Looking to escape to Sedona for a long weekend? This guide will cover the a three-day itinerary for those who want to pack in a big adventure in just a short amount of time. Pack your hiking shoes and get ready to explore this Mars-like landscape. This itinerary covers the best hikes, sunrise and sunset spots, ancient ruins, places you’ve got to eat, and hits three of the four main vortexes in the region.
The Best Time to Visit Sedona
Sedona is an outdoor destination worth visiting all year long. However, seasons are distinct in Sedona and there are perks to seeing this incredible destination at different points, depending on what you’re into. As a general rule spring and fall tend to offer the best weather without the summer crowds.
Summer is Sedona’s most popular season, with many people stopping over in Sedona on their way to Antelope Canyon. Despite Sedona’s desert landscape, this region is cooler than its neighbors and you’ll find the temperature tends to hang around 90°F (32°C).
Come winter, and you’ll be blessed with even Sedona’s most popular trails to yourself. The red rock landscape will be dusted with snow and you’ll be able to enjoy the area in a way that few others have.
Sedona Three-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Discovering Sedona
The drive into Sedona is a treat in itself. Enjoy the the beauty of the red rock landscape before settling into your accommodation. Take a walk around town to get your bearings and enjoy breathing the crisp, open air.
Afternoon: If you feel like stretching your legs, head to the Airport Mesa. This area supposedly has the strongest Sedona vortex and will offer you a prime overview of the region. If you like, you can hike around the mesa or enjoy a picnic at Sedona’s viewing area. This makes a great spot for sunset.
Evening: For dinner, head to one of the many Mexican restaurants in town like Tortas de Fuego.
Day 2: The Best of Sedona
Morning: If you can muster it, wake up just before sunrise and venture to the Devil’s Bridge trailhead. The hike to Devil’s Bridge in Sedona is one of the most popular hikes in the area, and therefore can attract serious crowds. However, you might score the sandstone arch to yourself if you trek early. From this walk, you might see hot air balloons punctuating the warm pastel sky.
Fuel up at The Coffee Pot Restaurant, home to a menu of over 100 omelettes plus waffles, pancakes, and fresh juices. This breakfast joint is popular for a reason, but there’s a quirky souvenir on site to help you pass the time as you wait for a table.
Midday: Wander around the Tlaquepaque Arts Village in the heart of Sedona, a shopping center with contemporary art galleries, crystal shops, Native American artwork, and more. If you’re into the woo-woo aspect of Sedona, there are places to get your palm read and chakras aligned here, too.
Afternoon: If you do just one thing while you’re in Sedona, make it hiking to the top of Cathedral Rock. Though the trail is just about a mile long, there are a few sections that require a bit of a scramble as you make your way up the rock’s face. From the top, you can admire 360-degree views of Sedona and watch as the rocks light up like embers as the sun sets below the horizon.
Night: Sedona is considered a dark sky community, meaning that come nightfall, there is little light pollution tainting the impeccable night sky. You’ll want to head outside, look up, and enjoy peering at the bright smattering of galaxies above. Download a stargazing app like the NASA App, SkyView, or SkySafari. There are also guided UFO and stargazing tours, complete with night vision goggles.
Day 3: Offbeat Sedona
Morning: See Sedona from a new perspective by going on a hot air balloon ride. What better way to see the rust-colored region than from a bird’s eye view? Peer out from the basket and look for iconic sights like Cathedral Rock and Bell’s Rock.
Alternatively, hike to the top of Bell’s Rock. Most travelers tend to cluster toward the beginning of the trail. If you do complete the Bell’s Rock trail, you will experience three of the four largest Sedona vortex sites during your long weekend trip to Sedona.
Midday: It’s time to explore the lesser-reached areas of Sedona on a 4×4 Jeep tour to the ruins found at Montezuma Castle National Monument, an ancient town with tens of Sinaguan pueblos etched into the brick cliffside. This tour also highlights centuries-old cliff paintings and weaves around the Capitol Butte and Chimney Rocks mesas.
Afternoon: Take a walk or mountain bike along the Hiline trail, a trail that offers incredible views of Cathedral Rock and the area’s natural surrounds.
What to pack for your trip to Sedona
- Hiking shoes: Some of the trails in Sedona can be quite steep, rocky, and slippery. Sturdy shoes are a must. >Shop hiking shoes
- Sunscreen: Expect strong sunlight, especially around midday. >Shop sunscreen
- Hiking top: Pack along a UPF 50+ hiking shirt to keep your skin from scorching in the sun. I like the Columbia PFG shirts because they’re lightweight and have pockets. >Shop hiking shirts
- Hat: Again, you’ll want to keep the sun out of your face. I prefer the ‘trucker’ style caps with mesh to keep my noggin from overheating. >Shop hats
- Day backpack: Most of Sedona’s major hiking trails can be done in a day. On the steeper trails, you’ll want to keep your hands free. I suggest a 15-20L day backpack.>Shop day backpacks
- Water bottle: You’ll need to pack your own water on just about every trail; there are few water sources available. >Shop water bottles
Sedona day tours
While Sedona can be easily explored on your own, there are a handful of day tour companies that offer themed tours around the Sedona vortexes, hiking, and ancient ruins.
Any questions about visiting Sedona? Ask them in the comments below!
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