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Things to Do in Sedona

A combination of hippie enclave, cowboy paradise, and snowbird resort town, Sedona pushes the limits—in a good way. Surrounded by 1.8 million acres (728,000 hectares) of national forest land, the Arizona town attracts those who love the wild to explore its countless options for hiking, biking, and off-roading tours, especially in pursuit of killer desert views and stunning sunsets. Adrenaline junkies might opt for a zipline trip or an off-road tour. Take a Jeep tour of the city’s “rock stars” such as the famous Red Rock State Park, Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, Capitol Butte, and Chimney Rock, all accessible within a couple hours of downtown; or go even further on popular day tours to Antelope Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Horseshoe Bend. Helicopter tours promise clear aerial views of the major sites and a deeper understanding of why Sedona is nicknamed “rock country,” while whitewater-rafting trips down the Colorado River will wash all thoughts of the desert away. Sedona also offers off-road trips to Native American ruins that educate on the region’s long history of human habitation (dating back to 11,500 B.C.), tours that explore the town’s spiritual side and energy vortexes, and others that hunt for paranormal activity in the nearby town of Jerome.
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Boynton Canyon Trail
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14 Tours and Activities

Boynton Canyon Trail’s breathtaking red rocks views and easy passes make it one Sedona’s most accessible hikes. Travelers find impressive panoramic landscapes early in the three-mile trek, where open desert, lush foliage and sky-high canyon views reign supreme. And while some say this accessible hike ends in a rather anti-climactic way because box canyon walls stretch up on either side, ancient Sinaguan Indian ruins and tons of biodiversity make it a memorable outdoor experience for visitors to Sedona.

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Red Rock State Park
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6 Tours and Activities

With stunning views of soaring, deep red cliffs everywhere you look, Red Rock State Park is truly a sight for sore eyes. Trails slice through this 286-acre nature preserve, winding through manzanita juniper and eventually leading to the banks of Oak Creek. The creek crawls its way through the park, creating the rich setting of abundant vegetation and diverse wildlife.

An afternoon spent hiking along the park's copious trails is the perfect way to enjoy Arizona's scenic natural beauty. The park's visitor center offers numerous daily activities for guests, including bird walks, nature walks, and various naturalist activities. Anyone who considers themselves a lover of the great outdoors will definitely want to make a stop by Red Rock State Park to see the gorgeous diversity in landscape and wildlife that the desert has to offer.

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Cathedral Rock
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Urban centers like New York and Chicago tend to get the most cred for their scenic skylines, but Cathedral Rock, in the heart of Arizona’s peaceful Sedona, has inched towards fame with its picturesque natural skyline, where towering vibrant red rocks meet clear blue sky.

Located in Coconino National Forest, the steep ascent to this famous land formation draws travelers in search of a challenging hike, clear desert air, breathtaking views and wide-open space. And while the trail is only a short 1.5 miles, a quick 600-feet elevation change means parts of the passage can be a real scramble. Pack water, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a serious climb with views that are truly worth it.

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Oak Creek Canyon
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58 Tours and Activities

The 16-mile gorge of Oak Creek Canyon is an outdoor wonderland that’s ripe with rusty red hills, towering trees and impressive waterfalls. Area campgrounds and picnic sites are available throughout the park, catering to visitors eager to explore some of the dozen or so trails that crisscross what’s commonly referred to as the cousin of the Grand Canyon.

Hiking newbies can meander along easier paths, like the 2.9 mile Long Canyon Trail or the shorter Vultee Arch Trail, while the more advance can head out on Casner Canyon Trail or the A.B. Young. Serious outdoor lovers can trek along the 9.5 mile Long Canyon Trail, where a 1,5000 fee rise in elevation means spectacular views and an even better workout. Just be prepared to get your feet wet, since creek crossings are common on many of the park’s scenic trails.

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Snoopy Rock
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This iconic rock may be Sedona’s most famous red rock destination. Named for its uncanny resemblance to the cartoon dog, visitors can see the popular pup relaxing on his doghouse from a number of nearby viewpoints.

Snoopy Rock has made travelers crack a smile since its name was first given and visitors agree you won’t even have to squint to find the massive homage Mother Nature paid to Charles Shultz. Nearby Lucy Rock, named for its resemblance to Charlie Brown’s famous friend, rounds out the Peanuts experience for travelers to this iconic Sedona spot.

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Chapel of the Holy Cross
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31 Tours and Activities

This chapel in the red rocks of Sedona is literally built into the side of a hill. And while it may be a spot for religious contemplation and quiet prayer, it’s also home to some of the area’s most breathtaking views, including epic sunsets over pristine desert landscape.

As in most chapels, the benches of this tiny structure face an altar made for worship, but what makes Chapel of the Holy Cross unique is the massive windows that overlook some of the state’s most impressive and picturesque scenery.

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Bell Rock
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20 Tours and Activities

Stunning scenery, epic red rock landscapes and wide-open skies are just part of what makes a trip to Sedona’s Bell Rock a memorable travel experience. Visitors can navigate the destination’s five trails, which range from an easy hike between the Courthouse Vista Parking Lot and the Base of Bell Rock, to more challenging routes, like the moderate climb to Upper Bell Rock Trail or the most strenuous option, known as The Ascent. Travelers will catch incredible views of Chicken Point, Submarine Rock and Chapel of the Holy Cross—true icons of Arizona’s famed Red Rock State Park—from various lookouts along Bell Rock’s multiple trails.

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More Things to Do in Sedona

Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village

Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village

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Most travelers venture to Sedona to get back to nature, get outdoors and get up close to Arizona’s stunning red rocks. But the unique shops, handmade crafts and tasty restaurants of Tlaquepaque offer visitors a chance to experience another part of Sedona—its artist community.

Visitors can wander the 40 specialty shops that make up this laid-back shopping destination and bare witness to artisans at work. Whether its blowing glass, painting an Arizona landscape or throwing a pot in one of Tlaquepaque’s studios, a visit to Tlaquepaque puts travelers in touch with the artists and offers a one-of-a-kind experience that’s sure to be a memorable part of any Sedona trip.

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Oak Creek Vista

Oak Creek Vista

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Visitors to Oak Creek Canyon would be wise to stop at this scenic viewpoint for a bird’s eye view of the rolling Arizona landscape. A well-kept lookout lined with Native American artisans selling handmade jewelry proves a popular destination for tourists and photographers alike. Though visitors warn Oak Creek Vista can get crowded, most agree its epic views are worth the trip.

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Airport Mesa

Airport Mesa

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14 Tours and Activities

Airport Mesa is more than its quirky name suggests. The scenic trail loop guides travelers along well-marked paths that lead to panoramic views of the city’s iconic red rock landscape. Outdoor enthusiasts agree Airport Mesa is one of Mother Nature’s most impressive local wonders, but with occasional old-school aircraft flying overhead, there’s still a nod to some modern marvels, too.

The 3.5-mile loop has just a 200-foot elevation change, but its uninterrupted views of Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Cockscomb and Chimney Rock make it one of the area’s most scenic treks.

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