“Awe-struck. Some of the most beautiful landscape in the country.” That’s how most first-time visitors to the area describe the scenes across Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. In every direction is a picture-postcard view. The lush green green forest at the rim descend into Oak Creek Canyon, rugged wildness cliffs, shimmering Oak Creek and the red rock monoliths that define the landscape.
Sedona is the second-most visited destination in Arizona, second only to the Grand Canyon which is only about a 115 mile scenic drive north of Sedona through Flagstaff AZ. A tour of the Grand Canyon is a must see experience, but there is also a ton of diverse attractions in Sedona for every unique interest whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, an ancient history buff or one that loves to be pampered by a world class resort and spa.
Located at 780 Chapel Hill Road, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is perhaps the most notable architectural landmark in Sedona, Arizona. This Catholic church seems to grow from the red rock formations high above the Sedona landscape.
South of Uptown Sedona you’ll find the aptly-named Bell Rock, east of Highway 179. Park at the bottom of the butte and hike the trail leading to the top. Next to Bell Rock is Courthouse Butte and to the west stands Cathedral Rock, perhaps the most photographed spot in Sedona. From the front door of Chapel of the Holy Cross, take a peek at Eagle Head Rock as well as the Twin Nuns and Mother and Child Rock buttes.
Don’t miss Airport Mesa, one of Sedona’s famous Vortex spots. It is located west out of Sedona on Highway 89A. There is a parking lot halfway up the mesa and you will be awed by the panoramic views. You’ll find a hiking trail that is rated very easy.
Heading to Boynton Canyon, north of Highway 89A, take a look at Coffee Pot Rock that rises about 1,800 feet above Sedona. The Three Golden Chiefs and Capitol Butte can be seen from this spot. The entire area is abundant in red rock monolith buttes that contrast against the greenery and sparkling blue sky of Sedona.
Expect some of the most gorgeous views you will ever experience. About eight miles west of Sedona on Arizona 89A is the historically significant Boynton Canyon. Many of the ancient Sinagua Indian cliff dwellings can be seen on the cliff walls of the canyon. There is a parking lot and easy hiking trail just outside the gates of the
Enchantment Resort and Spa, one of the many world-class resorts in the Sedona area.
West of Boynton Canyon, visit the ancient cliff dwelling at Palatki Heritage Site. You will need to make reservations by calling (928) 282.3854. The dirt road leading to the ruins can be impassable during periods of rain, but visitors will be rewarded with views of the prehistoric dwellings that are tucked under the cliffs. The drive is very scenic.
Named after the founder of Sedona, Schnebly Hills Road is a mostly dirt road that climbs into the red rocks east of Sedona and features some awe-inspiring views as it climbs to the top of the Mogollon Rim. It “switchbacks” along the edges of cliffs and is not a drive for those that have a fear of heights. The drive is more suited to a 4-wheel drive vehicle and can become impassable during heavy periods of rain. Those that make the journey should plan on taking a picnic lunch and relaxing on the featured overlook. Booking a jeep tour is the most convenient way to enjoy this very scenic drive.
Simply spectacular. No trip to Sedona would be complete without the taking the scenic drive between Flagstaff, Arizona and Sedona on Arizona 89A through Oak Creek Canyon. Going up the canyon from Sedona or descending from the edge of the Mogollon Rim just east of Flagstaff gives differing unique perspectives.
Before dropping down into the canyon, stop at the overlook where Native Americans offer Indian-made jewelry and crafts for sale. The drive switchbacks alongside Oak Creek as it makes its way to Sedona. The beauty is astounding with lush green forests contrasted against the red rock cliffs. Along the way, you will pass Slide Rock which a natural water-slide on the creek that is a popular recreation spot for locals and tourists.
The West Fork is the most popular hiking trail in the area Stroll the creek below the towering cliff as it meanders down Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. The best times to hike are in the fall when the canyon is ablaze with autumn colors and in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming. Mornings are a great time to hike when it’s even more tranquil without the crowds.
If you are a history buff, be sure to visit the Sedona Heritage Museum in Jordan Historical Park. The museum is housed in a local historic home at 735 Jordan Road and features antiques as well as snippets of many movies that have been filmed in the area over the years.
Landscape beauty. Infinite hiking trails. Wilderness areas. Hot air balloon rides. Swimming, fishing, horseback riding, Indian ruins, mountain biking, camping, jeep tours, airplane tours, wineries with wine tasting, museums, art galleries, fine dining, and superb golfing. And did we mention the greatest of weather that comes with an elevation of about 5,000 feet?
Also see the Sedona pictures and the Red Rock District of Coconino National Forest for even more information. Click here for a list of fine hotels in Sedona.