Sedona is the perfect desert playground for outdoor enthusiasts, with its innumerable nature trails, recreational parks and stunning views. Many of Sedona’s outdoor activities are suitable year-round, including jeep, hot air balloon and horseback tours or golfing in one of the town’s many courses. Summer is an ideal time to visit Sedona’s highly popular Slide Rock Park, whose canyon creek beds form natural watersides.
Sedona’s numerous annual events help make vacations to the area that much more memorable. In summer, the town hosts a Fourth of July celebration with live music, potato sack races and dancing, and a large Psychic-Holistic fair, where many of the area‘s psychics give lectures and demonstrations, plus live dance and musical performances. Sedona’s Jazz on the Rocks festival is an early September tradition featuring celebrated jazz performances among the scenic Red Rocks. Sedona’s roster of annual holiday events includes Christmas caroling, Santa-themed train rides and the beloved Red Rock Fantasy Festival of Lights, during which local families display their holiday creations using around a million lights at Sedona‘s Tlaquepaque outdoor shopping center.
Sedona’s visitors often hear talk of vortexes — cyclones of energy that come directly from the earth that can be felt by those in their presence. These vortexes are represented by the uniquely shaped rock formations believed to emit energy.
There are four primary vortexes in Sedona, each radiating its own particular energy. The Airport Vortex, along Highway 89A just west of the intersection of routes 89A and 179 (the “Y”), is said to produce a masculine energy, strengthening one’s self-confidence and motivation. The Cathedral Rock Vortex near Red Rock State Park fosters feminine aspects like goodness, patience and compassion. The Boynton Canyon Vortex, northwest of the “Y” along Dry Creek Road, offers a balance between masculine and feminine energies. And the Bell Rock Vortex, south of the “Y” along Highway 179, offers a combination of the other three: masculinity, femininity and balance. There are also many smaller, more subtle vortexes found throughout the area.
Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
When you need a break from the trails, swap out those hiking boots for something more fetching and head to the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village. Perched at the intersection of routes 89A and 179, this sizable outdoor shopping center was designed in the style of a traditional Mexican village. The stucco walls house a variety of art galleries, New Age shops and restaurants, while the cobblestone streets and mosaic fountains provide a charming, old-fashioned atmosphere.
Many travelers highly recommend spending a few hours perusing Tlaquepaque (pronounced Tel-AH-ki-PAH-ki) and checking out the local handmade jewelry, food, music, and especially the art.
Verde Valley Wine Trail
When it comes to wine country, Arizona doesn’t usually come to mind. But the Verde Valley near Sedona offers the dry climate and access to water that grapes need to thrive. If you’re a lover of vino, consider taking a day to follow the Verde Valley Wine Trail; this self-guided tour takes you to four of the area’s most popular wineries — Alcantara Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek Vineyards and Javelina Leap Vineyard — as well as five tasting cellars. Each of the stops allows you to tour the grounds and sample locally made wine. Recent trail followers praised the vineyards for their beautiful atmosphere and diverse selection.
Verde Valley is a great place to visit if you’re tired of the crowds or want to give your feet a break from all the hiking. After wine tasting, make sure to check out Camp Verde, home to the Montezuma Castle, and Clarkdale, home to Tuzigoot.
Slide Rock State Park
For those of you visiting Sedona during the hot summer months, a few hours at Slide Rock State Park is a must. Housed on land that formerly grew apple trees, the park earned its name from the stretch of its slippery creek bed near the original homestead that now acts as a natural waterslide. Visitors can cruise down the creek on a tube or on their own, or simply enjoy the sun along the rock bed. Beyond the natural waterslide, the park is home to numerous natural swimming pools. The farm’s old homestead is also open for exploration.
Some travelers lament over the somewhat steep entrance fee, but still, many say the park is worth the price on a hot day. Visitors often bring their families and spend the entire day at the park soaking up the sun and swimming in the water. If you are feeling brave, you can even go cliff jumping.
Slide Rock State Park is located about 7 miles north of Sedona along Highway 89A. The park is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. from January through October and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from November to January. Entry fee is $20 per vehicle, which includes access for up to four adults, and $3 per extra person. Holiday weekends cost a bit more.