Saturday, November 4, 2023

Sedona: The Most Beautiful and Mystical Place in America


Sedona, AZ, is considered one of the most mystical tourist destinations in the United States. The town is filled with brilliant views of red rock mountains, powerful energy vortexes, colorful local art, and stunning hiking trails. The best times to visit are from March to June and from October to February.

The Arizona landscape bursts with colorful wildflowers in the Spring, particularly after heavy winter rains.  Sedona is a nature lover’s paradise. The rich orange and red tones of the dramatic canyons, red rock butte formations, and sheer mountain ridges make for the best views and incredible sunsets you’ve ever seen. There are too many to list here, so just check out these spectacular places here:

Sedona is noted for its mild climate and vibrant arts community. Uptown Sedona is dense with New Age shops, spas, and art galleries. On the town’s outskirts, numerous trailheads access Red Rock State Park, which offers bird-watching, hiking, and picnicking spots. A great place to purchase Pic-Nic items is the Whole Foods Market, 1420 W State Rte 89A, open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Tourist Office Sedona:

Visit this place where friendly, knowledgeable employees help you with valuable information

361 Forest Rd, Sedona

Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m

The Amitabha Stupa Peace Park 

Open every day from dawn until dusk and your visit is free of charge. Reach it through Andante Drive, turning to the north from Rd 89A in West Sedona. Head out on this 0.3-mile loop trail. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 7 min to complete.  

Sedona's Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park is a must-visit destination for spiritual seekers the world over. The Buddhist Amitabha Stupa is an outdoor venue for prayer, meditation, and spiritual renewal for people of all faiths. In the park, you will find two Buddhist stupas, a Native American medicine wheel, an exquisite wooden statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, and numerous quiet spots for meditation and quiet contemplation. You will experience peace in a quiet, sacred setting.

Tlaquepaque Art District

Nestled beneath the shade of the sycamores on the banks of beautiful Oak Creek in Sedona, Tlaquepaque features art galleries, craft shops, cobblestone paths & decorative arches. Tlaquepaque, meaning the “best of everything,” has been a significant Sedona landmark since the 1970s. Just walking around Tlaquepaque is an adventure in discovery.

Authentically fashioned after a traditional Mexican village, many visitors from Hispanic countries come here to celebrate their "Quinceaneras", a celebration for 15-year-old girls. As far as the eye can see bursts of vibrant-colored flowers are everywhere, and if your timing is just right, you may hear the peal of the Tlaquepaque Chapel bells in joyful celebration of another Sedona destination wedding. 

Make sure to visit the Chapel, which holds a very special place in the Tlaquepaque Village. Vine-covered stucco walls, cobble-stoned walkways, and magnificent arched entryways give you the feeling that Tlaquepaque has been here for centuries. 

Tasteful galleries and unique shops live in harmony with its lush natural environment where giant sycamore trees stand in testimony to the care taken in preserving the timeless beauty of the Tlaquepaque grounds. It would be hard to find more beautiful surroundings anywhere to create an experience like no other.

Originally conceived as an artist community, Tlaquepaque is a perfect setting to witness gifted Sedona artisans absorbed in their work. It's not uncommon to venture upon a well-known sculptor working on his or her latest piece right in one of the Tlaquepaque galleries. 

Morning Balloon Ride

Balloon Tours

Scenic Hot Air Balloon rides over Sedona's magnificent Red Rock Country: The fun begins with the exciting inflation of the balloon, and before you know it, you’re soaring with the eagles! Watch the sunrise during your ascent. After your gentle lift-off, you’ll be gliding over Sedona’s gorgeous Red Rock Country. The views are simply incredible!

Watch the sunrise during the ascent and after a gentle lift-off you’ll be gliding over the gorgeous Red Rock Country. Sedona’s natural wonders and wildlife sightings will delight you as you float calmly with the air currents.  After a peaceful landing, the chase crew and a commemorative celebratory toast await you. Your pilot will tell you the exciting history of ballooning. 

The balloon flights are fully insured and the commercially licensed pilots are authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration.  All pilots have intimate knowledge of the mountains and canyons you’ll be exploring and will serve as fascinating guides to this adventure!  

Dress comfortably for outdoor activities. Early morning attire will depend on the season in which you are flying. Sensible flat-soled, closed-toe shoe recommended.  It will actually feel warmer in a balloon than on the ground because you float along with the wind, not against it.  We fly 7 days a week - only at Sunrise, weather permitting. Price: $350 per passenger

Sedona Heritage Museum
1000 years ago, hunter-gatherers evolved into the Native Americans we know as Sinagua, who farmed and traded with faraway tribes. But the Sedona Heritage Museum focuses on ‘modern’ history from 1876 to the present:
  • Jim Thompson, the First Settler arrived in 1876
  • How Sedona got its name
  • Sedona's Orchard Industry
  • The Golden Age of Western Movies
  • Ranching and Real Cowboys
  • Pioneers & Community
The Museum is open daily from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed on major holidays.
735 Jordan Rd. in Sedona

The city of Sedona offers free transportation to Cathedral Rock, Dry Creek Vista, Little Horse, Mescal, and Soldiers Pass trailhead areas year-round, Thursday through Sunday.  However, make sure to check the shuttle schedule as the last shuttle of the day may depart the trailhead before sunset, which means you will have a longer walk back to your car if you are not able to park at the trailhead.

