May 26, 2022, Around Town, Day Trips, Family Adventures, Outdoor Activities, Pet Friendly, Tours & Attractions
Meet Our Exploration Experts
From sunrise hikes to helicopter adventures and even advice on the best celestial stargazing experiences, our Exploration Experts are here to help you make the most of your vacation in the Grand Canyon State. Here we introduce you to our team of on-site local experts who will point you to some of the best ways to spend your days during your Sedona stay.
Get your bearings on the city while soaking up Sedona’s rich history – and plenty of sunshine – on a Red Rock Magic Trolley tour. Your 55-85 minute excursion will introduce you to the astounding scenery and cultural landmarks that make this mystical destination so desirable. After seeing the sights, make the trek to Devil’s Bridge – a 4.6-mile hike round trip that leads you to one of the Southwest’s most Instagrammable spots showcasing a 54-foot-high natural sandstone arch with sweeping views of the red rocks. Cool off in the afternoon at Slide Rock in Oak Creek Canyon, a natural water slide formed from slippery algae-covered rocks that empty into a gently flowing waterhole. The Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, an authentic recreation of a small, artsy town in Guadalajara, is a charming spot to grab a bite to eat and explore local galleries, shops, and lush garden courtyards. When you start craving a midday pick-me-up, sip a warm cup of authentic chai on a bright and airy, bohemian-style patio at The Chai Spot, where you can find delectable variations on this traditional drink including Coconut Rose Chai, Butter Chai, and Dirty Chai.
Navigating the Trails
During the warmer months, May through September, you’ll want to lace up your boots and hit the trails before sunrise to avoid both the scorching heat during the day and the dramatically cooler temperatures in the evenings. But if you want to experience the enchantment of one of the world’s 17 Dark Sky Cities, a place where light pollution is low and planetary visibility is high, there are several companies that offer stellar nighttime hiking tours, like Sedona Star Gazing. You don’t have to wander too far from the hotel to get in a good hike either; Thunder Mountain Trail to Chimney Rock is a scenic, moderately paced loop abundant in both natural vegetation and breathtaking vistas. Any trail you choose will lead you to some spectacular views, and there are plenty of trails accessible to novice and seasoned hikers throughout Sedona.
Relaxing Outdoor Activities
For anyone who’s looking for a more leisurely approach to their vacation, but craves time outside, Red Rock State Park and Crescent Moon State Park are just a 5-minute drive from the hotel. Both sites offer views of Cathedral Rock and have well-maintained trails, bathrooms, water, and picnic tables. Put your feet up, and catch a film about the flora and fauna, as well as information about the Native American culture in the area, at the Red Rock State Park’s air-conditioned movie theater. Afterward, take the scenic route up Oak Creek Canyon to Indian Gardens Café and Market for breakfast or lunch. Indulge in their selection of creative sandwiches, salads, artisan coffee drinks, handmade chocolates, pastries, picnic items, local wine, and beer. This popular spot is right next to Garlands Trading Post – a wonderful place to shop for Native American Indian jewelry, kachinas, rugs and blankets.
For the Thrillseekers
Whether you prefer getting down and dirty or soaring high in the sky, Sedona’s thrill-seeking scene doesn’t disappoint. Putting a new spin on the term “joy ride,” a two-hour Pink Jeep Broken Arrow ride will have you traversing over the area’s iconic red rocks on this exclusive trail. Learn about the geology and Native American history from your knowledgeable tour guide, and see classic Southwest landscapes at the rides’ two iconic stops: Chicken Point and Submarine Rock. Get a new perspective on the Grand Canyon State by taking a helicopter ride where you’ll glide through the air and get close up views of the remarkable red rocks. Sedona Air Tours gives guests the opportunity to have a “doors-off” ride, where you get an unobstructed look at the scenery during your fully narrated flight lasting 15, 25, or 25 minutes long.
Things to Bring
It’s essential to come prepared for a day of Arizona exploration by packing plenty of water and ample sun protection. The desert air can quickly dehydrate you, so bring more water than you think you’ll need and have easy-to-carry snacks like granola bars, trail mix, and fruit on hand. Keep a bottle of sunscreen in your bag, and add extra layers of protection with a wide brim hat, sunglasses, and UV protective clothing. Even in the spring and summer, when the sun sets, the temperature can drop dramatically, so pack layers and bring a small flashlight to use. It’s also important to carry a pocket knife, first aid kit, small mirror for emergencies, and a fully charged cell phone (bonus points if you have a portable charger too!).
Best Ways to End the Day
Before heading back to your hotel room for the day, take advantage of Sedona’s incredible sunsets with a drive up to Airport Mesa overlook, and enjoy a glass of wine on the outdoor patio at Mesa Grill at the Sedona Airport. Or take it slow and easy on Little Elf Trail towards Sugar Loaf for panoramic views of the whole city to watch the day turn to dusk. If you want to stay close to the hotel in the evening, catch a 360-degree view of the iconic rock formations visible off Cultural Park Road and explore the Centennial Trail, a paved botanical path easily accessible for those with mobility issues or wheelchairs. Keep in mind, there are no bad spots to watch the sunset in Sedona; wherever you find yourself, just step outside and see the magic for yourself.