Sedona is known for its stunning red-rock beauty and outdoor recreation paradise. But there’s something more that pulls people back.
Some say it’s the handful of vortexes, centered on rock formations like Cathedral Butte and Airport Mesa, believed to be special energy centers that offer inspiration and healing. Whether you hike one of the popular vortexes, take a yoga class or simply enjoy sitting by your hotel pool, Sedona is the ultimate place to focus on wellness. Even world-renowned speaker and author Deepak Chopra hosts self-realization retreats here.
But while everyone is hiking Sedona’s vortexes—the iconic rock formations believed to be special energy centers—we have a tip for you.
Sedona has seven places that locals treasure, a collection of stunningly beautiful hiking trails with all the solitude but none of the traffic of the vortexes. But first, find out how you can explore Sedona more sustainably when you check out the Sedona Cares Pledge at SedonaCares.com.
For starters, hike the Chimney Rock Loop, an easy 2.6-mile walk, that offers great sunset views.
Or head to Huckaby Trail, a 5.6-mile trail that lets you dip your feet in Oak Creek and also get gorgeous high-ridge views. At night, see more stars than you ever imagined hanging above the iconic Snoopy Rock. Get your Red Rock Pass and park at Marg’s Draw Trailhead. Turn off your headlights for spectacular stargazing.
Then pack water and sunscreen the next morning to hike the 2-mile out-and-back Schuerman Mountain Trail, one of Sedona’s oldest trails. You’ll head up the flanks of an extinct volcano, gaining 350 feet to spectacular panoramic views.
While hiking, keep a respectful distance from any wildlife you might see and never feed them. In addition, stay on the trail to avoid erosion and damage to the plants growing in the fragile desert ecosystem.If you do happen to come across historic structures or artifacts, please don’t move them or touch them. Leave them where you found them for others to see.
Afterwards, head to town for some of the best food in the Southwest followed by a stroll in and out of the 80 vibrant art galleries lining the streets of this town of 10,000.
Dine inside or on one of three patios at The Hideaway House near the Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village. It serves traditional rustic Italian with fun twists like peach and pancetta pizza. Try The Hudson on the southern end of town for an industrial chic setting serving New American food like prickly pear BBQ baby back ribs. For fantastic southwestern food uptown, eat at Elote Cafe for dishes like grilled Niman Ranch skirt steak with pasilla chile sauce, guacamole and cilantro.
“We have a lot more than just the outdoors,” says Michelle Conway, director of marketing at Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau. “It’s a great place to relax and reconnect. It’s also a wonderful cultural destination. Take home that special art piece to remind you of your visit to magnificent red rock country.”
Home to more than 80 galleries, this town of 10,000 has solidified itself as a haven for art collectors. Seek out locally-made products, rather than imported, that help keep the local economy and artisans thriving. Sedona’s artsy roots stretch back thousands of years. To get a sense of its deep history, stop at V Bar V Ranch, the largest rock art site in the area with more than 1,000 petroglyphs.
Before you visit a vortex: Sedona’s main vortexes require parking passes. Stop by the Sedona Visitor Center at 331 Forest Rd. for your parking pass, a map, and directions. While you are there, you can get advice and information from Sedona experts.
What to bring: Water, sun block, and a respectful intent. These places are held sacred by Native Americans and religions. Please come with an open mind and reverence.
Learn more at the Sedona Visitor Information Center, 331 Forest Rd., or at visitsedona.com.
Three Nearby Gems to Explore Responsibly
Slide Rock State Park
Wear your jeans to slide down a slick natural water chute or wade in the creek seven miles north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon. Tip: Visit in the off season as this park is popular to crowds during summer.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Stay the night in one of eight log camping cabins or spend the day fishing or on a horse trail ride.
Red Rock State Park
Go on full-moon hikes, bird walk or spot monarch butterflies at this hidden gem.
For more information go to azstateparks.com or call 877-697-2757 to make camping or RV reservations.
Calling All Foodies… Sedona’s Restaurants
Despite its small size, Sedona is a magnet for food lovers. Here are some of our favorites.
Cowboy Club Grille & Spirits
For a true western experience, dine amid casual country western decor and order wild rattlesnake cakes and elk chops, along with steaks, burgers and salads. 241 Hwy. 89A; 928-282-4200; cowboyclub.com
Dahl & DiLuca
A longtime Sedona favorite, you’ll experience fine dining with impeccable service, live piano music and incredible Italian food, including homemade pastas. 2321 Hwy. 89A; 928-282-5219; dahlanddiluca.com
The vibrant Mexican-inspired flavors in each dish take dining to a new level. Put your name in at 4:30 p.m. at this first-come, first-served favorite. 771 Hwy. 179; 928-203-0105; elotecafe.com