Sedona has evolved from a small agricultural community into an artist's sanctuary and a tourist's dream. Four major regions offer significant contributions to Greater Sedona. You'll find lovely accommodations and year-round comfort with more than 40 galleries, unique shops and countless attractions.
Village of Oak Creek/Chapel Area
Located on the southernmost end of Sedona is Oak Creek, a village that offers premiere galleries, shops and a superb shopping experience at the charming
The fiery-hued rock formations you'll find in this area include the famous
Drink in fresh air and experience elevating surroundings while you continue up Highway 179 towards Sedona proper. At the "Y" junction of highways 179 and 89A, you'll find a
Turn right onto Highway 89A, and you're headed to uptown Sedona. There are shops located in a major retail plaza along the highway that are within easy walking distance.
Rich in culture, the Uptown area offers the
Outstanding accommodations in hotels and intimate bed and breakfasts are offered in Uptown. These include the European-style
Oak Creek Canyon
Follow Highway 89A North through one of the most beautiful and scenic drives in America, as noted by Rand-McNally. The tree-lined canyon offers quiet austerity and invites self-reflection as you meander through.
Many secluded spots here offer sanctuary and quiet rooms, with space to relieve your mind of daily stresses and anxiety. Charming accommodations may be found at locations like the
Hiking and fishing are two favorite pastimes in Oak Creek. Bring your fishing license during the warm months when the creek is well stocked. Take a seat on the sun-warmed rocks and contemplate the satisfying natural world.
Dappled sunlight reflects on the water at nature's playground in
If you follow Highway 89A north, you will eventually see Steamboat Rock and arrive in Flagstaff, which features the largest Ponderosa Pine forest in the world. Just a few miles West of Flagstaff, off Interstate 40, you'll find skiing, and the original Route 66 running through the charming town of Williams. This is also the town where you catch the train to see the Grand Canyon National Park for a scenic day trip.
Wind your way back down Highway 89A to the 'Y' junction at Highway 179 in downtown Sedona. Travel through this intersection to enjoy the many faces of Sedona's west side. You will find interesting shops, fine dining, including
Sedona's airport offers activities like barnstorming the canyon at the
Growing by leaps and bounds, this area has acquired a beautiful new Cultural Park and
Drive a little further west, then head south down the Lower Red Rock Loop Road for a satisfying journey into the
Many opportunities exist in the area for photography and study of the early indigenous cultures. Take a short ride to the pueblo ruins at
Sedona is a tourist haven, offering panoramic views like few other locations. At an elevation of 4,500 feet, the average year-round temperature is about 74 degrees. Appealing to visitors from all over the world, this town is the second most popular attraction in Arizona, right behind the Grand Canyon National Park.
Sedona's earliest history was written upon the face of the land with tremendous earthly upheavals, intense heat and incredible elemental force. Seas once covered the entire Verde Valley and the withdrawal of these waters created dynamic geological changes. Erosion and time have designed fanciful rock formations in memorable hues of red and orange that erupt in vivid color at day's end.
The earliest human remnants were left in Sedona by ancient peoples referred to collectively as the Desert Culture, from which sprang the Anasazi and Hohokam groups, among others. Anasazi is a Navajo name, which translates as "the ancient ones who are not us." Some researchers believe that the Hopi tribes are direct descendants of this culture.
The Sinagua, whose Spanish name means 'without water', were a hardy agrarian society that dry farmed and traded extensively in the area from about 1100-1400 AD. Commerce was not limited to nearby tribes, but flourished as a hub, trading with groups from the Pacific coastal regions as well as from South America. Salt and copper were major exported items, while imports included exotic bird feathers from South America and shells from the West Coast. There are indications that tribes put aside differences for celebrations and religious ceremonies that took place in this region. Traces of these ancient civilizations can be found hidden in the remains of the great pueblos that once housed them. The Palatki ruin, constructed by the Sinagua and located between Sedona and Clarkdale, offers glimpses of the past depicted through charcoal rock drawings of snakes and Kokopelli. Researchers believe that some of these pictographs were actually the identifying symbols of a particular family or clan. It is believed that as many as 50 people may have once resided in these two pueblos. Honanki, another nearby Sinaguan ruin, held as many as 60 rooms and the structure quality is considered world class.
