With its natural beauty, spiritual attractions, outdoor activities, and endless ways to unwind and relax, it’s no wonder Sedona, Arizona has become one of the premier vacation destinations in the Southwest. Below, we will take a closer look at the best ways to spend your time in this Northern Arizona town.
The History of Sedona
The history of Sedona oddly enough does not begin in the town, which was named in 1902 after the wife of T.C. Schnebly. The story actually starts in Oak Creek Canyon. This is where the main characters in The Call of the Canyon, Carley Burch and Glenn Kilbourne, lived and loved under whispering pines and stone walls.
J.J. Thompson was the first settler in Oak Creek Canyon in 1876 claiming squatter’s rights under the 1862 Homestead Act. More settlers heard the call once Thompson homesteaded in the canyon. Most came to raise cattle. They also established orchards and other crops by digging irrigation ditches. Dirt roads formed from the cow paths and trails during the following decades. And, along came more people.
The Upper Oak Creek Canyon area also attracted Sedona and T.C. Schnebly. In 1901, they traveled from Kansas and purchased an 80-acre site. Near the location of present-day Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village and Los Abrigados Resort, they built a beautiful house with two fireplaces.
Once residents complained to T.C. about the infrequent and slow mail service, he decided to do something about it by applying for a post office in the settlement. The government turned down several name suggestions, such as Schnebly Station and Red Rock Crossing, because they were too long. So, upon his brother’s suggestion, T.C. chose the name Sedona.
How Is the Weather?
Sedona, Arizona weather is quite a bit drier than the rest of the country. The average rainfall for cities in the United States is 39 inches. Yet, Sedona only gets fifteen inches of rain each year. The snowfall is closer to the nation’s average at 18 inches versus 26 inches for the rest of the country. There are only 37 days per year with any measurable precipitation in Sedona.
The driest month in Sedona is June when there is only about a third of an inch of rain on average. Even during the wettest month, March, there is just 2.5 inches of rain annually.
Sedona is a sunny place. Whereas most towns have an average of slightly more than 200 sunny days annually, Sedona gets over 275 sunny days. The hottest month is July when the average high is around 97 degrees Fahrenheit. December and January are the coldest months when the average lows are just over 30 degrees.
According to the comfort index created by Sperling’s Best Places, Sedona is one of the most comfortable places in the country with a score of 82 out of 100. The average is around 54. They create their index based on the number of days that are within 70 to 80 degrees, and there is a penalty applied if there is too much humidity.
What to Do in Sedona
The main attraction of Sedona is the variety of red sandstone formations, many of which are located in nearby Coconino National Forest. So, what is there to do in Sedona, Arizona? Here are a few must-see attractions:
Thousands of years ago, prehistoric Indians made Boynton Canyon their home. Hidden within the breathtaking beauty of this box canyon, there are still ancient burial sites and ruins. The Yavapai Native Americans consider the canyon to be their place of origin and still consider it sacred.
There are well-paved roads leading to Boynton Canyon. Sedona, Arizona visitors do not have to utilize four-wheel drive to get there, which is a blessing and a curse since it can make the hiking trails quite crowded.
The basic Boynton Hiking Trail is a 4.8-mile in-and-out trek that crisscrosses the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness. For the more adventurous hikers, the path continues deeper into the canyon.
Red Rock Pass Program
To maintain, enhance, and protect the awe-inspiring Red Rock Country today and into the future, the National Forest Service created the Red Rock Pass. Sedona, Arizona tourists help fund lasting memorable experiences, environmental protections, and visitor info with the revenue from the program. This is important because red rock landscapes require more maintenance and care than other National Forest areas. You can learn more by visiting the USFS website.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
The Chapel of the Holy Cross should be the one cultural site you visit if that’s all that time allows. In the 1950s, sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude designed this stunning church. Less than four miles south of Sedona’s Y intersection, the Chapel protrudes from the red cliffs. A giant cross holds the main stained glass window together as it overlooks the Verde Valley.
If hiking the trails leaves you sore and exhausted, take a load off at one of the many spas in the city. Several spas add some local flair to their treatments along with offering the usually salt scrubs and massages. For instance, you can get Native American-inspired therapies and a special clay wrap infused with Sedona clay and cocoa powder at Enchantment Resort’s Mii Amo Spa.
Verde Valley Wine Trail
Arizona may not readily come to mind when you think of wine, but grapes thrive on the easily accessible water supply and dry climate found in the Verde Valley close to Sedona. Consider spending a day following the Verde Valley Wine Trail if you are a wine connoisseur. Javelina Leap Vineyard, Oak Creek Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, and Alcantara Vineyards are all along the self-guided tour.
Where to Stay
With Sedona, Arizona serving as such an excellent tourist destination, there are plenty of accommodations to suit travelers of every taste. Here are some of the top options:
Poco Diablo Resort
Many guests could not believe the value they scored at Poco Diablo Resort compared to other nearby alternatives. Consider reserving the Poco King room or other upgraded accommodations to take advantage of perks, like a fireplace or a balcony view of red rocks. The only downside is that there are only a couple on-site dining options.
Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa
It’s hard to believe how peaceful the Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa is despite being located right in town. Since many guests note that they felt revived after its treatments, the spa is often considered the best attribute of this hotel. Pet owners also appreciated that the resort is pet-friendly.
Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock
The Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is a favorite of relaxation-seekers, couples, and golfers. Located in the Village of Oak Creek neighborhood, the sprawling resort is home to a fitness center, three hot tubs, three swimming pools, and an 18-hole golf course. eforea: spa is also located on-site. They offer locally-sourced, organic ingredients in their treatments. There are also three restaurants on the property, but the meals are somewhat pricey.
Amara Resort and Spa
Compared to other Sedona resorts, the Amara Resort and Spa has a more contemporary environment. Mirroring the nearby red rocks, guest rooms are outfitted with vibrant colors and stylish furniture. All accommodations feature balconies or patios, spa-quality bath amenities, and pillow-top mattresses.
L’Auberge de Sedona
The L’Auberge de Sedona gives guests a peaceful getaway while still providing easy access to the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village and other in-town attractions. The guest rooms are cozy and offer a relaxed setting along Oak Creek’s banks. The resort hosts activities and excursions, but rooms can get a bit expensive.
Fun Facts about Sedona
Still interested in learning more about this beautiful city? Here are some fun facts about this Northern Arizona town:
- Each year, Sedona attracts more than two million visitors.
- The sun shines more frequently in Sedona than in Florida.
- There are more National Parks and National Monuments in and around Sedona than in any state.
- Movies shot in the area have starred Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp, Elvis Presley, Humphrey Bogart, and John Wayne.
- 3:10 to Yuma, Billy the Kid, and over 90 other feature films and countless commercials and videos have been filmed in the area.
- Numerous new age thinkers and spiritual-seeking visitors are drawn to the vortexes in Sedona.
- Two popular rock formations look similar to Lucy and Snoopy on top of his doghouse from the popular comic strip Peanuts.
- Geological periods that span hundreds of millions of years are represented in the nine layers of stone visible on Sedona’s canyon walls.
- At 5,600 feet above sea level, Coffee Pot Rock is the highest point in the town.
- With an elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level, Sedona is not quite a “mile-high city.”
These are just some of the aspects that make Sedona, Arizona one of the most popular places to visit in the Southwest US. As you explore the area, you are sure to find attractions that help you relax, reconnect with yourself, and just plain have fun.