More than a million people have used the transit system to arrive at their hiking trails safely.  It is a very popular alternative to finding parking spots at the busiest trails.  Park and ride lots fill up quickly during peak seasons, therefore it is important to arrive early and bring patience.

Cathedral Rock e-Bikes 

They supply you with the best of eBikes in several different sizes to appeal to every rider.  4’’10-6’6 age is not an issue, but being physically fit is recommended. The bikes are heavier than a regular bike which might make it more difficult to handle if not used to riding bikes. These bikes are designed to fit most levels of bike riding expertise. They also offer organized bike tours with local guides. 

2550W State Route 89A

Waiting for the Sunset


Sedona is perfect for stargazing at almost any time of the year. The only season of the year where it can be difficult to see clear skies is around July and August during the “monsoon season” every year during this time when big storms occur. The desert is cold at night, so you may need to bring a jacket. As with any nighttime outing, you should bring your cell phone along for safety reasons.

One of the biggest benefits of Sedona being so far north of Phoenix is the lack of big lights. Sedona and the surrounding communities truly appreciate being able to look up at the stars every night and gaze upon the beauty of the cosmos. Here are some of the spots:

Beaverhead Flat Scenic Overlook 

This little-known spot is perfect for stargazing. Simply Take State Route 179 and exit at the Beaverhead Flat Road, then drive one mile west.

Dry Creek Road

This road is very far away from the city lights. You will find several parking lots along the way along with various small trailheads. You can park the car and simply sit on the hood and gaze up at the stars or you can park along the side of the road. You will find “Dry Creek Road” in West Sedona.

Organized Stargazing Excursion

Get a peek at the astronomical wonders of the Arizona night sky during this nighttime stargazing excursion. Led by professional astronomers, the tour includes an introduction to the solar system using a high-powered laser pointer. Use specialized telescopes to see close-up views of planets, galaxies, star clusters, and nebula.

Seven Canyons 4X4-Wheel Tour from Sedona

Marvel in the beauty of Arizona’s famous red rock country on this two-hour small-group tour through the area on a Jeep. Discover breathtaking views of ancient canyons and magnificent sandstone formations. A personal guide will clue you into Sedona’s ecology and history, which includes evidence of human life dating back to 11,500 BC.

Sedona is Super Fido-Friendly!
If you want your furry friends to be part of the adventure, then Sedona is your destination.  There are over fifty pet-friendly hotels and restaurants with beautiful views and pet-pleasing outdoor dining.  Whether it's strolling in town, hiking the trails, or just launching in the hotel, pets are welcome. Fido is even invited to local jeep and wine tours. 

Early to bed, and early to rise ...
Wherever you go, hitting the trails, arriving at restaurants, buying groceries, or choosing a spot to watch the sunset - come early.  Sedona is popular! At certain times there are even traffic jams as the city has only two main drags due to its location in a narrow valley.

Another Great Tip for Sedona

If you're staying in town for the day, plenty of Sedona is easily traversable on foot. Plenty of the shops and restaurants are within walking distance of each other, so once you've found the right spot to park or have yourself dropped off at, you can spend hours without having to worry about getting back in a vehicle.

However, parking is the most challenging part when searching for the best sunset spots in Sedona. That is one of the reasons I included several scenic drives with great sunset views of the surrounding area without having to fight for a parking spot.  But if you want to watch the sunset along one of Sedona’s most popular hikes, take the free Sedona shuttle or the Hop-On-Hop-Off  “Verde Shuttle” bus.

Two of the park and ride lots can be accessed using the Verde Shuttle. The Verde Shuttle is $1 per ride, and it even drives to Cottonwood 15 miles away. Their website is in ten languages, from Arabic to Spanish.

The Verde Shuttle offers hop-on hop-off bus service throughout Sedona, every hour, from 6 AM to 10 PM, seven days a week. And the price is only $1.00 per ride. Guests can hop on and off the shuttle at more than 30 locations throughout Sedona– including stops near all the major destinations and hotels. Your best bet may be the Sedona Shuttle.

