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Things to Do in Sedona

A combination of hippie enclave, cowboy paradise, and snowbird resort town, Sedona pushes the limits—in a good way. Surrounded by 1.8 million acres (728,000 hectares) of national forest land, the Arizona town attracts those who love the wild to explore its countless options for hiking, biking, and off-roading tours, especially in pursuit of killer desert views and stunning sunsets. Adrenaline junkies might opt for a zipline trip or an off-road tour. Take a Jeep tour of the city’s “rock stars” such as the famous Red Rock State Park, Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, Capitol Butte, and Chimney Rock, all accessible within a couple hours of downtown; or go even further on popular day tours to Antelope Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Horseshoe Bend. Helicopter tours promise clear aerial views of the major sites and a deeper understanding of why Sedona is nicknamed “rock country,” while whitewater-rafting trips down the Colorado River will wash all thoughts of the desert away. Sedona also offers off-road trips to Native American ruins that educate on the region’s long history of human habitation (dating back to 11,500 B.C.), tours that explore the town’s spiritual side and energy vortexes, and others that hunt for paranormal activity in the nearby town of Jerome.
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Oak Creek Canyon
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The road that winds 16 miles (26 kilometers) through leafy Oak Creek Canyon is the most scenic route between Sedona and Flagstaff or the Grand Canyon. With dramatic red rock formations to either side, the gorge is an outdoor playground for camping, fishing, hiking, picnicking, and swimming.

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Chapel of the Holy Cross
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Built directly into the side of a red-rock hill not far from downtown Sedona, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a modern architectural marvel as well as a religious place for reflection. Visitors flock to the Roman Catholic chapel primarily to take in the outstanding views of Sedona’s awe-inspiring desert scenery.

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Bell Rock
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Stunning scenery, epic red rock landscapes and wide-open skies are just part of what makes a trip to Sedona’s Bell Rock a memorable travel experience. Visitors can navigate the destination’s five trails, which range from an easy hike between the Courthouse Vista Parking Lot and the Base of Bell Rock, to more challenging routes, like the moderate climb to Upper Bell Rock Trail or the most strenuous option, known as The Ascent. Travelers will catch incredible views of Chicken Point, Submarine Rock and Chapel of the Holy Cross—true icons of Arizona’s famed Red Rock State Park—from various lookouts along Bell Rock’s multiple trails.

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Red Rock State Park
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With views of ruddy cliffs everywhere you look, Red Rock State Park is a sight to behold. Trails slice through this 286-acre (116-hectare) nature preserve, winding through manzanita juniper shrubs toward the banks of Oak Creek. The visitor center offers numerous daily activities for guests, including nature walks and naturalist activities.

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Cathedral Rock
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Urban centers like New York and Chicago tend to get the most cred for their scenic skylines, but Cathedral Rock, in the heart of Arizona’s peaceful Sedona, has inched towards fame with its picturesque natural skyline, where towering vibrant red rocks meet clear blue sky.

Located in Coconino National Forest, the steep ascent to this famous land formation draws travelers in search of a challenging hike, clear desert air, breathtaking views and wide-open space. And while the trail is only a short 1.5 miles, a quick 600-feet elevation change means parts of the passage can be a real scramble. Pack water, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a serious climb with views that are truly worth it.

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Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village
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Most travelers venture to Sedona to get back to nature, get outdoors and get up close to Arizona’s stunning red rocks. But the unique shops, handmade crafts and tasty restaurants of Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village offer visitors a chance to experience another part of Sedona—its artist community.

Visitors can wander the 40 specialty shops that make up this laid-back shopping destination and bare witness to artisans at work. Whether its blowing glass, painting an Arizona landscape or throwing a pot in one of Tlaquepaque’s studios, a visit to Tlaquepaque puts travelers in touch with the artists and offers a one-of-a-kind experience that’s sure to be a memorable part of any Sedona trip.

