15 Best Things to Do in Sedona, Arizona: Top-Rated Attractions 2022
Sedona is located at the lower end of Oak Creek Canyon, near Flagstaff in Arizona. It has been in a region with human life for over 10,000 years. At that time, the population was composed of hunter-gatherers who began basic agriculture.
The Spanish first arrived in the 16th century on an expedition to seek the wealth of Native American mines. They did not settle then, and the beginnings of Sedona appeared in the second half of the 19th century.
It became a small farming and ranching settlement, and in 1902, with around 20 families now settled locally, it applied for a post office. The man who applied was Theodore Schnebly, who named it after his wife, Sedona.
Sedona is known for its spectacular monoliths and red buttes. Add to that the 4,500-foot elevation, with its pollution-free air, the city is a photographer’s dream.
Among the 15 things to do in Sedona are trips out of town to enjoy the scenery and explore the natural desert environment.
1. Sedona Heritage Museum
This museum focused on the period when settlers began arriving in the mid-1870s. It is housed in one of the houses dating from that time, the Jordan family. With the support of the local Historical Society, it maintains Sedona’s modern history.
In the early days, agriculture was largely for personal consumption, and the stream irrigated the land. Gradually, a thriving fruit trade developed, although now it has largely disappeared.
In the heyday of Western cinema, all the big Hollywood stars arrived, as Sedona was an ideal location for such movies.
2. Camino del Puente del Diablo
The natural sandstone arch known as Devil’s Bridge is a remarkable sight. It’s a 1.8-mile hike to and from, with an elevation of just 400 feet from the starting point.
The obvious advantage is that the hike is neither long nor steep, but you will need a decent fitness level. The trail was originally designed for 4×4, and the surface is pretty good.
You will reach the base of the bridge, which is 50 feet high. If you have the energy, you can make it to the top. That is the hardest part of the trek, rewarding beautiful views.
3. Sedona Star Gazing
Clear desert skies allow for great night vision. The stars in the sky are sensational and something you will not experience in the city. There are few better stargazing spots in the entire United States than Arizona.
Tours are available with highly qualified experts and the best astronomy equipment. You will learn about the night sky. No excursion exceeds a comfortable number of participants, so everyone is guaranteed ample time to look through the telescopes.
Clear nights are practically guaranteed, so book when it’s a good time for you.
4. Camping in Oak Creek Canyon
There are 6 organized camping areas in Oak Creek Canyon. Each has excellent guest facilities, including picnic tables and grills. There is a 7-day limit for camping, and while some sites can be reserved in advance, others are served on a first-come, first-served basis.
There are plenty of fish in the creek if you don’t want to get lost too much, but most campers want to hike at least part of the time when in the canyon. It is a great place for families with children of all ages.
5. Palatki Heritage Site
The Palatki site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is reminiscent of when the Sinagua lived in the region. No one is sure why those people left or died, although the drought and attacks by others are two popular theories. The location is Bosque Coconino, near Sedona.
The word “Palatki” means red house in the Hopi language, and the cliff houses in Red Rock County are said to have been inhabited between 1150 and 1350, with the rock art equally interesting. The Arizona Natural History Association manages the site, which is open to the public throughout the year.
6. Valle Verde Wine Route
Arizona may not get the credit it deserves for wine production, certainly outside of the United States. The only problem with following the Valle Verde Wine Route is that you need a driver to enjoy it. You will reach five wineries and visit six tasting rooms if you follow the entire route.
The trail covers several towns in the valley, including Sedona, and you will certainly be able to taste the differences between the wide variety of wines on offer.
7. Tlaquepaque Handicraft Village
Even if you have no plans to make any purchases while in Sedona, you should still visit this famous Arts and Crafts Village. Located near Oak Creek, even the town itself is interesting, with the typical traditional Mexican style. It has been a landmark in Sedona for almost half a century.
From the initial idea of creating an artistic community, Tiaquepaque is now much more than that. You will see a very clever work and perhaps you will even meet its creator. Products include art, jewelry, fabrics, and textiles, which are sure to tempt you to buy.
8. Slide Rock State Park
This park just north of Sedona was originally a family farm, where cattle were raised, and apples were grown. It became a state park in 1987.
It had taken a good irrigation system to help the garden flourish. Rustic cabins were built in the 1930s for visitors to the area.
More than 300 apple trees still survive, and the park is jointly managed by the Forest Service and Arizona State Parks. It has been used extensively in film, and you should see why it has created such an impact on visitors.
