Tips And Tricks For A Weekend Trip: Sedona

By Grace Usher

Pack up the car and head just four hours eastbound to see the Arizona gem of Sedona.

Are We There Yet??

Coconino National Forest. Grace Usher/ RiverScene

They say the journey is the best part of a trip, and when headed to this Arizonan hot-spot, the drive is a trip of its own.

When heading east on the Interstate 40, the landscape begins to transition from rocky lower desert, to scattered bushes of grassland. In a blink, the scenery becomes dense with the wooded pines of the Coconino National Forest.

Just before hitting Flagstaff, exit the I-40 to head down the Arizona Route 89A-South. The 89A-South is said to be one of the most scenic highways for motorists of all vehicle types. The two-lane road winds down into the canyon of Sedona. In a fairy-tale-esque scene there are small inns and campgrounds hidden in the trees.

Already convinced? Here’s the directions.

Along the 89A is the famous Slide Rock, a natural wonder of slicked rocks that create a natural slide and swimming area.

Just as drivers round the last bend of the highway, the tree lines are back dropped with burnt sienna red rock walls and a never-ending valley. The highway becomes the main street of downtown Sedona with no warning so be aware of sudden reduced speeds.

Where We Sleeping Tonight, Ma?

Creekside camping at Camp Avalon. Grace Usher/ RiverScene

The biggest concern of any weekend trip is, of course, shelter. For those who are willing to rough it, Sedona has many different campgrounds in the area, all less than 10 miles from downtown. For those who enjoy the greater comforts of a vacation, Sedona’s hotels and resorts are the epitome of a lavish vacation.

Campers? Click Here!

Love your accommodations? Click Here!

No matter where one stays, the night sky is incredible. This is because Sedona became an International Dark Sky Community in 2014. Because of the ordinance, most businesses close by 9 p.m. The streetlamps have reduced lumin power and a unique shape in which all light points downwards to keep the skies free of light pollution.

Let’s See the Sights!

Snoopy Rock. Grace Usher/ RiverScene

The towering structures of Sedona’s landscapes are a layered cake of sandstone and hematite minerals. Once under the ocean and tropical landscape, the red-tone of the structures are a result of the hematite reacting to oxygen. Essentially, visitors are staring at giant rust-colored columns.

When talking to locals and tour guides, visitors discover that these rock formations don’t just have a pretty face. Most of the distinct structures have names give by locals or ancient Native American tribes of the area that not only describe them, but also leave landmarks for hikers, and old travelers to guide by.

Cathedral Rock is the largest formation in the area and named after its wide building-like stature. Snoopy Rock, a local favorite, shares a resembles to the Peanuts comic’s beagle character laying on his back. Atop his “snout” is a smaller formation, just like Woodstock, the yellow bird resting on Snoopy’s nose.

Feel like there just isn’t enough time to see everything there is to see by car or foot? Try a tour! The reasonably priced tour options are fun, informative, and an easier choice for those who aren’t ready for miles of hiking.

From Pink Jeeps to Vintage Red Trolleys to Helicopters, take a view of Sedona from every angle.

**Tip: The tours are varied and cover much ground. Most range from 60-85 minutes, and require a reservation. For more information on Tours in Sedona, click here.

Feeling weird? Might Just Be Electromagnetism

Kachina Woman located in Boyton Canyon, one of the most powerful vortex areas. Grace Usher/ RiverScene

Those structures are not just easy on the eyes, but they are also believed to be powerful for the soul. Sedona is home to multiple vortex sites. A vortex is an area where electromagnetic energy fields meet and cause some peculiar phenomenons.

Visitors of the vortex sites claim to feel an overwhelming sense of calmness or an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Others say their electronics start to act strangely. Many Native American tribes used these vortex areas for traditional ceremonies and worship grounds.

Want to experience the vortex energies? Here are the most popular sites.

Om is where the heart is.

 

Inside Chapel of the Holy Cross. Grace Usher/ RiverScene

For those who journey to Sedona for spiritual reasons, there is much in store. Scattered throughout the downtown area are crystal and metaphysical storefronts with literature, gifts and even aura photography.

For those who are more traditional in their spirituality, visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

Built in 1956, the chapel was constructed into the side of a mountain and gazes over the valley for spectacular views and a connection to both deity and nature.

**Tip: Parking at the Chapel entrance is nearly impossible. Park at the bottom and walk up the road for 1/8th of a mile. If you or your passenger are not able to walk the distance, there is handicap and drop-off areas at the chapel entrance.

Hikes, hikes, hikes galore!

Grace Usher/ RiverScene

The “outdoorsy” type should check out all of the well-maintained trails throughout the area.

Popular trails include, Devil’s Bridge, Boynton Canyon and Mystic Trail. Need the proper gear? There are plenty of different hiking, biking and outdoor activities stores scattered within the town.

Check out these trails!

**Tip: Look online or check out the Visitor’s Centers for difficulty level of the various hikes and get suggestions from locals. Though Sedona doesn’t get quite as hot as Lake Havasu, still cover up well, bring MORE water than planning to drink, and plan for early hiking times.

What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’?

Cactus Fries at the Cowboy Club. Grace Usher/ RiverScene

After a long day of exploring the shops and scenes, stop by the Cowboy Club Restaurant for their world famous Cactus Fries. Similar to nopales, these pickled cactus strips are breaded and fried for a savory one-of-a-kind treat. Dip the strips in the complimentary prickly-pear sauce made of the fruit from the same plant.

**Tip: Order the Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese. Mix in the Cactus Fries for Cheesy Cactus Mac. Wash it all down with a Prickly Pear Margarita for a true southwestern meal.

Maybe a visitor is just looking for a place to cool down after a long day but not quite ready for dinner. Check out the Chai Spot for their homemade chai teas, Indian shop, and fun games and books with a patio view.

Grace Usher/ RiverScene

***Tip: Try the Green Chai for a refreshing boost of energy to keep the day rolling. Ask the barista to teach you how to play Mancala, a simple eastern game with glass beads and a wood board

Ready For A Pop Quiz?

Alright, so when travelers have visited the novelty shops, taken the tour, and eaten the weird cactus, they might sit for a moment and wonder how the town got its name.

Back in 1902, the small community was formed in the area but could not send or receive any mail without an official name. The first postmaster, Theodore Carlton Schnebly, had given two prospective names to the state of Arizona, but both were denied because of their length.

As if written in a romance novel, Schnebly decided to name the city after his wife, Sedona. Sedona’s mother claimed that she put sounds together to make up the name, Sedona, but the roll-off-the-tongue namesake fit the town perfectly and stuck ever since.

So What Do Ya Say? Let’s Go!

For the perfect weekend getaway, consider the beautiful Sedona. With so much from the views to the adventures to the unique bites, Sedona has so much to offer for the weekend warriors needing a quick getaway with lasting memories.

For more information on all things Sedona, check out their homepage.


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