GREAT SEDONA HIKES

SEDONA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (SEDONA FAQS)

 

 

Sedona is home to many fine restaurants, art galleries, hotels, bed and breakfast inns, and shops. And there are restaurants and shops to fit any budget. The close proximity to the Grand Canyon, Phoenix, Las Vegas and many National Monuments makes Sedona a natural place to stay and use as a base from which to explore Arizona and other attractions.

Here are answers to your questions. And if your question isn't covered, send me an email and you'll get an answer quickly.

 

Where is Sedona located?

How do I get to Sedona?

Why are the rocks red?

What is there to do in Sedona?

Does Sedona have a busy season?

How can I quickly learn about Sedona?

How can I contact the Chamber of Commerce?

What is the population of Sedona?

What is the sales tax rate in Sedona?

Are there campgrounds in Sedona?

Are there RV parks in Sedona?

What are the jeep rides all about?

What are some activities for kids?

Can I do a day-trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon?

What is the weather like?

What should I pack based on Sedona's weather at different times of the year?

When and where are the best Fall colors?

What is a Red Rock Pass and why do I need one?

Where can I purchase a Red Rock Pass?

How many hiking trails are around Sedona?

Where can I get trail information?

Is it safe to hike alone?

Can I take my dog with me on the trails?

What should I bring with me while hiking?

What should I wear while hiking?

What is a vortex?

Where can I find a vortex?

Where can I find information on relocating to Sedona?

TYPICAL SEDONA PHOTOS

(many more are available at http://greatsedonahikes.com)

             

Where is Sedona located?

Sedona is located approximately 120 miles north of Phoenix and about 35 miles south of Flagstaff at the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon. Uptown Sedona (there is no "downtown" Sedona) is located at the intersection of State Route 89A and State Route 179. This intersection is now a traffic circle (a roundabout some would say) and is known as the "Y." With an elevation of 4500 feet, Sedona enjoys a moderate climate.

How do I get to Sedona?

From Phoenix there are two ways to arrive in Sedona, both of which provide outstanding views of the red rocks. For the first route, drive north on Interstate I-17 for 89 miles to Exit 285. Drive west toward Cottonwood and turn right on to State Route 89A. Drive 16 miles to Sedona.

For the second route, drive north on Interstate I-17 for 98 miles to Exit 298. Turn left and drive north on State Route 179 for 18 miles to Sedona. You'll pass through the Village of Oak Creek where you'll find shops, restaurants and an outlet mall. Currently there is construction on SR 179 as you approach Sedona and at times you may experience some minor delays.

Why are the rocks red?
Simply put, the rocks are red because of iron. Millions and millions of years ago (320 million to be precise) Sedona was under a sea of water. Time has left its marks on our red rock landscape. Over the last 300 million years, Sedona has been land under a sea, at other times it was a floodplain adjacent to the sea coast. When the great uplift of the Colorado Plateau created the Grand Canyon, there was also a cracking of the Earth in the Sedona area which carved out our canyons and eventually our streams and creeks. As the water moved through Sedona, it carved away layers of the soft red sandstone that had been deposited here in the sediment of ancient rivers. This created Sedona landmark red rock formations like Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Coffee Pot Rock and more.

What is there to do in Sedona?

There are many things to do while visiting Sedona. Because the weather is so mild, outdoor activities are plentiful, including hiking, cycling, camping, fishing, golf, horse back riding, and picnicking. There are a number of art galleries and shops that offer unique one-of-a-kind items. Sedona's proximity to major attractions makes sightseeing a wonderful experience. It is only a two hour drive to the Grand Canyon. 

Does Sedona have a busy season?

Sedona is a beautiful destination year-round. The most popular seasons are mid-February through June and September through December.  Lodging rates are slightly lower in July and August, but the most economical prices of year are available from the first week of January to mid-February. The days between Christmas and New Years can be busy as well.

How can I quickly learn about Sedona?

If you haven't yet arrived in Sedona, contact the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and request a copy of the Experience Sedona Guide. It contains a lot of information about Sedona.

How can I contact the Chamber of Commerce?

The Sedona Chamber of Commerce Uptown Visitor Center is located at the corner of State Route 89A and Forest Road at 331 Forest Road. The GPS coordinates for the Visitor Center are: 34 52.119' N; 111 45.702' W. The Visitor Center is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm seven daays a week. Closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The Sedona Chamber website address is: http://www.sedonachamber.com/. Or call them at (800) 288-7336 or (928) 282-7722.

What is the population of Sedona?

The population of Sedona includes the City of Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek and is approximately 20,000 residents.

What is the sales tax rate in Sedona?

The city of Sedona sits in two Arizona Counties; Coconino and Yavapai Counties. The sales tax rate for Sedona businesses located in Coconino County is 9.725% . The sales tax rate for Sedona businesses located in Yavapai County is 9.35%.

