Sedona is a place I have no problem visiting over and over.
The Red Rocks have a way to charm your heart and warm your body. You will not mind taking a look at the same pinnacle of rock from the different perspectives.
As much as I liked the area, my first visit was a little bit surprising.
My grand plans to visit certain attractions were truncated by facts nobody told me or by details I found nowhere when researching the area.
That is why this post came to life. These are the things I wish I have known before visiting Sedona.
Hope they are helpful!
1. The best sunset views are from Airport Mesa.
2. A stop at the Visitor’s Center is a must. The place contains tons of information about Sedona, the surrounding areas and the state of Arizona. There are many welcoming attendants willing to help visitors.
3. As much as I liked the Visitor’s Center, I wasn’t convinced by the hiking information they provided. They were not able to provide accurate information or locate trailheads in a map. For hiking information, you should consult a specialized website or guidebook, a local outfitter or a guide.
4. It is also helpful to carry trail maps. Trails in the area break at different points and it is not clear which way to take. Other hikers do not necessarily know the trails either (unless you bump into a local who have hiked the trail many times).
5. And talking about maps, remember Sedona is rugged and wild. Be prepared to lose cell phone reception. That is why maps, not only of trails but of the entire area, are necessary.
6. Uptown Sedona is plagued by timeshare agencies (a total bummer, I know). They will usually offer cheap deals, helicopter rides, cash and other valuables in order to get you to their sales room (of course, they are going to invite you to tour a resort). I say, if you are not interested in buying something, do not waste your time and avoid getting into a high pressure situation.
7. And, now that I mention Uptown Sedona, a lot of people consider it a total tourist trap or soul less place. I am not going to take sides. I will just say I enjoyed the town’s views, galleries and interesting shops.
8. There is also the West part of Sedona. Food and other things are a little bit cheaper there.
9. For good Mexican food, visit Tortas de Fuego.
10. Do not miss the Oak Creek Canyon Vista
11. The West Fork Trail is awesome too! Check this post from my friends at The Road Less Traveled.
12. By the way, a lot of the main attractions and trails (Devil’s Bridge, Shaman’s Cave, Sacred Pools, Schenebly Hill, etc.) are off limits for people without a for 4 x 4 vehicle.
13. There are Jeep rentals in town (but again you will need certain direction).
14. Please, do not attempt to take your rental car (different from a 4 x 4) off road. Things can get ugly.
15. The area is notorious for its roundabouts (circular intersections). You would think these are not a problem. After all, common sense should dictate the navigation rules. Well, it is not so simple. You would be surprise by the dumb things people do at those intersections. Lesson Learned: Be careful because the person driving the car next to you may not have an idea on how to move around.
16. A lot of people (locals and visitors) seem to be obsessed with Elote Café (upscale, modern Mexican food). Consequently, the lines to get in, are super long. I heard the trick of getting in is to annotate yourself in the list early, leave and return afterwards. They will move you to the top of the list since you name was already there.
17. A Red Rock Pass is needed if you want to park in certain areas of the Coconino Forest. I bought my pass and, afterwards, realized I didn’t need one (because I parked in areas where the pass was not needed). If you want to save some money, verify that you actually need a pass for the stops you are planning to make.
18. Or, you can choose to buy a pass and support the area’s landscape.
19. The ChocolaTree Organic Eatery is the perfect place to find yummy vegetarian food.
20. Guided Jeep tours abound in the area (the most famous being the Pink Jeep Tours). If you are a first time visitor, want to learn more about the area or do not have the correct vehicle, these would be a great option.
21. For people on a budget or traveling with several family members, a Jeep tour may not be the most cost effective option. Do not worry. Touring on your own is easy. Start by driving along Hwy 179 and stopping at the multiple view points. Make sure to stop at the Chapel of the Holy Cross and at the base of Bell Rock.
22. There are two ways to get to Sedona’s most famous view, the Red Rock Crossing (Cathedral Rock reflected over the Oak Creek). The first option is to use the Verde Valley School Road (accessed thru Hwy 179) and hike to the crossing (free). The second option is to go to the Crescent Moon Ranch Park (accessed thru Hwy 89A, $10 fee). If you are up for adventure, go for option one. For easy access and almost no walking, choose option number two.
23. It is difficult to get away for Sedona but recognize the town is in the middle of an area surrounded by many attractions. You can visit historic towns (Cottonwood, Jerome), board a train, visit Indian ruins / petroglyphs (Montezuma Castle, Honanki, Palatki, V-Bar-V Ranch), go on safari (Out of Africa) or wine taste.
24. The Coffee Pot Restaurant claims it serves 101 types of omelets.
25. Vortexes are swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from the surface of the earth. It is believed that the energy that exists at these locations interacts with who a person is inside and strengthens the interior. Experts on the topic claim there are at least four vortexes in Sedona. Visit and judge by yourself.
26. There are several picnic and camping sites in the area. For more information, take a look here.
27. For cabin cottages, check Briar Patch Inn or L’Auberge (both are pricey).
28. For cheap delicious food, try Simon’s Gourmet Hot Dogs. They have some interesting combinations and believe me, you are going to think about hot dogs differently after trying this place.
29. Be prepared for temperature changes. When I visited, mornings where cold (as low as 40 degrees in fall) but by noon I was hot with all the walking and hiking.
30. Cool down during summer at the Slide Rock State Park.
31. If you are thinking about pampering and relaxation, there are a lot of resorts and spas in the area.
Have you been to Sedona? What other tips can you add?
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