Southeast of Sedona is Montezuma's Castle and nearby Montezuma's Well, fabulous examples of cliff dwellings that were also built by the Sinagua people in the same time period. The area was originally occupied by the Hohokam, who farmed the bottomland using a unique irrigation system that extended for more than a mile from the fresh springs of Montezuma's Well.
When the volcanic ash remains from an eruption farther north drew the Hohokam to more fertile lands, the Sinagua people settled in. Many changes took place for the people at this point; some theorize that they borrowed masonry techniques from the Anasazi to the north, building above ground dwellings for the first time. The Sinagua also began using the irrigation techniques of the Hohokam. Early in the 15th century, these people vanished from the area for reasons unknown today.
These early cultures left traces etched and painted on the surfaces of immoveable rocks. These renderings are referred to as 'rock art' and consist of petroglyphs, which are designs etched or scratched into the rock, as well as pictographs, where symbols are painted or drawn on. Canyon walls are also decorated with the artistic creations of these people. One Anasazi figure believed to represent fertility repeats throughout Pueblo Indian ruins in the four corners region and is called Kokopelli. This image appears as a humpbacked flute player and is a common figure found on local pottery and jewelry. Native American stories describe him as a traveling musician and scoundrel, who carried blankets, babies and seeds in his back, which he used to seduce maidens.
Europeans first arrived in this region in 1583, with a group of Spanish explorers, in search of legendary native mines in the 16th century. By the early 20th century there were about 20 families squatting here, and one of these first settlers was T.C. Schnebly and his wife. Schnebly recognized the need for mail service and petitioned the first post office, recommending several names. The Postmaster General rejected these due to the length, and Schnebly's brother suggested that he use his wife's first name. At this point the area officially became known as Sedona.
Abundant apples and peaches were Sedona's first industry, soon to be surpassed by tourism as awareness of the area's breathtaking panorama increased. Artists, including Max Ernst and others, started moving into the area by the middle of the 20th century, drawn like magnets by the region's dramatic scenery and incomparable views.
The frenetic color, scenery and open spaces here fairly scream to be captured and recorded on film. More than 70 movies have been filmed in this area over the years. More than 40 of these were filmed at A Territorial House, a local bed-and-breakfast. Red Rock Crossing's film history includes many titles like the 1950s Broken Arrow, starring James Stewart and Johnny Guitar with Joan Crawford.
More recently, tourism accounts for the local economic base. Major visitor attractions here include world-class resorts, fine dining and four Energy Vortexes, which are purported to have spiritual healing properties. Estimations show more than four million visitors come annually.
Choose to listen to the quiet whisperings of the past as you gaze at ancient ruins, or raise your awareness in the throes of spiritual energies at the vortexes. You may be altered forever by the quiet unfolding drama of the canyon and creek below, and the ebullient colors, which shout and echo from the rocks above.
With all of Sedona's majestic natural beauty and overall spirit of health and well-being, it's difficult to fight the urge to just sit on your terrace and gaze in awe. But you'd be doing a disservice to yourself and the city if you didn't pursue at least a few of the many recreational, cultural and historical opportunities that abound in the area.
Museums and Galleries
Delve into Sedona's origins at the Sedona Heritage Museum, on the original Jordan farmstead. The museum chronicles the city from its pioneering days, through its establishment as an Arizona agricultural center. Many old apple orchard implements are on display. Another local vortex of arts and creativity is known as Tlaquepaque. This gallery, shop and restaurant complex is a tribute to Spanish-style architecture and the spirit and works of Southwestern artisans. Among the many notable galleries and showcases for local talent are AvantGarden, a tiny space filled with eclectic treasures like David Russell's handmade paper musical instruments, Kuivato Gallery, featuring handmade glass sculptures, and Mountain Trails Galleries, representing more than 50 area artists, including the limited-edition bronzes of Scott Rogers. Gain insight into the area's distant past at the Tuzigoot National Monument in nearby Clarkdale. One of the Southwest's most remarkably preserved pueblos, inhabited about a thousand years ago by the Sinagua Indians, the museum contains artifacts from the 110 room ruins.
