Sometimes you’ll hear a destination described as “like X, but also Y.” Sedona is not one of those places. The identity of this Arizona town is squarely rooted in its main attraction, red rocks so majestic, words don’t do justice. Sure, there are other things—like crystal shops and a solid dining scene—but you really go for the crimson-tinged monoliths, mountains, and spires.
Sedona is scorching in the summer (we’re talking upward of 100 degrees) and gets quite chilly in the winter. Snow and ice is another issue. This can cause road closures, on top of making hiking difficult and climbing dangerous. Some paths are even off-limits during the frosty months. And while fall may woo travelers with its leaf-peeping opportunities, spring is by far the best time to visit. Expect sunny skies, pleasant temps, and colorful desert flowers. Basically, it’s the perfect season for outdoor activities.
Obviously, exploring the sandstone formations should be on the top of your to-do list. Sedona boasts more than 150 scenic trails. (Side note: We highly recommend the AllTrails app, which lets you search thousands of scenic routes—and sort by difficulty. It also provides helpful info, maps, detailed reviews, and photos.) Novices can start with Fay Canyon. For expert-level trekkers, there’s the grueling odyssey up Humphrey’s Peak. Adrenaline junkies love scrambling to the top of Cathedral Rock and crossing Devil’s Bridge.
Another great way to soak in all the rust-colored splendor? The famous Pink Jeep Tours. Visitors can choose the type of guided off-road adventure—from moderately rugged journeys to more extreme excursions—all involve custom-built, bubble-gum-hued vehicles.
Conveniently, all roads lead back to Uptown, where you’ll find an array of stores, galleries, and restaurants. Speaking of eats, we’d be remiss not to mention Elote Café, a walk-in only Mexican joint renowned for its signature fire-roasted corn and smoked pork cheeks. People line up just to be part of the first wave of diners when it opens at 5 p.m. Whatever time you go, prepare to wait. At least spiced popcorn and prickly pear margaritas make a few hours fly by in a flash. Venture a bit farther from Uptown and you’ll come across The Hudson, a hillside eatery serving contemporary American comfort food and equally delectable views.
Sedona is also known as a spiritual place, famed for its energy vortexes. Among the most renowned mystical spots are found at Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, and Boynton Canyon. And you can do yoga at these transformational center! Yep, vortex vinyasa is a popular pursuit. Of course, there’s more than one mode of connecting with nature. While you’re on the wellness train, unwind with a sacred stone massage or creekside reflexology at L’Auberge de Sedona. Rounding out our recommendations, a romantic hot air balloon ride you’ll never forget.