Wherever you drive in Sedona, you will see these majestic, towering rock formations

Sedona Airport - the Most Scenic in America

Located on a tabletop mountain - aka Mesa: The approach and departure are spectacular!  But be not distracted from these sights and be aware that high altitude, high temperatures, and high humidity impact aircraft and engine performance at 4,830 ft. High-density altitude conditions result in longer takeoff and landing distances and shallow climb gradients. After all, it’s mountain flying!  

  • High-elevation - check density altitude
  • Calm wind runway is 03 for landing and 21 for departures
  • Remember the runway slope! It does have an impact on your take-off and landing rolls
  • Sedona has diverse weather throughout the year 
  • Expect turbulence even on calm, clear days
  • Be a good neighbor and be noise-sensitive
  • Sedona offers some great flying, but don’t get distracted by all the beautiful scenery
  • Always have options! If things don’t look or feel right, go around or if the winds for landing conditions are just too much, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, and Prescott are good alternates.

A video explains the approach and departure procedures and also reminds pilots:

Sedona Airport is non-towered and located 2 miles southwest of the central business district of Sedona. Coordinates34°51′00″N 111°47′24″W.  Sedona Airport does not host any commercial flights.  Only small private planes have access to the airport. In 1952 an airstrip was created and in 1955 the first airplane landed. Read about the history of America’s Most Scenic Airport here:

Pilots are full of praise for the Red Rock FBO and the Mesa Grill restaurant, let alone the Sky Ranch Lodge and botanical garden directly at the airport entrance. There is also a fantastic hiking trail around the airport with marvelous views to the towering red rocks for which Sedona is famous. Visitors and hikers need a car or shuttle bus. Walking on the upper part of the mesa to reach the airport is not allowed! The road is rather narrow and pedestrians would be in danger. The lower, small parking spot is free (only 8-10 cars), the upper one, next to the airport is $3 for the whole day, and the restaurant parking is free for guests, the same for guests at the Sky Ranch Lodge.

Red Rock FBO

Besides fueling your airplane, they offer a great place for flight preparation and best of all: free coffee for pilots and passengers.

Helicopter Flights with Guidance Air

For non-pilots a great experience to see Sedona from the air. Knowledgeable pilots in the history of the area give passengers a lesson along the flight over Sedona and into the canyons. From the air you can really take in the beauty that Sedona and its surroundings are.

Sky Ranch Lodge and Botanical Garden at the Airport

The Lodge has built a reputation for providing friendly, efficient service combined with comfort and charm. Experience the historic charm combined with modern comfort, while enjoying the view from our scenic outlook or at their beautiful wine patio. There is also a saltwater, heated pool arranged with umbrellas and lounge chairs, and a Jacuzzi. Some rooms have even a fireplace for winter stays. And there are pet-friendly rooms ($25 per day pet fee). Their free shuttle brings you anywhere within a 5-mile radius of Sky Ranch Lodge between 2:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

The Sky Ranch Lodge has for sure the best views in town, but what I also found most amazing is the small botanical garden, surrounding the lodge. There is even a YouTube video about the certified botanical garden.

Mesa Grill

The inside interior is rather basic or as it is called: casual. Try to get a table on the patio for a view of landing/departing airplanes and the red rock butte. You can also bring your furry friend (dog) with you.

Breakfast is from 7:30 until 11 a.m. with a large variety of dishes such as Eggs Benedict, Yoghurt and granola Parfait, Smoked Salmon, or French Toast.  Lunchtime is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., offering Southwest Caesar salad, Red Trout, Carne Asada Steak, and Baja Shrimp Ceviche. From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. is dinner time and Chicken pasta or Chicken schnitzel, Fish & Chips, or Blackened Salmon can be enjoyed. Happy hour specials are offered every day from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you have a sweet tooth, Apple Cherry Crisp, Key Lime Pie, or Salted Caramel Gelato might be just what you like.

If you go: Come early or make a reservation on their website - and I mean it:  Even during the week in the low season, don’t expect to get a spot for lunch or dinner, not even at the bar in the late afternoon or early evening.  Between 4:00 and 6:00 hundreds of visitors come up to the airport to see the spectacular sunset and the flowing rock colors, and then storm the restaurant...

Sedona Vineyard Tours 

I read about wine tours, but could not imagine where wine could grow between all these rocks... But the Verde Valley is in a comparable flat area west of Sedona.

The tour guides pick up guests anywhere in Sedona and drive them to all four of the famous Verde Valley vineyards. However, there are multiple tour options from the Sedona area including Winery Tours, Sedona Highlights Tours, combination Wine / Sedona Highlights, and custom tours.

Each guest receives a personal charcuterie board. Which includes 4 different artisan cheeses, Italian hard salami, French baguettes with olive oil & balsamic vinegar, fresh fruit, trail mix, and eclectic chocolates as well as iced cold water. The tasting fees average $12 per winery. The tour is on average $95.



