Sedona Travel Guide & The BEST Hiking Trails (2023)
This Sedona, Arizona travel guide and 3-day itinerary includes where to stay, the best hikes, where to eat, what to pack and more!
With its signature red rocks, gorgeous forests, and vibrant arts and spirituality communities, a Sedona, Arizona road trip should be at the top of your travel itinerary this year.
Located in the Arizona desert — not far from Flagstaff — Sedona can be a relaxing vacation or an active getaway, depending on your travel style. There are great hikes for all abilities and let’s be real… it’s a photographer’s dream destination!
To help plan your trip, I’ve put together the perfect 3-day Sedona, Arizona road trip and hiking itinerary below.
Sedona Travel Guide & 3-Day Itinerary (+ The Best Hiking Trails)
Day 1: Explore The City & Go on a Scenic Drive
Upon arriving in Sedona, you’ll immediately fall in love with how artsy, friendly, and spiritual the city is. Locally known as Main Street District or Uptown, this walkable area is full of new-age shops, restaurants, and fun activities.
I recommend taking a wander through the streets while browsing the shops, getting your palm or tarot cards read at one of the vendors, shopping at the Tlaquepaque arts and crafts village, and grabbing a bite at one of the many restaurants. (I’ve listed out my favorite Sedona Restaurants below!)
From here, hop in your car and go on a scenic drive. While many of the sites in Sedona can be reached by hiking, if you’re only in town for three days then your car is going to be your best friend for checking places off your list.
Some of the best drives in Sedona are the Red Rock Scenic Byway (7.5 miles running from the city perimeter to Interstate 17), Red Rock Loop Road (6 miles that goes past Red Rock State Park, Red Rock Crossing, and Crescent Moon Ranch), and Oak Creek Canyon (State Route 89A that runs from Sedona towards Flagstaff and goes along Oak Creek).
Read more: Visiting Antelope Canyon (Must-Know Tips, Tour Costs, Where To Stay)
Day 2: Hike the Trails & Go Stargazing
Where your first day was all about getting acquainted with the town, your second day in Sedona will be about hitting the trails. Sedona is home to over 200 hiking trails that cover more than 400 miles, so you’ll have plenty of options.
I’ve mapped out the best hiking trails below, but by far the most popular ones are Cathedral Rock, Devil’s Bridge, Fay Canyon, and the Birthing Cave.
Then, after you’ve had enough exercise for the day and the sun has gone down, go stargazing! You can do this on your own or book a tour, but Sedona is a certified Dark Sky Community and the stars set against the rocky terrain is one of the most beautiful things to see in the world.
Read more: Travel Guide to Tucson, Arizona in a Weekend
Day 3: Visit Slide Rock State Park & Hit the Spa
A state park just 7 miles from downtown Sedona, Slide Rock State Park gets its name from the featured natural water slide.
The park is located in Oak Creek Canyon, and the best things to do here are to take a ride down the 80-foot-long rock slide, grab an inner tube and float down the river, and have a picnic. This place is definitely only for the summer months though (it would be way too chilly other times of year), so make sure you lather up with sunscreen and bring water shoes so that you don’t lose balance on the slippery rocks!
Then, after you’re done having your day out in nature, head back into town and relax at one of the many spas on offer. Some of the most highly-rated are Amara Resort & Spa, Blue Sage Day Spa, and Sedona’s New Day Spa.
Best Hikes in Sedona
A 1-mile out and back trail, the hike to Cathedral Rock will give you some of the best views in Sedona. The trail is rated as moderate-difficult, but the trek is so worth it and should be a priority on your trip. Just make sure to get to the parking lot early in the day as this is a very popular hike.
A 2.6-mile out and back trail, Fay Canyon trail is rated as easy and is very popular for casual hikers and families. You’ll find the trailhead just off Boynton Pass Road, and the hike features great rock formations and the Fay Canyon Arch.
The Birthing Cave
The Birthing Cave Trail is a 1.9-mile out and back trek that features a gorgeous cave. The hike is pretty popular and is rated as moderate.
Read more: Havasu Falls Travel Tips – Havasupai Reservation, Arizona
Rated as moderate, the Devil’s Bridge Trail has one of the most popular sites in all of Sedona — a scenic sandstone archway. The hike is 3.9 miles out and back.
