Anyone that tells you that Sedona isn’t beautiful is lying. In fact, if someone is shrugging their shoulders saying “eh, Sedona is ok”, then what they are trying to do is keep you away from Sedona because it is really that wonderful to behold.
Here’s the deal; only three types of people are going to be in Sedona, Arizona. The first are the filthy rich. Sedona has the stink of a wealthy playground with art galleries, new age yoga studios, and houses that rival those you will find in any area of Beverly Hills. It is clearly evident that the rich escape to Sedona because it is fairly remote and very beautiful. The good news is that you skip all that and only go downtown when you need to pass through.
The second type of person seeking Sedona is the kind that will hunt out vortexes after stopping by the local crystal shop to get their palms read by Madame Handlinereader. We got familiar whiffs of Mendocino County near one of the “vortex” locations at Cathedral Rock, although the only impact from that location was a sudden desire to wolf down a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. These people normally congregate near water (which is not in abundance in most of Sedona) or near shops that insist they are selling tobacco products.
The final type of person seeking out Sedona was us; the nature lovers. The beauty of the area is awe inspiring and yes, I would classify it on the must see list of places to visit before you kick the bucket. We hiked near Cathedral Rock and the Oak Creek the first day. It was a fairly short hike that introduced us to the red rock that Sedona is famous for. The second day we made out from our home base of Flagstaff (about 40 minutes away) and hiked the Brin’s Mesa/Soldier’s Pass Loop, about 5.5 miles. We did it between 7 and 10 a.m. and I highly recommend it, although the half-way point has some vertical climb that makes you think you are on a Stair Master. That same afternoon we went to Faye Canyon and did a short two mile jaunt into and out of the canyon, coming up close and personal with the beauty of the area. It was pretty damn awesome.
Couple of side notes about Sedona.
-They love roundabouts. From the south entrance to town (actually a different town called Oak Creek) to the downtown area there are about eight traffic congestion experiments that create interesting situations between tourists, townsfolk, and crazy ass drivers that think roundabouts are simply mini-Indy 500 ovals.
-Hike early in the morning and try to show up on weekdays. We got there Sunday night and the road between Sedona and Flagstaff was absolutely packed. For the next two days it was much more manageable. Sedona got hot around noon and then the thunderstorms showed up around 3. And they were pretty nasty.
-Stay in Flagstaff unless you get a deal in Sedona.
Monument Valley is next on the list, although we are kicking around other ideas.