in the afternoon to avoid crowds. If you are looking for a hike with natural beauty, adventure, and some thrill, this is for you – it is one of the best hikes in the Sedona area!

Bonus Suggestion: Road trip to Experience One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

While in Sedona, you will be 226 miles round-trip from the Grand Canyon National Park's South Entrance. If time allows – as you will need at least a full day – and you want to experience more incredible views, consider venturing your way to the Grand Canyon! For more information about visiting the Grand Canyon, check out our blog, "Visiting the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park." Keep in mind that fully exploring the Grand Canyon requires more than a day. However, if you only have one day, I recommend exploring the Hermit's Rest Route by shuttle bus and the rest by car. While you may not be able to stop at every hiking trail, you will still get to see some spectacular views!

Some additional tips for planning your trip to Sedona:

Sedona skyline of mountain peaks
- Wear sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and a hat, and dress in layers for your hiking adventures. The weather can change quickly, especially during the evening. Also, make sure to always carry water with you! Check out our Ultimate Summer Packing List for some of these items and more.
- Sedona has many hiking trails, so be sure to choose the ones that are appropriate for your fitness level.
- If you are interested in learning more about the spiritual history of Sedona, be sure to visit the Sedona Heritage Museum or take a guided tour of one of the vortexes - check out Pink Jeep Tours for this.

Pink Jeep Tour

- No trip to Sedona would be complete without enjoying the delicious food and wine that the town has to offer. Be sure to check out one of the many restaurants in Uptown Sedona or Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village and take a wine tour of the Verde Valley.
- Keep in mind each activity listed above has different operating hours, parking situations, and entrance fees. Once you have picked your favorite locations, consult their respective website for more detailed information.

Time to Adventure!

Sedona, Arizona red rock formations

These are just a few of the many things to do in Sedona. With its stunning scenery, rich history, and vibrant culture, Sedona is a place that has something to offer everyone who visits. Whether you are looking for a relaxing vacation, an adventurous getaway, or a spiritual journey, Sedona is the perfect place to experience the beauty and wonder of the American Southwest.

Sedona landscape with cacti, bushes, and other plants. Bell Rock is spotted in the background

Have you been to any of these places in Sedona? If so, let us know in the comments below - we would love to hear about your visit! If you have not gone, is it on your bucket list of places to visit now? Let us know in the comments below and share this article with the person or people you want to go with! Either way, SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places you should add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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