Vortexes and hiking encompass the one and only Sedona, Arizona. The energy is unmatched and the surrounding landscapes are jaw dropping. Home to caves, natural bridges, and mysterious forces that are said to radiate from the red rocks... Sedona is a land of wonders. Here I'll give you a few places to explore on your journey through this magical part of Arizona.
1.Chapel of the Holy Cross (map)
This is one of the most beautiful and creative pieces of architecture! I'm a nature lover and typically veer toward landscapes instead of cityscapes, which is why I really enjoyed this place that has a unique combination of the two. You're able to go inside it and light a candle with a donation, as well as visit the gift shop downstairs.
Be respectful of the building as you are in a sacred place. While we were there, people were being loud and obnoxious, which was just inappropriate.
"Completed in 1956 the Chapel of the Holy Cross sits high atop the red rocks in Sedona Arizona."
Hours: 9AM-5PM seven days a week; Closed on Christmas and Easter.
This is one of those places that should be seen if in Sedona, in my opinion.
Time Required: 1 hour
There's a lower lot for RV's and big vehicles.
A person drives a golf cart around to assist people who cannot easily make the walk up to the chapel.
There is plenty of parking between the lower and upper lots.
No public restrooms!
2. Devil's Bridge (map)
This is the infamous rock that is in a bridgelike formation! It's very, very popular and will inevitably be crowded when you're there. We went at sunrise and there were already around 50 people there by the time we left. There's a reason this place is crowded though! It's incredible! Be careful if you walk out on it, it is very high! I also recommend glancing out at the surrounding views because they're jaw dropping.
Specs: 3.9 miles round trip; 521 ft. elevation gain; out & back
The Trail: The trail is pretty well marked until the very end where it could be easy to drift off trail. You'll be fine though because you'll either see other people or just run right back into the trail, most likely. It does get a bit steep at the end, so have that in mind when you go!
Also, if you have a Jeep/high clearance vehicle you can continue past the trailhead parking lot and onto the actual trail, shaving off I'd say half the mileage.
Time Required: 2 hours
3. The Birthing Cave (map)
This is one of many hikes in Sedona that features a cave! Caves are very common in the area and they're pretty unique to me, as I'm from Colorado where we don't have many caves. There's a main trail up to the cave but along the way there are tons of small trails that zig zag in and out of everywhere, making it difficult to navigate where to go. If you download the AllTrails map you should be good!
Specs: 2 miles round trip; 291 feet elevation gain; out & back
It's definitely a sunset spot because the rocks in the distance were illuminated by the sun as it was setting. Surprisingly, there were only 2 other groups of people there with us too!
Be careful when climbing up, the sand on the rocks is extremely slick!
Time Required: 1.5 hours
4. Cathedral Rock (map)
Sedona is home to four main "Vortexes" and the Cathedral Rock area is one of the strongest. What the heck is a vortex? I kept hearing and seeing that word when I was researching the area and so I looked it up.
Sedona vortexes are clusters of energy that aid in healing, self exploration, and meditative states. I will say.... all of Sedona felt like a fricken magical land and our hike to Cathedral Rock was filled with exceptional vibes!
On the hike up, there was a group of about 30 people with music playing while dancing their hearts away. They looked like they had the most free spirits I've ever seen and it was very cool to watch. Later we came to find out that we had witnessed a, "Vortex Party". Lol
Parking: Be prepared to wait for parking, especially at sunset! There aren't many spots. We wanted to go at sunset for photography reasons but so did the rest of Sedona! The main lot was PACKED. We saw people walking from another lot that's 1 mile from the beginning of the trailhead. We decided to just wait in the car at the main lot until people left. Sure enough, a group came down within 10-15 minutes of us sitting there! I think we got lucky but hey, it worked!
Fee: There is a pay station at the trailhead where you can purchase a $5 Red Rock Day Pass or the Interagency Pass (aka National Parks Pass) and put either of those on the dash.
Specs: 1.2 miles roundtrip; 741 feet elevation gain; out and back
The Trail: The trail is technically rated as "moderate" and I'd agree with that. You'll find yourself using your hands a lot to help climb up certain sections of rock. There's definitely a decent amount of scrambling. The stone can also get slick because of the sand on it. I took a spill on our way up!