Living geographical history can be seen and explored at Slide Rock State Park, which has an awesome natural 70 foot waterslide you wont' soon forget. On your way to and from Slide Rock, you will be wowed by the spectacular cliffs and gorges of Oak Creek Canyon. The wonders of Sedona wildlife also abound at Red Rock State Park, a nearly 300 acre riparian refuge and preserve.
The city's newest and most magnificent performing arts venue, Sedona Cultural Park, hosts concerts and theatre events in a stunning outdoor amphitheater. The Georgia Frontiere Pavilion is home to the annual Sedona Jazz on the Rocks festival in September and also the site of the Sedona International Film Festival and Workshop every March.
Custom-designed clothing, jewelry and gifts can be found at Call O' The Canyon and The Blue-Eyed Bear. While you are in a shopping mode, visit the Prime Factory Outlets, just a bit farther south on State Route 179 for great deals on name brand clothing, housewares, books, leather goods and luggage. More than 30 stores including Anne Klein, IZOD, Van Heusen and the Book Warehouse are open daily.
You might imagine that, once Sedona's sun sets, it is time to say good night. Think again! The excitement takes on a whole new dimension. Casa Rincon, the Spanish-inspired restaurant and lounge, comes alive with fiery Flamenco entertainment and live bands. Oak Creek Brewing Company and Canyon Breeze are perfect places to toast the Sedona sunset and stay for a meal and music. Billiards is also big, with resort-style recreation at Steaks & Sticks and local, blue collar competition at PJ's Village Pub's Thursday night tournaments. On the west side of town, the Laughing Coyote is a favorite gathering spot for weekend drinking and dancing.
To rope the rustic romance of Sedona, you need not look very hard. Whether you crave a cozy cabin, a three-diamond resort, or modest motel, Sedona has a room with a view where you can hang your hat. Most accommodations can be found in four major areas: Uptown Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, West Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek, just outside of town.
Village of Oak Creek/Chapel Area
Guests at the Bell Rock Inn dine with a view at the on-site restaurant. Located near the Tuzigoot National Monument, the Alma de Sedona is a bed and breakfast that offers comfort and style in its 10 different guest rooms.
Guests at the Inn on Oak Creek Bed & Breakfast can slip into a two-person Jacuzzi after a long day's exploring. Travelers staying at Poco Diablo Resort can make their way across the green lawn to the on-site restaurant, T. Carl's, which offers sumptuous Southwestern fare and overlooks the golf course. A short distance away is The Desert Quail Inn, a casual haunt with reasonable room rates.
Morning light touches the rooftops of the exclusive country French cottages at L'Auberge de Sedona, where breakfast warms in a lavish European lodge. Nearby is the homely Apple Orchard Inn, conveniently located by Red Rock State Park.
Guests at the Arroyo Roble Hotel have the option of a game on the rolling greens of the Sedona Golf Resort. Tlaquepaque's artisan village is also not far from the hotel, and offers a welcome break from a busy day.
Oak Creek Canyon
Morning stretches like a shadow into Oak Creek Canyon, where guests can lounge on a sun-soaked redwood deck at Junipine Resort.
The surroundings at the Briar Patch Inn offer plenty of opportunities for snapping photos. Not far away is Pine Flats Campground, where you can spend the weekend roughing it in the forest.
At the lovely Kokopelli Suites, outdoor enthusiasts can saddle up for an outing with Trail Horse Adventures and return to take a dip in the swimming pool. Tourists looking for less costly accommodations can stop at Days Inn, which is close to the American Indian pueblo at Walnut Canyon National Monument.
At Boots & Saddles Bed and Breakfast, a cowboy's heart is dressed to the nines in character and comfort. Guests at the popular Best Western relax on the open terrace and watch the light deepen from orange to red.