Sedona’s setting creates stunning hiking and mountain biking trails. Come see for yourself why USA Weekend voted Sedona, Arizona as one of the most beautiful places in America.
There are so many cool places to explore in Arizona, however, Sedona is my favorite area to explore. If you love nature, you can’t go wrong in Sedona. Nature is the main attraction. The stunning array of red sandstone formations entice thousands of visitors each year.
Sedona is in the northern part of the Verde Valley. The red rocks appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. They form a breathtaking backdrop for everything from spiritual pursuits to outdoor adventures.
How to get to Sedona?
From Phoenix there are two ways to get to Sedona. The quickest route via Interstate 17 and the scenic route 89A.
Top Things to See and do in Sedona Arizona
- Visit Oak Creek Canyon
- Go Fishing
- Cool off in a local swimming hole
- Take a hike or scenic drive
- See the Chapel of the Holy Cross
- Feel a Vortex
- Go off-roading or take a Jeep tour
- Shop local
Visit Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek is located just north of Sedona. Follow State Route 89A north alongside Oak Creek and drive between the canyons. If you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids stop at the Rainbow Trout Farm.
Rainbow Trout Farm
Rainbow Trout Farm has two natural springs filled with hungry Rainbow Trout. Drop an old fashioned wooden pole in and within minutes your little one will have caught their very own fish! And quite a boost to their confidence in their ability to fish. The Trout farm provides fishing poles and bait. Just grab a pole and a bucket, and ask the clerk for some bait.
They will gut and clean your fish, you can then grill your fresh catch there at the park and have a picnic or get some ice and wait until you get home.
You can also get a handful of fish food to feed the fish. When you throw the fish food in you can watch the fish jump out of the water. If you do not have the patience for fishing or simply, like us, want your kids to experience catching their own fish but haven’t had such good luck the Rainbow Trout farm is a great way to spend some time with the family. This is NOT catch and release-remember you have to pay for each fish you catch or you will be fined!
Address: 3500 State 89A
Directions: 3 miles north of uptown Sedona on your right. If you hit Slide Rock Park you have gone too far
Sedona & Oak Creek Swimming Holes
A little further north on 89A you’ll stumble upon a popular Arizona swimming hole and picnic area called Grasshopper Point. Driving north on 89A you’ll come across another very popular spot to cool off, Slide Rock State Park. Thousands of people flock here in the summer to slide down the natural rock water slide. Get here early if you want a spot to park.
Oak Creek Camping
Arizona has some of the best campgrounds. Oak Creek Canyon is home to one of our favorite places to camp: Manzanita Campground. It is a small campground right next to Oak Creek. Bootleggers, Cave Springs, Pine Flats and Chavez Crossing campgrounds are also along Oak Creek. All have great areas to explore, fish, swim, or relax.
Camp sites in Oak Creek are hard to come by and reservations are highly recommended.
Sedona Arizona Hikes
Sedona has amazing hikes. Some of the more popular hiking trails include: Cathedral Rock Trail, Bell Rock Trail, and Boynton Canyon Trail.
If you are looking for a short trail along the water, Allen’s Bend trail is a beautiful hike. A popular and one of the best fall trails in Arizona, is the West Fork trail. See Sedona’s natural arch on a hike to Devil’s Bridge.
Hike Soldier’s Pass to see the Devil’s Kitchen and the 7 Sacred Pools.
See the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
One of the most photographed spots in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross . A student of Frank Lloyd Wright’s built the Catholic chapel into a mesa. The church has a stunning view.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a Roman Catholic Chapel in Sedona. The chapel is 250 feet high and was designed by Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Built into the buttes of Sedona’s famous red rock, it has a commanding presence.
You can tour the church and admire the incredible views of the two nuns rock formation, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Courthouse Butte. It is free to walk around the grounds and visit the church. There is a gift shop at the bottom of the stairs.
Parking is limited here. There are a few parking spots off the main road if the parking lot is full. Just take a short hike up to the top. The tour is self guided and the views alone are worth a stop.
Visit a Vortex
Vortexes are created from spiritual energy. They are believed to be subtle energy centers where your spiritual and psychic powers are enhanced. Many believe spiritual vortexes are concentrated in the Sedona area.
Visit one of the following spots below to see if you can feel the energy of a vortex
- Bell Rock
- Airport Mesa
- Cathedral Rock
- Boynton Canyon
- Schnebly Hill
Shopping in Sedona Arizona
Sedona offers many places to shop just south of the “Y” intersection. This area is home to the recreated Mexican village Tlaquepaque. The Tlaquepaque Sedona shopping village is named after a suburb in Guadalajara, Mexico.
This touristy shopping area has cobblestone pathways and water fountains. It gives the impression of you are walking through a spanish village.
Tlaquepaque is home to 40+ art galleries, boutique shops, cafes and restaurants.
Local Shops Uptown
The most congested shopping area is in uptown. Here you will find boutiques, souvenir shops, restaurants, jeep tours and carriage rides. The area has some cool art sculptures all with a beautiful red rock backdrop. If you continue on 89 A west from uptown you will find many more shops and a grocery store.
West Sedona Shopping
Just west of the “Y” intersection
Yummy Places to Eat in Sedona
A nice spot to eat in Sedona is the Oak Creek Brewery. They have great view of the red rocks on the outside patio. We also love 89 Agave Catina in uptown Sedona. They have delicious Mexican food and nice area to eat outdoors and people watch.If you’re looking for a sweet treat Black Cow Cafe and the Sedona Fudge Company has some great choices.
Looking for adventure in Sedona? See the red rocks on a guided Jeep tour. There are several tours available. Alternatively, you can drive some of the same routes with your high clearance vehicle. One of our favorites off -roading drives is Schnebly Hill. The views from this area are outstanding.
Red Rock Pass – Parking in Sedona
Let’s talk about parking in Sedona. You will need a Red Rock Pass if you plan to:
- Hike on one of the dozens of trails on National Forest Land
- Stop longer than 15 minutes to see any of the gorgeous rocks around Sedona and Oak Creek.
Parking is hard to find in a lot of the popular areas in Sedona and lately that seems like everywhere. If you have your heart set on seeing a particular spot get there early.
You can purchase a daily, weekly or annul pass at the Red Rock Ranger Visitor Center and at the Oak Creek Chamber of Commerce.
There are a few free parking lots in uptown Sedona are. In addition to park on the main road there are parking meters. You can use an app or a debit/credit card to pay for the meter.