There's not a clear footpath for most of it. The trail is marked by "cairns".
Cathedral Rock is an absolute must-do if in Sedona.
5. Tlaquepaque (map)
I was actually in a shop in Winslow, on our way to Sedona, where a nice local man recommended this place to me. I kept forgetting how to pronounce it and how it was spelled but a quite google search did wonders!
Finally I kept repeating it to myself and learned how to properly pronounce it. Tlaquepaque (tuh-laa-kei-paa-kee) is the most beautiful outdoor market with art galleries, boutiques with handmade products, crafts, and some restaurants. You'll be walking on cobblestone paths and the buildings were built around trees, so there's greenery everywhere you look. It feels like a mixture of Spain and somewhere in South America. I was blown away by the beauty of it! The night we went there was also live music and it was the perfect end to the evening.
Most of the shops are open from 10:00AM-6:00PM
My boyfriend couldn't be less interested in shopping and markets and even he thought this was amazing. It's definitely worth grabbing dinner and shopping around!
Live music in the courtyard!
6. Slide Rock State Park (map)
Yes, there's an entrance fee and yes, there are hours... but this is such a fun place to goof around with your friends or family and I'm so glad we went! It's just as it sounds, rock slides. Natural rock slides in the river that you just slide on down! It's a short little hike from the parking lot. I saw people of all ages there. The water temperature was 48 degrees when we were there and I didn't get in (I know... weak sauce). The guys did the slide but I hung out in the sun and took in the view.
People sliding down the rocks in the photo on the right!
March 1 - May 28
Per vehicle (1-4 adults): $20.00
May 29 - Labor Day
Per vehicle (1-4 adults): $20.00 Monday - Thursday
Per vehicle (1-4 adults): $30.00 Friday - Sunday, holiday Mondays
Tuesday after Labor Day - October 31
Per vehicle (1-4 adults): $20.00
November - February
Per vehicle (1-4 adults): $10.00
*Motorcycle: Entry fee is 50 percent of the per vehicle fee
*CASH MUST BE EXACT CHANGE*
Hours: Last entry one hour prior to closing, swim area closes 1/2-hour prior to closing.
February 1 - May 28
8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
May 29 - Labor Day
8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday after Labor Day - November 30
8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
December 1 - January 31
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Christmas Eve: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
There's also this cute little market there that said they sold ice cream, so I absolutely wanted to check it out on our way out. Not to complain, BUT... don't let the outside fool you... It looks like a rundown little gas station inside and there was a $10 minimum purchase on card. I loved the state park, except for this one very part. They could easily make it into a CUTE market where they sell locally crafted goods but this is just my opinion!
Tips: Bring water shoes, towel, and water!!
7. Montezuma Castle National Monument (map)
This place is in Camp Verde, about 45 minutes away from Sedona but I decided to throw it in here as a little bonus trip. It's the third National Monument dedicated to preserving Native American Culture. There's this incredible 20 room "apartment" that you can see very easily from the ground. You cannot go up to it because of the fragility of the structure but it's still amazing to see it from the ground.
Another part that I thought was very clever was this man made exhibit that put the whole castle into perspective. It really shows you what it would've been like back in the days of the Native Americans.
Montezuma 7 Day Pass: $10/per adult
Interagency Pass aka National Park Pass can be used, therefore your entry is free!
Other things to know:
Apparently "van life" and sleeping in your car is a big no-no in Sedona. The hotels in town were too expensive for us so we stayed about an hour outside in Flagstaff where the accommodations were much more reasonable. It was about an hour drive to and from Sedona, which was an absolutely bummer.... but it was just more feasible for us.
All in all, Sedona was a dream! I kept saying how much I loved it and how I could absolutely see myself making an annual trip there in future years. I'm not a city person nor do I do city oriented travel but this place was just amazing. The food and shops were overpriced but what tourist town isn't? I recommend having a good 4-5 days here to really explore the area... you won't be disappointed!
Let me know if you have any other questions and I hope you're able to make the trip to Sedona!