Sedona is one of my favourite towns in the US. Aside from its beautiful red rocks and almost 'martian' landscapes, the town has a strange energy (both figuratively and literally) that seems to draws visitors each year in their thousands.
A centre for healing
Indeed, some regard Sedona as place of particular spiritual significance, and come to see one of its many vortexes. Vortexes are considered to be areas of considerable natural energy, which are so powerful that they can cause trees to twist and contort in unusual ways.
While the entire town is generally regarded as one giant vortex, there are 4 main sites that people tend to visit to receive the strongest effects. Here, visitors use the vortex's energy to meditate, heal and recharge.
Whether you believe in vortexes or not, there's no denying that Sedona has something special about it, and there are dozens of fantastic things to do and explore. Here are a few of our favourites:
1. Hike Cathedral Rock
Cathedral Rock is probably the most iconic site in Sedona. It's an enormous sandstone rock that dominates the skyline. It's a popular hike that gives breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Cathedral rock is a popular place for a sunset hike, and many like to climb the rock and meditate with the fading light. There are all sorts of interesting nooks and paths that snake around the rock, and it's worth spending a little time here exploring.
Our visit was punctuated by the faint sound of drums and chanting, as visitors basked and soaked in in the energy of the Cathedral Rock vortex. It's an incredibly spiritual experience for some, but for other's it's simply a beautiful hike with gorgeous views. Either way, it's a wonderful hike.
2. Seven Sacred Pools
The Seven Sacred Pools are a lesser known natural landmark near Sedona. For the most part, they're exactly what they sound like; seven beautiful pools lying in the red Sedona sandstone. To reach them you'll have to take a 2.5 mile round trip hike through the beautiful wilderness. The pools are full of stagnant water and the occasional tadpole, so it's not really a swimming hole, but it's a nice little stroll and one of Sedona's best hidden gems.
3. Devil's Bridge Trail
This hike will take you to one of the most iconic landmarks in Sedona; the Devil's Bridge. The Devil's Bridge is a huge, natural sandstone arch with expansive views of the desert scrubland beyond. It's easily one of the most popular hikes in the area, thanks to its unique beauty, and you really won't find anything like it nearby.
The trail itself is a dusty two mile trek through the hot sun, so make sure you pack some sunscreen and water!
4. Take a 4x4 tour to Old Bear Wallow Canyon
This isn't free, but the views and experience are well worth the effort. Take a 4x4 down the old stagecoach road between Sedona and Flagstaff, gently rising higher and higher until you're 1500ft up and staring down into the valleys below. It's a great way to see some of the famous rocks and formations in the area, such as Snoopy Rock, Teapot formation and Damnfino Canyon.
Of course, one of the highlights of your journey will be the wonderful views of Old Bear Wallow Canyon itself. Make sure you bring a camera!
5. Swim at Slide Rock State Park
Did you know that Sedona has it's very own natural water slide? Take a trip to Slide Rock State Park is an amazing gem that's tucked away on an old apple farm, and is the perfect way to cool off on a hot day.
While the inviting Oak Creek is fantastic to swim in, the major attraction here is the incredible 80ft long waterslide formed in the smooth rock. Thousands of years of erosion have created a gentle, slippery attraction for bathers on a hot day, and the slimy algae lining the rock will take you careening into the river below.
Be prepared to have to wait your turn on a hot day, and don't expect to have the place to yourself!
6. Take a ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad
Here's another paid attraction, but a trip on the Verde Canyon Railroad is a rare opportunity to experience America by rail.
For over 110 years, the Verde Canyon railway has been taking visitors through the towering red rock canyons and steep ravines in style.
Visitors can choose from four different comfort levels, ranging from First Class with a champagne toast, to Coach class, to even riding with the driver in the locomotive! It's a four hour experience that you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the US, particularly with such a unique backdrop!
Sedona is a place unlike any other in the United States, and a trip to this wonderful part of the country will leave you speechless. Many of the activities listed here require some level of activity, but a visit to the town itself is still well worth the effort. The views and energy here are completely unique, and even a stroll around the downtown area is enjoyable and fulfilling. Happy travels!