Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona
Value for Money:
Personality Types that Like it Best
Did You Know … ?
- Walt Disney named his Thunder Mountain ride after the tallest butte in West Sedona.
- At least eight Sedona streets are named for movies made there, such as “Johnny Guitar” and “Pony Soldier.”
- Sedona’s founder first tried these names, Schnebly Station or Oak Creek Crossing, rejected by the post office as too long.
- “Angel and the Badman,” with John Wayne as producer and star, was shot in Sedona (1945).
- Red rock formations in the Sedona area have their color from traces of rusted iron.
A world painted red
Sedona is a small city (population: around 10,000) on high desert terrain at 4,326 feet above sea level and surrounded by 1.8 million acres of national forest land. Still more, the surrounding landscape is known as Red Rock Country because of the rock formations, buttes and mountains tinted in a vigorous red. Dramatic canyons and their rivers add another dimension.
The city is at one end of the stunning Oak Creek Canyon, sometimes characterized as the small cousin of the Grand Canyon. Among the others, Verde Canyon, accessible only by rail, ain’t bad either!
In sum, Sedona sits in beautiful country. And with a mild sunny climate (hot in summer), it draws tourists for the scenery and for the range of outdoor activities on offer. The area boasts hundreds of miles good for biking and hiking, plus properly bouncy pathways for Jeep and ATV driving, rivers for fishing and rafting and clear skies perfect for sightseeing from the air.
Native Americans were the first to peg Sedona as sacred and some still preform sacred ceremonies here. Native American reservations for several tribes are not far away, and the region shows signs of ancient habitation in cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.
A portion of today’s travelers come for related reasons because of the area’s modern reputation as a spiritual center. Many believe that Sedona contains a number of vortexes, meaning spots that release psychic energy or power (but without measurable electric or magnetic charges), clinching its position as the right place for meditation, yoga and the like.
The Sedona Creative Life Center each year offers hundreds of programs addressed to the heart and mind. The city also hosts Sedona Yoga Festival and Sedona World Wisdom Days.
Finally, tourists are drawn to Sedona because it has become a noted arts community, with more than 200 artists of every medium and aesthetic sensibility in residence, offering everything from Native American pieces to works at the cutting edge. Sedona, with more than 80 art galleries; demonstrations and workshops, and annual juried art festivals, now rivals Santa Fe and Scottsdale for a claim on the loyalty of art lovers.
Things to do for Venturers
- Choose a hot-air balloon ride for getting a sweeping view of the outstanding scenery. Or, sightsee from above or even inside the canyons aboard a helicopter.
- Be the honorary engineer for a day aboard the Verde Canyon Railroad as it makes one of its over-the-top scenic runs though the eponymously named canyon. The guest crew member, riding in the locomotive, must pass a background check and a safety rules test and must have stamina to perform a number of tasks.
- Ride a zipline over the predators in the Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde.
- Sign up for a vortex tour, a chance to be guided to those special places described as enhanced energy locations that facilitate meditation and spiritual awareness.
- The area boasts more than 200 miles of trails, from easy to extreme, for bikes or mountain bikes. Make your choice. Time this for the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival in late winter.
- Take a Jeep tour to some of the lesser-known attractions in the Sedona area. Some itineraries include off-road adventures with a certain amount of Jeep acrobatics. Or, rent a Jeep or ATV to do your own off-road exploring.
Things to do for Centrics
- Sample a few local specialties such as prickly pear margaritas and the tangy cactus fries.
- Breath in the cultural environment at the Sedona Arts Festival or the Sedona Plein Air Festival, both staged in October. Or if visiting at another time, participate in a First Friday Artwalk.
- In winter, attend the Sedona Yoga Festival or Sedona World Wisdom Days. The latter is described as assisting with self-discovery and self-empowerment.
- Taste the wines at wineries in the Sedona area.
- Attend the Sedona Photofest in the spring, and test your skills snapping shots of just about every other natural feature in sight. Check the options hiking in Red Rock State Park.
- At one of the area guest ranches, consider the horseback rides, chuck wagon dinners, wrangle lessons, cowboy cookouts and stagecoach rides. Or, book a multiday trail ride.
Things to do for Authentics
- Drive the Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive, tops for scenery, and picnic on the banks of the creek. Or, drive the Red Rock Scenic Byway. Or both.
- Look back in time — at the Native American Palatki Heritage Site, setting for ruins and petroglyphs, and the Sedona Heritage Museum.
- Play golf, trying not to be distracted by the scenery.
- Shop. Scour the galleries for fine art and jewelry. And/or shop for Native American crafts or custom-fitted Western boots or cactus jellies and the like.
- Get acquainted with the town and some of its environs on a trolley tour.
- Come to the Sedona Creative Life Center where spiritual growth seminars, meditation and yoga are among the programs. Psychic readings are on the calendar, too. Choose what is relevant to you.
For more information, consult the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau at www.visitsedona.com