Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

          After my first visit to Sedona last month, I found myself wondering why I had never been there before. It does take a little doing to get to this off the beaten path destination in the middle of Arizona, but all of your efforts will be rewarded many times over. Whether you make the 12 hour drive from San Francisco or the 7 hour drive from Los Angeles or just fly into Phoenix which is only 118 miles from Sedona, it’s a trip well worth taking. The stunning red rock scenery surrounding this small resort town will blow your mind! After a day of hiking or sightseeing, you can relax and unwind while strolling down the main street lined with boutique and new-age shops, restaurants and art galleries. For a dose of spiritual and physical energy, be sure to pause for a moment in a vortex. Accommodations are plentiful, but reservations are definitely recommended.

Scenery Surrounding Sedona, Arizona

Scenery Surrounding Sedona, Arizona

Nearby Sights

          If you’re arriving by car via Flagstaff, you’ll drive through Oak Creek Canyon, a gorge forged by a river with some breathtaking scenery. You’ll want to stop at Oak Creek Canyon Vista on your way down for a view of what’s ahead. The winding road can be a bit hair-raising at times, but just take it slow and enjoy the ride. You’ll pass by Slide Rock State Park and other campgrounds before arriving in Sedona and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a glimpse of an Elk or two…truly magnificent animals. There are many other points of interest nearby besides the main downtown area. Just outside Sedona is the Catholic Chapel of the Holy Cross, perched on a butte overlooking the valley below…definitely worth a stop! Nearby, you’ll get an up close and personal look at the huge Courthouse Butte, a red monolith so named because it looks so much like a castle. If you’re looking for an easy hike with some beautiful scenery, try the Fay Canyon Trail just out of town. You’d be hard put to find a more pleasant place to pass a couple of hours.

Hiking in Fay Canyon near Sedona, Arizona

Hiking in Fay Canyon near Sedona, Arizona

Shopping

          Sedona and the surrounding area is a shopper’s paradise, especially if you like Native American crafts, jewelry and other Western items. One of my favorite places is Son Silver West located a little south of the main drag. It’s an indoor-outdoor gallery of unique items and you could spend hours looking at everything they have. Their wares run the gamut, from classic artwork to Mexican trinkets. Just north of the main drag, Clear Creek Trading is another large shop loaded with interesting souvenirs, art work and craft projects. If you like Kachina Dolls, check out the Kachina House west of town. This unpretentious building houses an amazing collection of Native American dolls, arranged in museum fashion. It’s operated by a friendly group of knowledgeable ladies who will guide you through the vast array of items. Finally, no visit to Sedona would be complete without numerous stops at the outdoor Native American tables, where friendly vendors sell their own crafts at reasonable prices. For a good sampling of Indian artwork, check out the group of tables located just north of town on Highway 89A and the ones at the Oak Creek Canyon Vista mentioned above. You’ll enjoy visiting with these genuine local Native American artisans keeping their proud culture alive…and you can get all of your Christmas shopping done in one place!

Courthouse Butte from Chapel of the Holy Cross

Courthouse Butte from Chapel of the Holy Cross

Day Trips from Sedona, Arizona

          There are endless attractions near Sedona, Arizona…enough to keep you busy for weeks. There’s the pre-Columbian cliff dwellings at Walnut Canyon National Monument, the Tuzigoot pueblo ruins, the Petrified Forest National Park and the Meteor Crater, to name just a few. With only a week to explore this incredible region, those sights will have to wait until my next visit, as if I needed an excuse to go back! We did get to Jerome, an old mining town perched on a steep hillside overlooking the beautiful Verde Valley. There are lots of shops and restaurants in this easily walkable town thirty miles southwest of Sedona. Between Jerome and Sedona is the town of Cottonwood, located in the Verde River Valley. There are two places you absolutely must see in this quaint little hamlet. First, you have to visit ‘Larry’s Antiques and Things’, featuring two acres of ‘antiques, collectables and treasures’. Then you must go to the Blazin’ M Ranch for their Chuck Wagon Supper and Western Stage Show. This place is bound to please everyone in your group, from kids to seniors. With its old west town attractions and shops, a delicious and plentiful barbeque dinner and an awesome show featuring the Blazin’ M Cowboys you’ll feel like a genuine buckaroo by the time you head home. This was truly one of the highlights of our trip to the Sedona area! Be sure to check out our next articles featuring two more day trips from Sedona…The Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.

Western Show at the Blazin' M Ranch, Cottonwood, Arizona

Western Show at the Blazin’ M Ranch, Cottonwood, Arizona

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