Are there campgrounds in Sedona?

Near the City of Sedona, camping is permitted only in designated campgrounds. These designated campgrounds are Cave Springs Manzanita, Pine Flat, Beaver Creek, and West Clear Creek campgrounds. Additionally, there is camping at Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood, AZ

Backpacking is permitted in the wilderness area, which essentially is 5 miles or more from the City of Sedona. In the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness and Munds Mountain Wilderness, hikers must be at least 1 mile from the trailhead before camping. In Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, camping and campfires are prohibited at and downstream of Parsons Springs. On the West Fork trail, camping is allowed 6 miles in from the State Route 89a trailhead. Swimming is required to reach the camping area. There are other areas where camping is permitted around Sedona. Call the District Ranger Station at (928) 282-4119 for additional information.

Are there RV parks in Sedona?

Yes, there are private RV parks in the Sedona area. Contact the Sedona Chamber of Commerce to obtain a list of RV parks.

What are the jeep rides all about?

While you are in Sedona, you may want to go on a jeep/Hummer tour. There are a number of off road tour companies in Sedona. They take you off the beaten path, to places where you wouldn't drive your vehicle. The guides are well versed in the area's history and point out the various names of the rock formations around Sedona. Additionally, some of the tour companies offer tours to Indian ruins, others offer Vortex tours and others offer thrilling rides down steep embankments. It's an experience you won't want to miss. If you are staying at one of the major resorts, they may offer you discount coupons for your tour. If not, you can purchase a "Superpass" book at the Sedona Chamber of Commerce which contains discount coupons for jeep rides as well as discount dining and shopping coupons.

What are some activities for kids?

Activities for children are numerous. Mountain biking and hiking some of the trails along water are very popular. Swimming at Slide Rock State Park or observing nature at Red Rock State Park can satisfy. A train ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad is a fun way to spend a day. A trip to Out of Africa Park to observe the lions, tigers and giraffes is an experience they shouldn't miss. And an evening at the Blazin' M Ranch for an all-you-can-eat buffet followed by a hilarious cowboy show will surely please everyone.

Can I do a day-trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon?
Absolutely!  Just 119 miles separates Sedona and the Grand Canyon South Rim. About 2 hours from Sedona (although you may want to include some additional time), you can see some of the world's most awe-inspiring sites on a single Grand Canyon tour. I suggest you enter the Grand Canyon from the east side by driving north of Flagstaff on State Route 89 toward Page, Arizona then turn west on State Route 64. You won't encounter the crowds like at the south entrance to the Grand Canyon and you'll be able to stop at Desert View just inside the east entrance for what I believe to be the best view of the GC.

What is the weather like?

Sedona sits at an elevation of about 4500 feet. The climate is moderate, that is not as warm as Phoenix and not as cool as Flagstaff. The average temperatures and rainfall are:

Average

Temperature F Precipitation
  Daily Daily Inches
  High Low  
January 56 30 2.10
February 60 33 2.16
March 65 37 2.47
April 73 42 1.16
May 82 49 0.71
June 93 58 0.36
July 97 64 1.65
August 94 63 1.90
September 88 58 1.94
October 77 48 1.67
November 64 36 1.38
December 57 31 1.51
Year 75 46 1.50

When we get snow, it is typically gone in a day. But if you are here for a snowfall, you'll be outside taking photos of the red rocks with the snow on them.

What should I pack based on Sedona's weather at different times of the year?
 

In short, Sedona Arizona's weather is mild and comfortable year round.  No matter what time of year you plan to visit, you'll want to pack light layers like long pants and shorts, long and short-sleeved t-shirts, light sweaters and jackets.  For footwear, year-round you'll want to pack a pair of close-toed shoes like athletic shoes or hiking boots; close-toed shoes are a best-bet for any Sedona outdoor activities like tours, hiking or horseback riding.  In the summertime, you can leave the lightweight jacket at home but add a pair of sandals to your footwear plan.  And in the winter, you may want to add a sweatshirt, fleece pullover or moderate-weight sweater to your other layers

When and where are the best Fall colors?

Because of the 4500 foot elevation and the typically dry climate there aren't many deciduous trees to make the fall a colorful experience. But where there is water there is color. The third week of October typically brings color to Oak Creek Canyon, particularly the West Fork hiking trail, which is some 10 miles up Oak Creek Canyon at elevation 5500 feet. As the days go by, the color descends down Oak Creek Canyon, arriving in Sedona around the first or second week of November.

What is a Red Rock Pass and why do I need one?

The Red Rock Pass program was started several years ago in the area around Sedona. The funds raised through the program are used by the Forest Service for trail development and maintenance. If you park on the National Forest Around Sedona you'll need a Red Rock Pass or it's equivalent. If you park on private property (not the National Forest land) or you are going to be just driving around the area, or stopping to take a photo and you are near your vehicle, you do not need a Red Rock Pass (or equivalent).