Soldier Pass Trail is a 4.5-mile loop that is rated as moderate-difficult. Some of the highlights of this route include Devil’s Kitchen (a scenic sinkhole), and Seven Sacred Pools.
West Fork Trail
A longer hike, West Fork Trail is a 6.5-mile out and back trail. The hike features a river and is rated as moderate.
A 1-mile loop, this trail will take you straight to one of Sedona’s most popular sites, Bell Rock. The hike is rated as moderate, although the final climb to Bell Rock is more difficult.
Read more: Havasu Falls Camping Guide (Permits, Hiking Trails, Packing Tips)
Where is Sedona?
Sedona is a central Arizona city located in the Verde Valley, straddling the Coconino and Yavapai Counties. It’s roughly a 2-hour drive from Phoenix and 45-minutes from Flagstaff.
How to Get to Sedona
At 33 miles away, the closest airport to Sedona is Flagstaff, while the second closest (at 120 miles away) is Phoenix. Upon landing, I recommend renting a car to take you to Sedona and the surrounding area, as this really is the best way to see the sites.
There is also a shuttle bus system in Sedona called Verde that will take you around to the major neighborhoods. This does tend to run quite sporadically though, so be prepared to either plan ahead or wait for a ride.
Best Time to Visit Sedona
Wondering the best months to visit Sedona? The most popular time is between March and June when temperatures are moderate and warm but not stifling.
Spring is a great time to visit as the valley will be in full bloom. Alternatively, fall is another great time to visit Sedona. October and November also experience moderate temperatures but with fewer people out on the trails and in the shops than in spring.
Where to Stay in Sedona
Rancho Sedona RV Park
Featuring bathrooms, a dog park, cable TV, Internet, laundry, showers, and horseshoes, Rancho Sedona RV Park will feel like a tranquil home away from home. This peaceful spot is shaded by large trees and is right next door to Oak Creek for easy hiking access.
Verde Ranch RV Resort
For maximum RV Resort luxury, Verde Ranch RV Resort is the place to be. With full-service RV hookup sites and furnished vacation rental cottages on offer, the resort features a heated pool, hot tubs, a general store, cable TV, full bathrooms, internet access, a waterpark, clubhouse, and so much more.
The Wilde Resort and Spa
A luxurious accommodation option, the Wilde Resort and Spa offers an outdoor pool, a full-service spa, and an on-site restaurant.
Sedona Village Lodge
A more affordable option, the Sedona Village Lodge offers modern and fresh rooms with great amenities. Ask the front desk for activity options if you’re looking to take a day trip!
Read more: 10 Of The Most Spiritual Places On Earth
Where to Eat in Sedona
Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill
For a great fine dining option with an incredible view, Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill is the place to be. The menu is predominantly South American-inspired with organic, local meat and produce featured.
Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante
If you’re craving fine dining of the Italian variety, then check out Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante. A sister restaurant to Mariposa, this award-winning restaurant places emphasis on sustainability.
For something a little more casual, The Hudson offers American fare and a fun atmosphere. This is another location with incredible views of the surrounding rocks!
What to Pack for a Sedona Road Trip
Toiletries: Traveling to sunny Sedona means loading up on sunscreen and bug spray.
Camera Equipment: Sedona is one of the most beautiful destinations in North America, and you’re going to want to document your trip properly! A GoPro Hero 10 and a float stick are great for the casual photographer.
Water Gear: On the day that you go to Slide Rock State Park, you’re going to want to bring some water gear. Grippy water shoes are a must, but so is a swimsuit, quick-dry towel, and a sun hat.
Assorted Clothing: Hiking during the day means packing hiking shoes, moisture-wicking tops, and leggings. And then for going out to eat, a summer dress and nice sandals should do the trick.
Plan Your Trip to Sedona
After traveling consistently for over 10 years, we’ve come to trust and rely on a few websites to help us find the best deals on flights and accommodation.
Flights: Going is the first place we check when searching for cheap flights. If you sign up for their email alerts, you’ll receive flight deals at up to 90% off. I have traveled all over the world using their flight deals.
Accommodation: Booking.com offers savings on hotels, apartments, and villas in 80,000 destinations worldwide. You can browse hotel reviews and find the guaranteed best price on hotels for all budgets.
Travel Insurance: We never travel without a travel insurance policy because it’s not worth the risk! We use and trust Visitors Coverage, which we’ve used for the past 8 years.
Pin for later!