Jerome - 22 Miles from Sedona 

Jerome, Arizona, is a ghost town, home to artists and a popular tourist spot, especially at Halloween. One of the most haunted buildings in Jerome is the Jerome Grand Hotel. Formerly the hospital of the old mining town, it's rumored that strange figures, sounds, and unexplained orbs of light ooze from the halls of this ghostly gathering spot high above the rest of the town. 

Located high atop Cleopatra Hill between Sedona and Prescott, this historic copper and gold mining town was founded in 1876. When gold was discovered in Jerome, miners, gamblers, and bad boys of the old west flocked here. Saloons and brothels were the entertainment after a hard day's work. At one time, Jerome was the fourth largest town in the Arizona Territory with a rowdy population that reached over 15,000.

When gold and copper deposits dwindled, it became a ghost town with 50 residents who stayed behind. During the 60's and 70's artists discovered the decaying ghost town community of Jerome AZ It blossomed into a mecca of artists. 

It's now a treasured tourist magnet, comprised of artists, writers, unique boutique shops, wine bars, quaint dining spots, and amazing views across the Verde Valley. Many of the old buildings from the late 1890s still stand and are occupied by proprietors while many structures are fragment relics from its very early days.

When visiting Jerome there are places with character in which to stay. The historic Jerome Grand Hotel, which is rumored to be haunted and the Ghost City Inn Bed & Breakfast are some of the accommodations Jerome has to offer. 

October Jerome Ghost Walk: For one weekend in October, visitors can wander the alleys and streets to find volunteer performers reenacting the shootings, mysteries, and quarrels that marked this former mining town.  And don't miss the Halloween parties all over Jerome!

Verde Canyon Railroad

4 miles from Old Town Cottonwood (18 miles from Sedona) past the turnoff for Tuzigoot National Monument you will see a sign on the corner that says “Verde Canyon Railroad.”  Enjoy a 4-hour sightseeing journey by train aboard the Verde Canyon Railroad, which glides through the beautiful wilderness of the American Southwest near Sedona. Look for Sinagua cliff dwellings, old mining sites, and native wildlife such as bald eagles or antelopes. Ride in a vintage train car or open-air viewing car and see ancient cliff dwellings built by the Native American Sinagua people and historic mining sites.

From the moment you step foot on one of the meticulously refurbished, air-conditioned train cars, you will be transported to a simpler, more leisurely time away from the distractions and annoyances of our modern world. In one of the world's most beautiful canyons, you will see towering red rock buttes, steep ravines, bald eagles, and other wildlife.

What's included in the train ride: Champagne toast, appetizers, restroom on board, bottled water, and certainly admission to the Verde Canyon Railroad.


Tuzigoot National Monument

While in the area, drive west through Cottonwood to reach the hilltop pueblo of another archeological site with ties to the Sinagua people. Tuzigoot National Monument once had more than 100 rooms perched above the Verde River.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

25 miles south of Sedona, situated in Camp Verde, Montezuma Castle is a must-see for Arizona visitors. Discover this historic Native American dwelling carved out of an ancient limestone cliff.  Montezuma Castle was a thriving commercial center and traded a variety of goods and ideas. No one knows why the Sinagua natives left Montezuma Castle and its surrounding area. But by 1425 A.D., they were gone. Some archaeologists think they left because overpopulation depleted the local resources, or due to a violent event.

Hopi people with strong ties to the site recount that their ancestors were attacked and forced to flee, while local Apache oral history holds that ancestral Apaches and their allies stormed the village and set it ablaze. Reexamination of the remains of four people unearthed in the 1930s shows they have skull fractures, cuts, and singe marks that indicate they were likely killed during an attack that coincided with a catastrophic fire.

The entrance pass is $10, a yearly pass is $40. There are five free days per year, set by the National Park Service when no admission is required.


There's no shortage of fantastic things to do in Sedona, no matter the time of year. From excellent hiking and biking in the stunning heart of Red Rock Country to wine tasting throughout the Verde Valley and leaning into the healing energy of the many vortexes in Sedona, there's plenty to see, do, and experience during your next trip to Sedona. There are several spas and wellness centers in Sedona, but there's another sometimes overlooked aspect to healing and wellness in Sedona: The healing energies at various vortexes.

Sedona, Arizona is a city of mystique and intrigue. This reputation is a result of a long-held belief that there is a presence of concentrated energy in specific areas among the red sandstone rock formations.  The Vortexes of Sedona, though impossible to see with the naked eye, are swirling energy centers. They are only found in certain parts of Sedona, most often in calm and tranquil places in the Red Rocks, and these vortexes are said to be sacred healing centers of the earth. 

Renowned as a place of wellness, Sedona restores body and spirit. Many visitors come to experience the famed vortex sites that are conducive to meditation and self-exploration. Whether the energy originates from the vortex or just the staggering natural beauty and clean forest air, this is a healthy place to be. 


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