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Oak Creek Vista
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Visitors to Oak Creek Canyon would be wise to stop at this scenic viewpoint for a bird’s eye view of the rolling Arizona landscape. A well-kept lookout lined with Native American artisans selling handmade jewelry proves a popular destination for tourists and photographers alike. Though visitors warn Oak Creek Vista can get crowded, most agree its epic views are worth the trip.

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Airport Mesa
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Airport Mesa is more than its quirky name suggests. The scenic trail loop guides travelers along well-marked paths that lead to panoramic views of the city’s iconic red rock landscape. Outdoor enthusiasts agree Airport Mesa is one of Mother Nature’s most impressive local wonders, but with occasional old-school aircraft flying overhead, there’s still a nod to some modern marvels, too.

The 3.5-mile loop has just a 200-foot elevation change, but its uninterrupted views of Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Cockscomb and Chimney Rock make it one of the area’s most scenic treks.

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Boynton Canyon Trail
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Boynton Canyon Trail’s breathtaking red rocks views and easy passes make it one Sedona’s most accessible hikes. Travelers find impressive panoramic landscapes early in the three-mile trek, where open desert, lush foliage and sky-high canyon views reign supreme. And while some say this accessible hike ends in a rather anti-climactic way because box canyon walls stretch up on either side, ancient Sinaguan Indian ruins and tons of biodiversity make it a memorable outdoor experience for visitors to Sedona.

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Slide Rock State Park
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Just outside the city of Sedona is the evocatively-named Slide Rock State Park that was once an apple farm.

Slide Rock State Park was originally the Pendley Homestead, an apple orchard started in 1912 that covered more than 40 acres. Pendley later built cabins as more vacationers began coming into the area, and the homestead was purchased by the Arizona Parklands Foundation in 1985. The original Pendley farmhouse is still in the park.

The name “slide rock” comes from one geologic feature of the park, a slippery area in a creek near the homestead. The red rock formations that are so famous in this part of Arizona are all over the park, which is a popular place for hiking, swimming, fishing, and picnicking.

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More Things to Do in Sedona

Seven Canyons

Seven Canyons

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Sedona may be known for its stunning red rocks, desert life and spiritual slant, but those who like to live their life in the green still have their chance at the Seven Canyons Golf Course. Since 2002 this scenic outdoor destination has played host to thousands of golfer lovers seeking to experience the best of Arizona. With 20,000 square feet of teeing space, manicured fairways, world-class cuisine and a relaxing club house, visitors will feel at home in the comfort and luxury of this back nine destination. The challenging course is as ideal for long-time lovers of the sport as it is for newbies and breathtaking views of Sedona’s red rocks and national forests insure travelers get to experience the best of Arizona when they tee up.

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Broken Arrow Trail

Broken Arrow Trail

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This 4.5-mile round-trip hike is a favorite among locals and travelers because of its incredible red rock views, challenging terrain and easy access from Sedona’s main roads. But visitors warn its popularity means the trail is usually crowded with hikers, bikers and 4x4s. While the moderate climb is a good option for fit travelers, those who fear descending the Devil’s Staircase can opt for one of the area’s off-road Jeep tours.

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Wilson Mountain

Wilson Mountain

This full-day hike is ripe with stunning views, rare wildflowers, impressive scenery and rugged trails that are perfect for intrepid travelers. Visitors say thick forests, vast views and a memorable Sedona overlook make this climb worth the effort. Varied terrain will keep even the most expert outdoorsman interested and steep ascents of approximately 2,000 vertical feet will challenge the fittest of travelers.

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Snoopy Rock

Snoopy Rock

If you gaze at Snoopy Rock from the right angle, the red rock formation resembles the famousPeanuts dog lying on his back with Woodstock on his nose. This rock—one of the most famous in Sedona—can be spotted from a number of viewpoints, such as Marg’s Draw Trail, and the shops, restaurants, galleries, and cafés of uptown.

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