So to park on the National Forest, say at a trailhead to take a hike, you'll need to display in your vehicle a Red Rock Pass or equivalent. The equivalents are the National Parks Pass (also know as a Federal Interagency Annual Pass, which costs $80), the Senior Pass (also know as a Federal Interagency Senior Pass, issued to U.S. Residents 62 years of age and older), and  the Federal Interagency Access Pass (issued to handicapped individuals and is free).

If you don't have one of the equivalent passes, you'll need to purchase a Red Rock Pass to park on the National Forest. The Red Rock Pass is available as a daily pass for $5 per day, a weekly pass for $15, or an annual pass for $20 or $40.

Where can I purchase a Red Rock Pass?

Red Rock Passes are available at the Sedona Chamber of Commerce Uptown Visitor Center, The Forest Service Ranger Station and at many businesses in Sedona. Daily and weekly Red Rock Passes are also available at certain trailheads and National Forest locations (credit card or cash machines, $1, $5, $10 only).

Halfway Picnic Area

Encinoso Picnic Area

Indian Gardens

Midgley Bridge Parking

Huckaby Trailhead

Cathedral Rock Trailhead

Little Horse Trailhead

Bell Rock Trailhead

Dry Creek/Forest Road 152 Junction

Boynton Canyon Trailhead

Airport Mesa

Jordon Trailhead

Palatki Cultural Site

How many hiking trails are around Sedona?

Approximately 80 hiking trails are listed in the "Recreation Guide to Your National Forest" published by the Coconino National Forest Ranger District. There are other trails not listed in the Recreation Guide and described in hiking books available in Sedona, or listed on the website, http://greatsedonahikes.com.

Where can I get trail information?

Up-to-date trail information is very important for a successful hike. For your safety and enjoyment, please obtain a copy of Great Sedona Hikes hiking guide available HERE. Trail Information can be obtained by stopping in to the Chamber Uptown Visitor Center or the Forest Service Ranger Station located just south of the Village of Oak Creek, on State Route 179 also provides hiking information. And the website http://greatsedonahikes.com has information and photographs for about 60 of Sedona's hikes.

Is it safe to hike alone?

Many people come to Sedona to hike in the National Forest for the solitude it provides. Hiking alone can provide that solitude. There isn't much danger of violence on the trails. But the issue is if a lone hiker becomes lost or injured while in the forest. So we always recommend that you hike with a friend. And let somone not with you know where you are hiking and when you plan to return. Each year the emergency response teams are called out to rescue stranded, injured hikers. You should not hike alone.

Can I take my dog with me on the trails?

Yes, you can have animals on the trails as long as they are on a leash. You cannot take animals, even if leashed, in to the V Bar V Petroglyph Site, the Hoanki or Palatki Indian Cultural Sites, or any place where an "accident" has the chance of destroying the site. And please, clean up after your pet.

What should I bring with me while hiking?

Hiking in the forest is not risk-free. You should be prepared in the event of an emergency. You should have a hat, sunscreen, hiking boots, a first aid kit, map, flashlight, rescue whistle, compass, pocket knife and extra food. Additionally, all hikers MUST carry water. One gallon per hiker per day is recommended. Dehydration is one of the biggest dangers when hiking.

What should I wear while hiking?

While hiking you should wear a hat, hiking boots, clothes appropriate for the season and sunscreen. Hiking boots are recommended because the trails in Sedona are typically rocky, uneven with cactus sometimes growing near or on the trail. It is easy to twist an ankle without proper ankle support.

What is a vortex?

Sedona is known in some circles as an area that has hot spots of natural energy called vortexes that draws thousands of visitors each year. They are believed to create positive, negative and neutral releases of the Earth's energy. Individuals who are receptive to these energy fields experience balance, a heightened sense of awareness, an awakening of the spirit or even divine intervention. A more detailed explanation is here.

Where can I find a vortex?

There are 4 main vortexes in Sedona, although some individuals can feel the energy in many areas around Sedona. The 4 main vortex site are: Cathedral Rock, Airport Mesa, Boynton Canyon and Bell Rock. You'll be parking on the National Forest to explore the vortexes so see the section on Red Rock Passes above. If you'd like a practical guide to finding where the vortexes are located as well as background on what a vortex is, you may want to purchase one of our Hiking the Vortexes books. They have the same content, but one is printed in full color ($13.95); the other in black and white ($10.95). They are explained in more detail here.

Where can I find information on relocating to Sedona?

 Relocating to Sedona is a life-changing experience. many who visit Sedona (including my wife and I) caught "Red Rock Fever," a condition well known by the locals. It is explained in our book, Sedona Relocation Guide. In this book, we've included answers to questions you may have about relocating to Sedona, or investing in Sedona real estate. More information is available here.

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Webpage by Bill Bohan

Updated: June 13, 2015