9. Mesa Airport
Because of its beauty, this hiking circuit trail can compete with any other in the region. You will hike at the height of 4,500 feet. Sometimes you will have a 360-degree panorama over the many points of interest, many of them with the typical red rocks of Sedona.
Parking is available at the trailhead, but its popularity means that the parking lot is sometimes full. The alternative is to park a mile away; don’t let that put you off because you will be rewarded with breathtaking scenery as you walk. Your photos will feature prominently in your album.
10. Boynton Canyon Trail
You can lead your dog on a leash if you choose this 6-mile hike and include your pup in the beauty of this 6-mile hike. You can see Gila monsters and lizards, and you are sure to see a variety of birds, including the colorful blue jay.
The terrain varies from desert to forest, with some of the first sections might be the best for taking pictures. On a hot day, you should carry a lot of water, although you will find shade on the way.
11. Path of the Cathedral Rock
Although this rock trail is quite short; It’s only a mile long, not for beginners. The trail is well marked with basket cairns, with the initial ascent fairly straightforward. Once you hit a plateau, you may want to stop for a bit to take in the beautiful views.
A little later on the trail, there is a decision to make: continue on a much more difficult route or be happy with what has been seen. If you continue, the climb is 45 degrees for around 40 feet.
The choice is yours, with slippery conditions after wet weather, but with good hands and feet if the weather is dry. If you continue, the views are amazing at the trail’s end. Keep an eye on the weather and your energy levels, and take no chances.
12. Chapel of the Holy Cross
A student of Frank Lloyd Wright built this chapel in 1956 in a place where it is surrounded by huge red rocks, which are typical of the region.
Marguerite Brunswig Staude wanted to create something that paid tribute to the Catholic Church, and upon seeing the red rocks, she decided this location was ideal.
If you can select a time to go there, pick when the sunlight hits the stained glass. Even those not remotely interested in religion are sure to be impressed.
13. Stupa and Peace Park of Amitabha
It may surprise you that something more regularly is associated with Buddhism in Arizona. Similar stupas are found in Asia, and some were built more than 2,500 years ago. Yet this stupa, surrounded by smaller red Spiers and impressive pine trees, has been wowing visitors since 2004.
The stupa is only 36 feet tall and opens each morning at dawn, remaining open until the sunsets. It is a short walk to get there, and although admission is free, donations are welcome.
14. A Balloon Expedition
While it is necessary to get up before dawn, the experience of flying over the impressive landscape of Sedona and the surrounding region in a hot air balloon is unique.
Dawn is a quiet time, and it is even calmer in your hot air balloon. Typically, you will be one of six or seven passengers, and if you are already in a group of that size, you will have the balloon to yourself.
Get a bird’s eye view of the places you’ve already visited or look for the ones you want to see later on your vacation.
15. Montezuma Castle National Monument
Less than an hour south of Sedona is the Montezuma Castle National Monument, named after the Aztec emperor who was not born when the buildings were built. The 20 rooms were made of mud and stone and were home to the Sinaguens between the 12th and 15th centuries.
This is the best-preserved site of its kind in the region, and visitors can walk a short trail to reach the site.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things to Do in Sedona
How many days should I spend in Sedona?
Don’t make the mistake of taking a trip to Sedona for a night or two, three to five days is the time needed to see Sedona, the Grand Canyon and beyond. Red Rock Country has numerous things to do for pet owners that can be enjoyed any time of year.
What’s so great about Sedona?
The majestic red rock scenery and evergreen vegetation are two reasons for the unique energy of Sedona and its tangible regenerative and inspirational effects. Sedona is also internationally known for the uplifting power of its Vortex meditation sites.
Is 1 day enough in Sedona?
Although one day is not enough, here are some suggestions on how to Experience Sedona for those who only have a day in Sedona. Sedona offers a myriad of activities for all travelers from adventurous to relaxed, as well as for those who wish to stroll the splendid streets of Uptown or Gallery Row.
What is the best month to visit Sedona?
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.
Is Williams AZ worth visiting?
The small town of Williams in northern Arizona is probably most well-known as being the gateway to the Grand Canyon. There are some great nostalgic attractions, both on the main thoroughfare and off the main drag, to explore on your own that make Williams one of those small-town unforgettable treasures.
Is Sedona or Scottsdale better?
Both are great but very different, but as RedRox has mentioned, Sedona is closer to Grand Canyon (Painted Desert is all over east of GC) and location of Sedona is superb. Nightlife is better in Scottsdale though.
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